If a tenant holds over after the expiry of the tenancy, in what circumstance can a landlord charge double rent and is there a need for the landlord to prove wilful and contumacious conduct on the part of the tenant in holding over?
ROHASASSETS SDN BHD v. WEATHERFORD (M) SDN BHD  6 MLRA 594
- Rohasassets Sdn Bhd (“Landlord”) is the registered owner of a commercial building known as Rohas Perkasa (“Said Premises”).
- The Landlord had let out the Said Premises to Weatherford (M) Sdn Bhd and Weatherford Solutions Sdn Bhd (collectively, the “Tenants”).
- The Landlord is claiming for double rent for the period from the expiry of the tenancies to the delivery of vacant possession of the Said Premises.
- Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal had held that it was a requirement under section 28(4)(c) of the Civil Law Act 1956 (“Act”) that there must be wilful or contumacious holding over on the part of the Tenants to entitle the Landlord to claim double rent.
- And since the Tenants holding over in this case was with the tacit approval of the Landlord, the Landlord was not entitled to charge double rent for the period from the expiry of the tenancies to the delivery of vacant possession of the Said Premises.
- The Landlord appealed to the Federal Court and contended that upon the expiry of the tenancies, the Tenants were “holding over” the Said Premises within the meaning of section 28(4)(c) of the Act.
FEDERAL COURT DECISION – APPEAL DISMISSED!
- The Federal Court held that to entitle the Landlord to charge double rent, there must be failure or refusal by the Tenants to give up possession of the Said Premises after being told to so by the Landlord.
- There was no requirement on the Landlord to show contumacious conduct on the part of the Tenants holding over to render the Tenants liable to pay the said double rent.
- However, in this case, the Tenants were holding over with the Landlord’s consent and was therefore in lawful possession of the Said Premises for the period between the date of expiry of the tenancies and the date of expiry of the notices from the Landlord to quit possession of the Said Premises.