The Trade department has released a memo granting a 30-day grace period for residential rent and a similar grace period for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises for their commercial rent during the Enhanced Community Quarantine period in Luzon.
“To provide economic relief to Filipinos and MSMEs during the COVID-19 public health emergency, DTI is implementing these guidelines to ensure their survival during the ECQ, as well as to help brace them afterward,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in the memo dated April 4.
He says his department will enforce a 30-day grace period for commercial rents that fall within the duration of the quarantine to give a respite to the MSMEs that have temporarily ceased operations.
These enterprises will also not incur interest, penalties, fees and other charges under the grace period. Similarly, the department will ensure that a minimum 30-day grace period is granted for residential rent that falls due within the quarantine under the same terms.
The grace period will be determined as 30 calendar days following the last due date of the rent during the quarantine. The total amount of rents that need to be paid within the quarantine must be amortized equally in the six months following the end of the grace period. This can be added to the rent owed for the succeeding months without interest, penalties, fees, and charges.
Lessors are not obliged to refund residential and commercial rents already paid by lessees during the quarantine. However, lessors must grant a minimum 30-day grace period from the next due date of residential and commercial rents without interest and penalties.
The department also called on the lessors of MSMEs to extend their generosity through a total or partial waiving of commercial rents due during the quarantine; the grant of reprieve or discounted amount of commercial rents due after the quarantine; the opening renegotiation of the Lease Term Agreements with the lessees; and using other ways to mitigate the impact of the quarantine for MSMEs.
Lopez said there should be no eviction for failure to pay residential or commercial rent due within a 30-day period after the lifting of the quarantine.
“No Filipinos should lose their residence during the ECQ period. Moreover, the importance of MSMEs in jump-starting our economy once the ECQ has been lifted cannot be understated,” Lopez said.
Lessors found guilty of refusing to provide the 30-day grace period to lessees will be penalized with imprisonment of not less than two months or a fine of not less than P10,000, or both.