As the Thai government begins to gradually lift the restrictions that were implemented to minimize the health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unprecedented economic impact of the disease continues to be felt across multiple sectors of the economy. Businesses have experienced a variety of challenges, including forced closures, supply chain disruptions, and severe declines in revenue as the number of customers has plunged. For the many businesses that lease space for their operations, one additional challenge is simply the ability to pay rent.
Some countries have responded to the problems faced by individual and commercial tenants by enacting temporary relief measures, such as providing funds to property owners to make up for tenants’ unpaid rent and issuing temporary moratoriums on lease terminations and evictions. In Canada, for example, the government passed an emergency commercial rent assistance program that provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property landlords who agree to reduce rents for eligible small business tenants for April through June. Similarly, Singapore recently passed a temporary act which, among other measures, prohibits a landlord from terminating a non-residential lease for non-payment related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Thai government has also moved to provide relief for some commercial tenants. For example, the Ministry of Interior ordered local administrations to help certain commercial tenants on government-owned property by providing discounts on rent or allowing rent to be paid late without penalty. The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand also announced relief measures for qualifying commercial tenants, under which businesses that were ordered closed by the government will have rental fees waived for two months, while businesses that were not ordered closed will receive a 50% discount on their rent for four months. Similarly, the Port Authority of Thailand announced a 50% discount on rent for commercial tenants for three months.
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