My tenant and I have an agreement for a 2 BHK flat but recently he has been refusing to pay rent citing covid19 lockdown and government orders. Can I take him to court? -- Atul K.

Of course you can! A lease is a contract under the Indian Contract Act, 1872, there is a transfer of property for the leased period. Hence, the lease is governed under the Transfer of Property Act, 1881.

The payment of Monthly rent is a Contractual Obligation. The same cannot be avoided unless there is a clause in the contract and suspension of lease or termination of lease Notice is issued by the tenant in compliance with the contract clause.

Recently Delhi High Court in RAMANAND & ORS v/s DR. GIRISH SONI & ANR has also supported the above view. The court said "The Tenant's 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."

Ibrahim Deshmukh
Legal Consultant
[email protected]