In this Lockdown period there are many cases in which tenants are making an excuse to not to pay the rent due to lockdown as they are not able to use the property.
Many businesses are shut down especially the hospitality industry and there is default in payment of rent to the landlord.
The arguments on behalf of the tenants is legitimate and excuse is also legitimate.
But what about the landlords, why do they suffer if tenants are suffering. Tenants are still occupying the property then they have to pay the rent.
Now this is not the case where the property has become unusable.
This debate is now quite common and these issues needed detailed adjudication and the Delhi High Court in order to resolve the dispute passed a Judgement
Ramanand & Ors. v. Dr. Girish Soni & Anr
In this case the Hon’ble high court discussed the questions regarding payment of rent and Covid 19 situation.
If an agreement contains force majeure clause and the tenant wants to vacate the premises then only the question of waiver can be considered otherwise the tenant has to pay the rent.
As tenant landlord relationship is governed by section 108 case in this case
The Tenants’ application for suspension of rent is thus liable to be rejected inasmuch as while invoking the doctrine of suspension of rent on the basis of a force majeure event, it is clear from the submissions made that the Tenants do not intend to surrender the tenanted premises. While holding that suspension of rent is not permissible in these facts, some postponement or relaxation in the schedule of payment can be granted owing to the lockdown.
But landlord also cannot evict the tenant without due process of law.
Some time can be granted for payment of rent.
Advocate Nitish Banka