Tenants who have a fixed term of three years or more, are legally entitled to a written tenancy agreement.
However, where there is no written tenancy agreement, a tenant with a shorthold tenancy, starting on or after 28 February 1997, has a right to ask for a written statement of any of the following main terms of the tenancy.
the date the tenancy began
the amount of rent payable and the dates on which it is due
any rent review arrangements
the length of any fixed term
Since 28 February 1997, all new tenancies for less than £25,000 per annum are "assured shorthold tenancies," unless the contract specifies that the dwelling is being let on an "assured" tenancy. (Tenancies above £25,000 per annum can be entirely freely contracted).
The assured shorthold tenancy gives the tenant security for an initial six months, even where the contract is for six months or less, unless the tenant has breached one of the standard grounds for possession. After that, the landlord need only give two months "notice requiring possession" to remove the tenant. No reason need be given for requiring possession.
Where the tenant refuses to surrender, the landlord cannot just walk in, he must apply to the court for a possession order.
If you have only an oral agreement with the landlord, you are both bound automatically by the legislation applying to shorthold tenancies if the tenancy started on or after 28 February 1997 and by the legislation applying to assured tenancies if the tenancy started or was agreed before 28 February 1997.
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