In many cases happening around, a landlord promises a tenant that he will keep the tenancy for very long time.
Based on this promise, the tenant puts much money in the leased property to satisfy his present and future needs.
Suddenly the landlord, irrespective of his promise, sells the property to another person.
We know, this is unfair.
However, the doctrine of estoppel applies.
Generally, estoppel is a legal principle that prevents someone from arguing something or asserting a right that contradicts what was previously said or agreed to by law.
It is, to prevent people from being unjustly wronged by the inconsistencies of others words or actions.
In brief, estoppel is a legal principle that protects one party by holding another to their word or requiring them to adhere to established legal facts.
In contract law ‘promissory estoppel’, enforces a reasonable promise made by one party if another party acted on that promise and suffered a loss as a result.
In the above case, the law gives protection to the tenant against the greedy landlord.
Estoppel could arise if creditor informs debtor that a debt is forgiven, but later asks for repayment.
Here, the creditor may be estopped, as the other believes there is no debt.
A landlord may tell his tenant that he is not required to pay rent till Covid–19 problems are over.
Here, the landlord would be “estopped” from claiming rents during Corona period.
There are different types of estoppel, depending on the merits of each case.
“Collateral estoppel” can be useful in preventing legal harassment and abuse of legal resources.
“Estoppel by deed” prevents a person from denying the truth of any fact stated in a deed they have executed.
The doctrine of rstoppel is known in common law and equity.
However, the most common form of estoppel is in contract law wherein known as ‘promissory estoppel’.
It protects a person who has acted based on another person’s reasonable promise, whether in a formal contract or not, and then suffers significant economic loss because the other party did not fulfill that promise.
In such instances, the aggrieved party could rely on this doctrine to seek justice.
However, it is part of the rule that whoever comes to the law “must come with clean hands”.
I add “also must come with clean mind and intention.”