PRRD warns landlords not to “pressure” tenants to pay house rent

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Photo Source: PNA

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday advised landlords not to force their tenants to pay for residential rent amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.

Duterte made the statement during his meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease at Malacañan Palace.

In his speech, Duterte said he has been receiving reports about tenants being “pressured” to pay residential rent during the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.

“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 naghi-hirap 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),” he said.

The ECQ in Luzon, which was supposed to lapse on April 12, has been extended until April 30 in an effort to effectively curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Families are mandated to observe strict home quarantine and most work are suspended during the implementation of ECQ.

Residential tenants are not required to settle their dues immediately while Luzon is under ECQ.

Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act inked by Duterte on March 24 provides for a minimum of 30-day grace period on residential rents falling due within the period of the ECQ “without incurring interests, penalties, fees, and other charges”.

Duterte said landlords should not put a heavy financial burden on their tenants.

“Mag-hintay kayong lessors, nagpaparenta. Huwag ninyong madaliin kasi baka wala ka na makolekta (To lessors, just wait. Do not force them to pay because you won’t be able to collect money). You will not be even sure if you’d still be around to collect the money,” he said.

Not the right time to pressure tenants

Duterte said this is not the “right” time to compel tenants to pay their residential rent.

He said he might be forced to “go against the law,” should lessors insist on getting the payment for residential rents.

Duterte also told landlords that they would not get the support of the police, in case they would force residential tenants to leave the place for failure to pay the rent.

He appealed to them to avoid such possible scenario amid the health crisis.

“It is my duty to preserve the nation. And the only way I can do it is really to impose order… So mamili kayo, saan kayo susunod (So you choose what you will do). Are you ready to confront the violence that will be created? Or you stay with me? Because I will make the decision para sa lahat (for everyone) for the common good,” Duterte said. (PNA)

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