SUSPENSION OF PAYMENT OF RENT AMIDST COVID-19 – Eshwars
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SUSPENSION OF PAYMENT OF RENT AMIDST COVID-19

Authored by N. Umayaparvathi

With the lockdown declared across the country spread across four versions and 60 days, one question that was constantly raised was whether tenants are entitled to claim waiver/suspension of payment of rent. The Delhi High Court, in a recent judgment in Ramanand v. Dr. Girish Soni (decided on 21.05.2020), addressed the issue and set out certain parameters to be considered while deciding whether a tenant could claim exemption from payment of rent on account of the lockdown, and the same is discussed in this article.

Factual background:

The Petitioner (Tenant), a dentist, having possession of premises under lease deed from 1st February 1975, for a rent of Rs. 300/- per month, was vide order dated 18th March 2017 (of the Rent Controller appointed under the Delhi Rent Control Act) ordered to vacate the premises, which on appeal to Rent Control Tribunal was upheld. The Tenant filed the instant revision petition before the Delhi HC (Court), and Court had stayed the eviction order subject to the condition that the Tenant would pay a sum of Rs. 3.5 lakhs per month as rent with effect from October 2017. It was also set out that any default in payment would vacate the stay granted and entitle the Landlord to execute the order of eviction.

In these circumstances, the Tenant had moved an urgent application for suspension of payment of rent during the lockdown period on the ground that the pandemic and lockdown are force majeure beyond the Tenant

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