Rental Contracts Frozen for Duration of National Emergency and for Two Months After

On May 1st, 2020, President Cortizo signed the Executive Decree No. 145, suspending the eviction procedures of Ministerio de Vivienda y Ordenamiento Territorial (Miviot), or the Ministry of Housing and Land Management. This is effective immediately, for the duration of the state of national emergency and for two months after the state of emergency is lifted.  This includes contracts and leases for real estate designated residential use, commercial establishments, professional, industrial and educational activities.   *** EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO ***

During the state of national emergency and for up to two months after it is lifted, clauses of late fees and interest cannot be applied to rentals, as well as termination of the contract.  This does not mean that rental payments during the duration of national emergency and two month period afterwards are not still owed.  The payments are frozen, not forgiven; and no interest or late fees can be applied be applied by the propietor to this time period.

After this period, article 6 establishes that the tenant who unjustifiably refuses to pay the fees incurred during the period that the contract was suspended, can be sanctioned if charges are brought by the proprietor.  It is advisable for parties to come up with a mutual agreement for when the state of national emergency and freezing of contracts is lifted.    “After the effects of the declaration of the State of National Emergency have ceased, the lessee who unjustifiably refuses to pay the lessor the fees not paid during said period, will be sanctioned,” says the decree.  These mutual agreements can be registered with MIVIOT (with the “Dirección General de Arrendamientos”) which can last for up to two years and be valid as long as the tenant complies with the terms of the mutual agreement.

Proprietors that suspend the supply of electricity, water, gas and other services will be penalized according to Law 93 of 1973.  If the tenant’s income has not been affected by the health crisis, he or she should honor the contract and if not, can also be sanctioned under the same Law 93.

Inés Samudio of Miviot

“That Executive Decree comes to alleviate the situation in the country and defines the rules to help the population. Now the entity will hear the cases and we will be vigilant so that this rule is complied with, “said Inés Samudio, head of Miviot.

To read the full report in Spanish on Executive Decree 145, visit the official MIVIOT site: https://www.miviot.gob.pa/index.php/2020/05/01/promulgan-decreto-que-suspende-desalojos-y-congela-canones-de-arrendamiento-hasta-por-dos-meses-luego-de-emergencia-sanitaria/

 

Contratos de alquiler congelados por la duración de la emergencia nacional y por dos meses después

3 de mayo, 2020

El 1 de mayo de 2020, el Presidente Cortizo firmó el Decreto Ejecutivo No. 145, suspendiendo los procedimientos de desalojo del Ministerio de Vivienda y Ordenamiento Territorial (Miviot). Esto es efectivo de inmediato, durante el estado de emergencia nacional y durante dos meses después de que se levanta el estado de emergencia. Esto incluye contratos y arrendamientos de bienes raíces para el uso residencial, establecimientos comerciales, actividades profesionales, industriales y educativas..

Durante el estado de emergencia nacional y hasta dos meses después de que se levante, no se pueden aplicar las cláusulas de recargos e intereses a los acuerdos de alquiler, así como la rescisión del contrato. Esto no significa que no se adeuden los pagos de los contratos de alquiler durante la duración de la emergencia nacional y dos meses después. Los pagos están congelados, no perdonados; y el arrendador no puede aplicar intereses o recargos por este periodo de tiempo.

Después de este período, el artículo 6 establece que el inquilino que se niega injustificadamente a pagar los honorarios incurridos durante el período en que se suspendió el contrato, puede ser sancionado si el propietario presenta los cargos. Es aconsejable que las partes lleguen a un acuerdo mutuo para cuando se levante el estado de emergencia nacional y la congelación de contratos. “Después de haber cesado los efectos de la declaratoria del Estado de Emergencia Nacional, el arrendatario que de manera injustificada se niegue a pagar al arrendador los cánones dejados de pagar durante dicho período, será sancionado,” dice el decreto. Estos acuerdos mutuos pueden registrarse con la Dirección General de Arrendamientos de Miviot.  Los acuerdos pueden durar hasta dos años y ser válidos siempre que el inquilino cumpla con los términos del acuerdo mutuo.

Los propietarios que suspendan el suministro de electricidad, agua, gas y otros servicios serán penalizados de acuerdo con la Ley 93 de 1973. Si los ingresos del inquilino no se han visto afectados por la crisis de salud, debe cumplir con los términos del contrato y si no, también pueden ser sancionado bajo la misma Ley 93.

Inés Samudio de Miviot

“Ese Decreto Ejecutivo viene a aliviar la situación que vive el país y define las reglas para ayudar a la población. Ahora la entidad conocerá de los casos y seremos vigilantes para que se cumpla esta norma”, dijo Samudio., dijo Inés Samudio, titular de Miviot.

Para leer el informe completo sobre el Decreto Ejecutivo 145, visite el sitio oficial de MIVIOT: https://www.miviot.gob.pa/index.php/2020/05/01/promulgan-decreto-que-suspende-desalojos-y-congela-canones-de-arrendamiento-hasta-por-dos-meses-luego-de-emergencia-sanitaria/

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One Comment

  1. AvatarRobert Shaeffer Reply

    Hi, I am a US citizen and have been stranded here in Bocas since March 22 when all international flights were suspended. The US embassy organized a flight for May 8th from Panama City to Ft Lauderdale Florida but it sold out immediately. They inform me that they are trying to organize another flight the following week. My problem is I have no way to get from Bocas del Toro to Panama City. For privacy reasons the embassy will not share with me others that may be here in Bocas and in the same predicament.

    I am wondering if you have others that would be interested in organizing and sharing a van to take us to Panama City on short notice as soon as the embassy informs us that they have arranged another flight and gives the date.

    I do not know anyone on the mainland and would very much appreciate any assistance/guidance you can offer me.

    Thank you in advance.
    Robert Shaeffer

    I have no cell service but can be reached via WhatsApp at
    1-813-447-2541 or by email listed below.

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