With the coronavirus pandemic, many tenants began to request a suspension of rent. After all, with quarantine, many professionals are away from their jobs or have lost their jobs, significantly reducing their income.

Thus, the trend is that the default rate will increase considerably from the end of April, creating concerns on the part of property owners. In addition, the number of lawsuits calling for a reduction in rent has also increased.
With this situation in mind, the Federal Senate approved Bill No. 1,179 / 2020, which deals with the legal relations of Private Law on an emergency and transitory basis due to the pandemic of COVID-19.

But, after all, what do the rules say about rent suspension?

If you are in doubt, understand better what the bill determines. See also some ways to act during this period to prevent the situation from getting worse!

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Suspension of rent in the pandemic: understand Bill No. 1,179 / 2020

As a result of growing concern about the economic and social effects of the new coronavirus pandemic, Bill No. 1,179 / 2020 was approved by the Federal Senate in order to regulate emergency rules during this period. Thus, it is expected to avoid or reduce the legal proceedings related to the scope of private law.

In relation to the lease of urban properties, the initial version of the bill aimed at two articles to deal with the suspension of rent and eviction of the tenant. Article 9 stipulated that “no injunction will be granted for the eviction of urban property in eviction actions […] until December 31, 2020”. However, the deadline was subsequently changed to October 30, 2020.
Thus, the rule transitionally alters Article 59 of Law No. 8,245 / 1991, the Tenant Law, and preventing eviction actions by injunction. It is worth remembering that the rule applies only to actions filed as of March 20, 2020, a date considered as the beginning of events derived from the pandemic.

Article 10, in turn, established that “residential tenants who suffer economic-financial changes, resulting from dismissal, reduced working hours or reduced remuneration, may suspend, in whole or in part, the payment of rentals due from 20 March 2020 to October 30, 2020”. In this case, the tenant could install the overdue rentals in installments, paying them after the deadline – that is, starting in November of this year.
However, the Senate decided to withdraw from the bill the article on rent suspension during the pandemic. Thus, the new version of the bill is limited to article 9, mentioned above.

Even with the change, it is important to emphasize that the suspension of rent and other conflicts in the tenancy relations can be resolved with the free negotiation of the parties. In addition, considering the Civil Code in its article 393, it is said that “the debtor is not liable for damages resulting from unforeseeable circumstances or force majeure”.
Therefore, it is possible for the lessee to claim non-payment of rent due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, with article 9 approved in the bill, it is understood that the failure to pay rent cannot determine eviction during this period. Thus, in cases of default, it is up to the landlord to pay the debt in installments.
It is important to keep in mind that, in addition to being painful for the lessee, eviction is also not feasible for the lessor in the current situation, since the relocation of the property is unlikely to be quick or advantageous at this time:

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How can owners act during the coronavirus crisis?

In addition to taking the necessary precautions when  administering rents during the pandemic  – such as avoiding physical contact and giving preference to the online medium -, landlords can take steps to ensure that both they and tenants overcome the current crisis.

Remember that resolving the situation judicially is not the best option. The ideal for dealing with rentals throughout the quarantine is to reach a consensus with the tenants, with a good negotiation between the parties.
It is important that, in an emergency situation – such as that of the pandemic – common sense and sensitivity always prevail for a healthy negotiation between all those involved.
For this, it is recommended to create an open channel for dialogue so that tenants can expose their needs. With conversation, understanding and negotiation, it is possible to reach a favorable agreement for both parties, without the need to go to court.
In addition, the landlord can offer many alternatives, such as progressive discounts and even temporary rental exemptions. Another good possibility is to reduce the rent in this period, so that a consensus is reached between landlord and tenant.
The important thing is that, in the face of any new agreement, the negotiation is made official and documented. To do this without failing to respect the social isolation measures, just use the online medium. Messages exchanged by e-mail or even electronically signed documents have legal validity to prove the agreement.

It is also important that landlords ask for documents to prove the tenant’s situation, so that the request for suspension of rent is not made in bad faith. Something that ensures the reduction of rent or a letter of resignation, for example, ensures that the tenant is experiencing difficulties and is unable to afford the rent.
If the tenant and the landlord do not reach an agreement, it is necessary to be aware that the tenant can go to court and request the suspension of rent or reduction of the value. However, as we have seen, this is not what is desired. It is essential that landlords value fair understanding between the parties at this time, considering that the losses are only temporary.
For you to have more peace of mind and security in your property rental, see how to use tools that help in this process and facilitate the receipt of rent.