A commercial tenant moved out in December 2014, but he has a signed lease agreement that only expires in 2016. Can we still charge him rental and utilities till the lease expires, even though he has vacated the premises?
Principally, if the tenant vacated the premises then too he will be responsible for paying the rental due to signing a lease agreement until 2016.
However, if the tenant has a valid excuse for not trading at the premises and has handed the keys over to the landlord then the lease will be cancelled in the light of Shariah. For example, if the lessee hired a shop and then suffered a major loss as a result of which he goes under liquidation or he lost all his stock as a result of theft, etc. and cannot continue trading further then this a valid reason in Shariah for the lease agreement to be cancelled. In such a case, the lease agreement will be cancelled and the lessor will no longer be entitled to charge a rental to the lessee. It is therefore necessary to enquire from the lessee his reason for moving out.
Checked and Approved By:
Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.
٦ ٥وتنفسخ الاجارة بالاعذار كمن استاجر دكانا في السوق ليتجر فيه فذهب ماله
(اللباب ف شرح الكتاب ص١؛ ج٢)