Businesses cannot be evicted under new Covid-19 law

Retail owners and tenants take heart – however your landlord choses to help you, or not, he cannot evict you under a new law soon to be passed.

Companies that are unable to pay their rent and individuals who have placed deposits for events including weddings will be protected under a new Bill that will be introduced in Parliament next week to provide temporary relief against their contractual obligations amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

 Furthermore, there will be law requiring property tax rebate will have to be passed on to tenants.

Until today, tenants are reliant on landlords to be responsible and to pass on savings from taxes to help them meet their rental obligations.

There are some responsible landlords that have done so. For example, Mercatus Cooperative Limited will be giving rental rebates of 1 month and this would be available to over 80% of tenants. This is in addition to passing on property tax rebates fully to tenants. Which is the equivalent of about 1 month of rent. This takes about 2.2 months of rent of a regular tenant.

The likely reason for the tranche payments is to allow the landlord spread out rebates over time, because there is no way to forecast how long the pandemic will last. Experts have warned that the economic impact will last years and the actual viral pandemic is expected to last beyond a year.

Under the new COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill, contractual obligations will be suspended for an initial six months, but extendable by the government for up to one year.

The Bill cover five categories of contracts: Non-residential leases, construction or supply contracts, event agreements, tourism-related contracts such as tour packages, and secured loan facilities.

To get protection by the law is as simple as sending a text to the other contracting party that states “I can’t pay my rent due to the COVID-19 situation”.

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