Supreme Court: Subletting without Written Consent of the Landlord is Not Permissible

Supreme Court: Subletting without Written Consent of the Landlord is Not Permissible

The judgment has been passed by the bench consisting of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice M.R. Shah in the case titled A. MAHALKSHMI v. BALA VENKATRAM (D) THROUGH LR & ANR.

Background of the case:

After the enquiries made by the landlady, she found out that not only was there a change in the name but a complete change of hand from original defendant – Bala Venkatram to respondent – Shahu Hameed which also on the face of it was a gross breach of the rent agreement. The   sub­letting   was   evident   from   the   Certificate   of Registration, Commercial Tax Department.

The appellant landlady filed an eviction suit on the ground of sub­letting as well as on the  ground  of  arrears of rent  against the respondents under Sections 10(2)(i), 10(2)(ii)(a)(b) and 10(2)(iii) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 in the Court of District Munsiff, Pollachi.

The Rent Control Appellate Authority passed the eviction decree on the ground of sub­letting only and therefore allowed the petition filed under Sections 10(2) (i) and 10(2)(ii)(a)(b) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960.

After the death of the original tenant, the legal heirs and the sub­tenant preferred the revision application before the High Court. The High Court allowed the revision application and quashed and set aside the eviction order passed by the Rent Control Appellate Authority.

The Supreme Court held that,

considering Section 2(6) of the Act and considering the fact that the original tenant was paying   the rent to the appellant pursuant to the aforesaid rental agreement, the appellant can be said to be the landlord/landlady and therefore the eviction petition at the instance of the appellant would be maintainable. At this stage, it is required to be noted that as such no such objection was raised either before the High Court and/or before the Rent Control authorities”.

The Supreme Court contended that,

From   the   deposition   of   original respondent tenant and the material/evidence on record this is a clear case of subletting”.

The Supreme Court also stated that the Madras High Court was negligent for not discussing the evidence on record including even the deposition of original respondent tenant.

The Supreme Court further stated, “Sub­letting, assigning or otherwise parting with the possession of the whole or   any   part   of   the   tenancy   premises, without   obtaining   the consent in writing of the landlord, is not permitted and if done, the same provides a ground for eviction of the tenant by the landlord”.