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Lawyer tells landlords: Don’t deceive tenants

Landlords have been warned not to try to deceive departing tenants after a controversial tribunal ruling.

Lindsays law firm says Scotland’s first Wrongful Termination Order should act as a wake-up call for private rental sector landlords not to claim they plan to move into a property when they have no intention of doing so.

And it says the case hammers home the fact that aggrieved former tenants have the power to take action against landlords if they have grounds to believe they have been wrongly evicted.


Paul Harper, a partner in the firm’s dispute resolution and litigation team, comments: “Tenants who suspect they have had the wool pulled over their eyes may watch what the landlord does after they recover possession - and start legal action if they see any signs that the intention to move into or sell the property was not genuine.”

The warning comes after Edinburgh landlord Cesar Dominquez-Lopez was ordered to pay compensation to former tenant Jesus Rodriquez-Ortega when a tribunal found he had evicted him on bogus grounds by falsely claiming he intended moving in.

A Scottish Private Residential Tenancy can be terminated on the basis that a landlord intends moving into the let property within three months of the termination.

But if they are found not to have done this, it leaves the door open for a tenant to pursue a wrongful termination case.

In the Edinburgh case, the landlord obtained an eviction order on the basis that he intended renovating the studio flat and moving in with his family but it has been reported that the tribunal heard he did neither and moved a new tenant in less than a month after his previous one left. 

The tribunal ruled that intentions had been fabricated in order to get the tenant out of the property.

Lindsays believes this case emphasises the need for landlords to ensure they have a genuine intention to move into the property, before and after recovering possession. The same applies if a landlord intends to sell.

Harper continues: “At the same time, however, it is permitted for the landlord to change their intentions after they recover possession. If a landlord has genuine reasons for changing their mind, wrongful termination orders cannot be awarded against them.

“But the question of whether there was a genuine change of mind relies again on the landlord’s witness evidence. Accordingly, the tribunal will be the one to make a decision on whether the landlord has misled the tenant or not.

"The safest option, of course, is to follow through with the original intention where possible or else accept there is a risk the tenant might come back seeking a financial award.

“We would advise landlords to heed the warnings from this case so they do not find themselves being pursued in a wrongful eviction claim which could be costly.”

The tribunal awarded the tenant three times the monthly rent, out of the possible six months’ it could have awarded. 

This decision was based on the amount of rent, whether the tenants were in arrears prior to the termination, whether the landlord had maintained their dishonest position and for how long and the ‘gravity’ of the dishonesty.

Harper concludes: “These factors are not set out in the SPRT legislation and accordingly this is the first time a tribunal has stated what factors it may consider when making the financial award.

"Interestingly, while the tribunal noted that the tenant had acted wrongfully by ‘trashing’ the let property before leaving, this was not stated to influence the decision. It was based on the landlord’s actions alone.”

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  • icon

    This is disgraceful why should it be the business of the Tenant or anyone else whether the owner wants to move back in, or sell, leave idle, renovate or anything else. This is his Property bought by him, not by the Tenant or the Court. He didn’t need their permission when he brought the Property or have any financial support from them. Why then should he need their permission now, How can they acquire all those rights over another persons Property it’s insane. I note the Lenders have no such Problem when it’s their money. When it’s the Landlord’s money it’s fine to stitch him-up, are we not all equal before the Law.

    Andrew McCausland

    Maybe because it is the law? I am not saying I agree with things in Scotland, or the planned changes here in England. However, how can we as landlords demand our tenants stick to the law if we fail to do so ourselves?

    We all know that the pendulum on support from "the system" has swung much too far towards tenants in the past 3 years. As responsible LL we need to work within the mechanisms we have to change things - not fall to the standards of the tenants we are complaining about.


    The hard left who once had about six Scottish Socialist Party MSP's in Holyrood have successfully infiltrated the equally loony SNP and the current PRS legislation in Scotland is the result, with bad tenants rewarded and landlords vilified.

    The landlord clearly wanted a better tenant but had no legal way of getting rid of the sitting tenant who got away with vandalism when he left.


    That's not what the 1925 Act says, and in any event it doesn't apply in Scotland.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Landlord should have engaged us. We would have counter-claimed against the tenant for the damage - trashed flat.


    No point as most of the time even if you get the tenant to court they don't pay even then and most of the time even if asked to pay a paltry mediocre £5 a month don't EVEN pay that either!!!! I personally have better things to do with my time than waste it in court. We all get caught from time to time with a tenant who turns rogue and best to just take it on the chin and pray the next tenant is nicer!


    Christine it's not the money it's the princible, why should low life scum get away with not paying, easy and quick to do online and normally no need to attend court, a CCJ screws their credit rating and sends a strong message out to other landlords not to rent to these people.

  • James B

    Worth paying that fine to get rid of a bad tenant .. small price to pay


    It cost me £1000 in compensation once when I got rid of a tenant -- and was worth every penny.

  • icon

    Why then is Tenant free to leave anytime he likes, have full control of a property that not not belong to him, that cost then owner hundreds of thousands to purchase, cause him so much stress by an injustice Law and probably a life times work gone into it, no wonder people have lost respect for bad laws. We know we are being totally wronged so it doesn’t matter a carrot anymore what they do, carry on enjoy the worst Recession ever, it was bad enough already without making it happen by Statute. I think I will do a Pierce Morgan good bye it was nice knowing you all.


    Since the SNP brought in this loony legislation in December 2017, rents for the best properties have soared 30 to 40% due to shortage of properties and landlords selling or moving to short term rentals.

    Just desserts!


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