In the past few months, several reports of landlords forcing tenants to pay the house rent have been circulating in Dehradun. Many tenants even took the help of authorities when they were being forced to pay rent amidst the Covid-19 crisis as according to the authorities, no landlord can force tenants to pay their rent in the current crisis. However, some landlords who are completely dependent on the rent from their tenants for their livelihood expressed their concern over the misuse of this order. According to a homemaker Subodhini Mishra, “I am a widow and live with my two children and an old mother-in-law. The livelihood of my family depends on the payments that I receive from tenants every month. Initially, I did not ask for rent because the first two months of lockdown were hard for everyone but when I approached my tenants to pay me the rent in May, they said the government has instructed that the tenants are not liable to pay any rent during Covid-19 pandemic. I knew it was not true and I tried to make them understand but then they said they do not have money. Many of them have resumed their work and are earning well but still, they give me the same excuse. When I told them to pay me half and the rest can be paid later, some of them paid the rent but most refused.”
Moreover, some landlords said that a few tenants have also found new ways of not paying rent. Deepak Kumar, a local teacher said that his tenant was a government employee and on asking about rent, he replied that he did not get his salary for the last two months. However, Kumar further stated that the tenant left his rented room the next week stating that he is shifting to a new locality and since no tenant is paying rent during the lockdown, he will not do so too. “When I told him that I will call authorities he said he will tell them that I forced him to leave his rented room. Though when my neighbours supported me, he paid me two months rent and said he will pay me the rest later but I know he will not do it,” said Kumar. Besides, a few landlords also said that if they are doing financially well, their tenants ask why do they need to pay rent to landlords when there is no severe impact of Covid-19 crisis on their lives and expect automatically that their thousands of rupees rent should be waived.
On being asked about why these landlords do not file any complaint with the police, they responded saying that considering the current scenario, the tenants will play the victim card and the authorities will not listen to the landlords. “When my father in-law asked one of his tenants to pay him the full rent, the tenant called the police and accused my father in-law of pressurising him to leave the rented house unless he pays the rent. The man has not paid the rent since February but the police listened to him and warned my father in-law against forcing his tenants to pay rent in crisis,” said Shrishti Prajapati.
She further added,” I know that some landlords forced their tenants to pay the rent though they could not afford it during the lockdown and are still doing it but at least the authorities should listen to both sides before making any assumption that all the landlords are exploiters and all the tenants are poor victims.”
Friday, 26 June 2020 | Purnima Bisht | Dehradun
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