MANILA – Property lessors of both commercial and residential establishments should abide by the mandatory grant of a 30-day grace period on rents due within the duration of the community quarantine, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement following reports that a landlady in Caloocan City tried to evict her pregnant tenant from her rented apartment by removing its roof and door when the latter was not able to pay the rent.
“Let us remind our people po na meron pong guidelines ang IATF sa panahon ng ECQ, MECQ, GCQ. Dapat po ay merong grace period na binibigay sa mga umuupa (that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases have guidelines under ECQ, MECQ, GCQ. There should be a grace period for all tenants),” Roque said in a virtual presser.
The ECQ refers to enhanced community quarantine, the most stringent community quarantine; MECQ means modified ECQ; and GCQ refers to a general community quarantine (GCQ).
Lessors, he said, are only allowed to collect rent payments after the community quarantine is lifted.
“Hindi po dapat nangyari yan dahil may stipulated grace period. Patapusin muna natin ang mga community quarantine at saka po tayo maningil ng pagkakautang (That should not have happened because there is a stipulated grace period. Let us allow the community quarantine to be lifted before we collect rent payments),” Roque said.
In a video uploaded on Facebook, neighbors of Princess Remureran in Barangay 167 were seen helping her keep her personal belongings from getting wet when it started raining since the roof of her house appeared to have been removed.
Remureran, in a radio interview, said her landlady did this after she could not pay her rent.
However, the landlady decided to return the roof several hours after the incident after her belongings already got wet.
The landlady, Tessie Banico, said she needed the money after her husband got into an accident.
The Caloocan City government has settled the issue and vowed to give cash aid and food packs.
Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte advised landlords not to force their tenants to pay for residential rent amid the prevailing pandemic.
“Lahat tayo nawalaan ng income. I’d like to ask the owners na kung maaari, ‘yung sa lote, to suspend ‘yung sa bahay. Huwag mo munang hingiin kasi wala talaga o kaya naghihirap ngayon (We all lose our income. I’d like to ask the owners to suspend payment for residential rents. Do not ask for payment because tenants do not really have the money and are struggling now),” Duterte said.
Different levels of community quarantines across the country have forced families to stay indoors, while most work has been suspended.
The provision of a 30-day grace period for paying of rent is stipulated under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, also known as Republic Act 11469, and in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Memorandum Circular (MC) 20-12 series of 2020.
The law provides for a minimum of 30 days grace period on residential rents due within the duration of the ECQ “without incurring interests, penalties, fees, and other charges.”
Lessors who violate these guidelines will need to answer the notices of violations (NOVs) issued by DTI.
As provided under the Bayanihan law, lessors found guilty of refusing to provide the 30-day grace period to lessees shall be penalized with imprisonment of not less than two months or a fine of not less than PHP10,000, or both. (ia/PNA)