Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a bill that seeks to impose a moratorium on the payment of all fees, charges, and costs relating to the rental of residential units in times of disasters and other kinds of emergencies.
Gatchalian also eyes a moratorium on eviction during the period of the State of Calamity or Emergency. During this time, the lessor, sublessor, or owner of a residential unit may not make, or cause to be made any eviction or similar legal proceeding to recover possession of the unit from the lessee or sublessee unless they perpetrate a criminal act.
In filing Senate Bill No. 820 or the Rental Payment and Eviction Moratorium during Disasters and Emergencies Act, Gatchalian seeks to protect poor Filipino families by cushioning the impact of disasters and other emergencies, noting that they are more vulnerable when they have no place to stay. By providing a moratorium on rental payments, Gatchalian said, poor families would be able to cope with the economic effects of disasters and emergencies.
“Malaking dagok ang dulot ng mga kalamidad at mga sakuna sa kabuhayan at negosyo ng ating mga kababayan. Kaya naman iminumungkahi natin ang moratorium sa pagbabayad ng renta at moratorium sa pagpapaalis sa mga nagrerenta sa panahon ng kalamidad upang mapagaan ang kanilang mga pasanin at matulungan silang makabangon,” said Gatchalian.
The moratorium on rental payments that Gatchalian proposes shall be imposed during the duration of a State of Calamity or Emergency at the national or local level as declared by the President or the appropriate local government unit. The moratorium shall be extended 30 days from the termination of the State of Calamity or Emergency. If a State of Calamity or Emergency exceeds 60 days, the payment of the deferred fees, charges, and costs shall be spread out for a six-month period of equal installments. Gatchalian’s bill further provides that no penalties or interests shall be collected on these payments.
The proposed moratorium covers residential units, whether in a lease or sublease arrangement and whether reduced in a written form or not.
These rental and eviction moratoriums may be applied to commercial or office space rental of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as defined in the Magna Carta for MSMEs (Republic Act No. 9501, as amended). Rental and eviction moratoriums during a State of Calamity or Emergency may be applied to MSMEs at the discretion of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary, taking into consideration the closure of businesses, community quarantine orders, or other circumstances that may hamper their operations.