Dentons

Through Executive Decree No. 314 of August 7, 2020, published in Official Gazette No. 29087, certain Articles of Executive Decree No. 145 of May 2, 2020, which adopted measures to protect tenants affected by the crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, eviction procedures, sanctions and implementation of restrictions on use by landlords/owners, have been amended.

Article 2 of Decree No. 145 of May 1, 2020, which implements the general suspension of eviction proceeding of all types of lease contracts while the State of National Emergency lasts, has been amended to incorporate residential housing leases.

Article 5 of Decree No. 145 was modified to emphasize that while the State of National Emergency is in force and two months after the lifting of this measure, the freezing of all clauses related to the amount of rent, rent increase, early termination clauses, and interest clauses for late payments, for tenants affected by the economic crisis, will remain in place. In the case of a commercial lease, the postponement of the rent will begin as of the declaration of the National State of Emergency and will be maintained for up to two months after the lifting of the restrictions on the opening of the economic blocks and respective economic activities.

Article 6 of Decree No. 145 allows the landlord to access the ordinary jurisdiction if the tenant refuses to pay the rents or does not comply with the agreement, after the termination of the declaration of State of National Emergency, and up to two months after the lifting of the measure.

Article 7 of Decree No. 145 maintains the possibility that the landlord and the tenant can settle “by mutual agreement” the disputes arising from unpaid rental fees. These agreements will have a duration of a maximum of two years, counted from their registration with the General Directorate of Leases, and will remain in force as long as the tenant does not breach the agreement. To enforce the obligation, the debtor will issue a promissory note, bill of exchange, or any other negotiable document agreed by the parties.

Article 7 of Decree 145 provides that for leases of real estate subject to the Horizontal Property Regime, the tenant will pay the part of the lease fee that corresponds to the common monthly expenses of the property, as it covers the administration, conservation, maintenance, operation and security expenses. Landlords may receive the payment or authorize the tenant to pay to the administration of the building, who must issue the corresponding payment receipt to the payment directly will be deducted from the owed debt.

As the last amendment to the Decree, it is provided in its Article 11, which will appertain to the Authorities according to their powers, must execute the corresponding actions to enforce and sanction those who fail to comply with Decree No. 145, as well as to restore the tenant who has been thrown or evicted.

It is important to note that all tenants who have not been economically affected during the State of Emergency are obliged to comply with the payment the accorded rent; otherwise, they may be fined according to the provisions of Law 93 of 1973.

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