DTI imposes 30-day grace period for residential, commercial rent payment
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will impose a month-long moratorium on residential and commercial rent payment for small businesses in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
In a memorandum dated April 4, the DTI said the 30-day grace period would be counted from the last due date that falls within the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) of Luzon.
The entire island of Luzon was placed under lockdown on March 16 to prevent the further spread of the respiratory disease. The lockdown is set to end on April 12.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the grace period is aimed to “provide economic relief to Filipinos and MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) during the COVID-19 public health emergency” and “ensure their survival during the ECQ, as well as to help brace them afterward.”
The cumulative amount of rents that need to be paid within the ECQ must be amortized equally in the six months following the end of the said period.
“This can be added to the rent owed for succeeding months without interest, penalties, fees, and charges,” DTI noted.
Meanwhile, lessors are not obligated to refund paid residential and commercial rents during the ECQ, however, they must grant a minimum of a 30-day grace period from the next due date of residential and commercial rents without interests and other penalties as well.
The DTI likewise urged on lessors of MSMEs to extend their generosity, if possible, the following: a total or partial waiving of commercial rents due during the ECQ; granting a reprieve or discounted amount of commercial rents due after the ECQ; opening renegotiation of the Lease Term Agreements with lessees; and using other ways to mitigate the impact of the ECQ for MSMEs.
“No Filipinos should lose their residence during the ECQ period. Moreover, the importance of MSMEs in jumpstarting our economy once the ECQ has been lifted cannot be understated,” Lopez said.
“Through these measures, we ensure that our fellow Filipinos have a future after the ECQ with homes that they can live in and through jobs and employment provided by our MSMEs,” he added.
Lessors that are found guilty of refusing to provide the 30-day grace period will be penalized with imprisonment of not less than two months or a fine of not less than Php 10,000, or both, as provided by the Republic Act 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.”
Complaints of violations of the memorandum can be brought to DTI in person or electronically by emailing the agency, either through the Fair Trade and Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) through [email protected] or with the regional offices.
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