Can you be evicted for not paying rent during the pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. Owners and students have both been struggling with the lockdown and the standstill that the country has been brought to. With the Delhi University also shut down with the pandemic, most out-station students have gone back home. With student accommodations lying empty, many are wondering if they still need to pay their rent. If you are curious about the legalities of the matter or are worried about being evicted for not paying up, here are some insights.
Do I still need to pay rent?
Not immediately. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has said, that workers and migrants living in rented accommodation, cannot be demanded rent by their landlords for a month. Invoking the powers of The Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Ministry has asked landlords not to collect rent for a month during the pandemic. This includes students, therefore you don't need to pay rent immediately as of now.
Can I be evicted for not paying rent right now?
You cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent right now. Apart from The Disaster Management Act, 2005 the Delhi Government has also instructed all landlords to not demand immediate payment of rent from students. If a landlord is threatening you with eviction or forcing you to pay rent, you can dial 100 and notify the police. It is still not clear whether students are expected to pay the rent back the owners after the lockdown, but student organisations have written to the Delhi government to demand clarity on the same.
The pandemic is hard on the owners too
Many owners rely solely on student accommodation as their income and feel compelled to collect rents. While many students feel that they should not be forced to pay their rents during this period, the owners or landlords of these students accommodations are often helpless too. While you technically do not have to pay rent right immediately, you could come to an understanding with your landlord and pay your rent late or pay a lesser amount.
What are the legalities of The Disaster Management Act, 2005
The Ministry of Home Affairs has said “If any landlord is forcing labourers and students to vacate their premises, they will be liable for action under the Act,” While this is targeted at the economically backward, it very much applies to students as well who are living in student accommodations.
What if I was about to move in/out?
If you were unable to move in due to the pandemic, you are not expected to pay rent and can ask for your deposit to be refunded. If you were supposed to move out, you still need to pay rent as you or your belongings still occupy the accommodation, however the same applies here regarding students not needing to pay the rent as of now due to the Government’s instructions.