The Troubled Relationship between the Tenant and the Landlord during the COVID-19 Pandemic and its Repercussions

Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic is the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). , which originally emerged from China . The government has lay down certain restriction like lockdown and social distancing for containing spread of disease.As a result of governmental restriction and preventative social measures commercial landlord and tenant are now facing complete or partial shut of business operation .It not only affected economic and organisational norm but also deeply affected our relationship both interpersonal and social. Many tenants are facing financial crisis due to Coronavirus and are not able to pay rent. When the tenant default on rent, the landlords suffer and might not be able to meet their own financial obligation such as making the mortgage payments on the rental property, electricity and water charges, insurance, maintenance, property tax, etc.The relationship of any tenant-landlord/ lessee- lessor relationship is pure and simple a contractual relationship based on the free will of the parties ( where the monthly rental happens to be below a specified amount and such a relationship being governed by the various provisions of the Rent Control/ Regulation Acts enacted by various States are situation of exception). This relationship is governed by the contract between the landlord and the tenant which when brought down into writing, forms the Rent Agreement/Lease Deed (Agreement). This Agreement/ Deed is largely governed by the various provisions of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, inter alia and particularly with respect to offer, acceptance, consideration, term, breach and frustration of contract.

Authored by Jyothi Pathak, Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida.