The type of tenancy agreement you have with your landlord is crucial in determining certain rights you may have, for example how much notice you should be given when asked to leave.
If you do not have a written agreement with your landlord it does not mean you have no rights or obligations but could mean that your rights are limited. The exception to this is where you have lived in the property for a long time (before January 1989) and are a Regulated tenant. Regulated tenants usually have more rights than other types of tenancy agreement.
Fixed Term or Periodic?
You may have a Fixed Term tenancy which was agreed for a set amount of time (commonly 6 or 12 months) or you may have never agreed a set period, in which case your tenancy is deemed to be Periodic. If you have a fixed term tenancy agreement your landlord cannot usually ask you to leave without good reason (or grounds) before the fixed term ends. Similarly you cannot usually end the tenancy during this term unless it is stated in your tenancy agreement. If the fixed term ends and you do not sign another fixed term agreement then the tenancy automatically reverts to a periodic tenancy. The landlord does not usually have to give a reason for asking you to leave (unless you have not been at the property for six months) but will still need to follow a set procedure for eviction. See the relevant tenancy pages for more information.
If you think the landlord has asked you to leave incorrectly you should seek advice. If you feel pressured into leaving by the actions of the landlord then they may be guilty of harassment or illegal eviction. See the relevant pages for more information.
Unfair Tenancy Terms
The law gives certain rights to both tenants and landlords which cannot be superseded by terms in a tenancy agreement. If your tenancy agreement contains unfair clauses, for example the landlord is saying you are responsible for structural repairs or that he has the right to immediate access to the property at all times then these terms are not legally binding. If the landlord is trying to act on these clauses than you can contact the Local Authorities Trading Standards section for advice. You can also find further advice from the Office of Fair Trading.