Thanks for your question.
Yes, I'm afraid that the tenants is correct. You must serve a s21 Housing Act 1988 upon the tenant in order to obtain a Court order for possession. Regardless of what the tenancy says you can only end it by serving a s21 notice, which is two months in length.
You will have to serve the s21 Notice giving two months notice and the notice must expire must be the last day of a period of the tenancy (ie. the end of the month if the rent period is from 1st until end of month).
You can download an appropriate form of notice from:-
This is the link to the Communities and Local Government guide for landlords on assured and assured shorthold tenancies. It’s a very good reference guide that you may wish to avail yourself of in future:-http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/assuredassuredlandlords
Sorry it could not be better news.
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