A recent case involving Glasgow Housing Association has highlighted the need for landlords to act reasonably when applying for an order to recover possession of their property in certain situations. The Housing Association failed in its attempt to evict a tenant who had been convicted of the production of cannabis. The court agreed that the statutory grounds for the order had been met but held that it was not reasonable to grant an order for recovery of possession in the circumstances.
In the Private Rented Sector the Grounds for recovery of possession are set out in Schedule 5 to the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988. A Sheriff can only order possession in terms of any of the Grounds set out in Part II of Schedule 5 if the Ground in question is proved and it is reasonable for the Sheriff to make the order. In this case (a fuller case report is available here) the Housing Association operated a zero-tolerance approach and did not take other steps to address the issue before seeking an order for possession from the court. Based on this, and that the tenant's conduct was relatively limited in duration, was a one-off occurrence and was a minor offence, the Sheriff decided it was not reasonable to make an order for recovery of possession.
Although the case related to a let in the Social Rented Sector, the Sheriff's judgement as to what is reasonable should also be of interest to those involved in letting in the Private Rented Sector.