philippine real estate covid19 ecq gcq

If you have been out of the loop with the situation in real estate, here are some updates for you.

Condo Ingress & Egress Restrictions, Right Or Wrong?

Rockwell Makati has restricted real estate transactions like leasing in their buildings. Last Monday, May 18, we found out that at One Rockwell West, tenants cannot view units and landlords can’t show their own properties, impeding the brokers and agents ability to do their work and earn income.

I’ve been asked about the “correctness” of the building administrators’ strict control of the entry and exit points; are they right or wrong to do this? Is it even legal?

I’m not a lawyer. Take this answer as my own personal, non-lawyer-y opinion on the matter.

I believe building administrators have the right and the responsibility to impose access restrictions during this unprecedented event, as they are the authorized caretaker of their respective buildings.

It is their duty to safeguard the health and well-being of all their residents. In the ordinary course of business, for example, the building admins would not allow anyone carrying a torch to enter, as this would be a fire hazard and would endanger the lives of the occupants. With the global health crisis that we’re experiencing, the building admins would take the precautionary measures to protect the health of their occupants by stopping non-residents from entering, since they may potentially be Sars-Cov-2 carriers. Logically, this is the right thing to do.

Furthermore, if the condo’s board of directors/trustees or elected officers introduced a rule targeted to stop the spread of Sars-Cov-2 into their buildings, like ingress and egress restrictions, then the administrators shall use all their powers to enforce it. A rule created by the board and/or the officers can be considered a legal document. Legally, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), now called the Human Settlements Adjudication Commission (HSAC), provided the legal guidelines on the creation of condo associations and the election and function of its board of directors/trustees and officers. With this, we can assume that the condo rules they laid out for Sars-Cov-2 protection would be legal.

DTI Allow Real Estate Transactions During Quarantine

Memorandum Circular 20-22 Business Establishments or Activities Allowed to Operate in Areas Declared Under Enhanced Community Quarantine (Ecq) and General Community Quarantine (Gcq) Pursuant to the Omnibus Guidelines on Community Quarantine as Confirmed and Adopted by The President Under Executive Order No. 112 S. 2020

Under the DTI Memo 20-22 issued last May 5, 2020, real estate activities such as leasing, buying, selling, subdividing, appraising and development of cemetery and columbarium have been allowed in areas under ECQ and GCQ.

The problem is, if building administrators restrict their buildings’ ingress and egress, real estate brokers and agents would still have no business. Real estate service professionals, specially those who specialize on residential sales and rentals, are stuck between a rock and hard place.

Other Safety Precautions Taken By Condominiums

We learned through one of our colleagues that One Serendra has implemented a few conditions that other condominiums may soon follow. One Serendra has put in place a list of requirements to follow for non-residents to enter their facility:

  1. Mandatory PPE. Entrants shall be required to acquire a PPE from One Serendra, for a fee.
  2. Sanitization/Disinfection. Entrants shall pay a fee to One Serendra for sanitizing/disenfecting the pathway that they have taken. i.e. foot path, lobby, elevator.
  3.  That’s as far as we know. We will update this as we find out more.

Basically, if a tenant would like to view a unit or a landlord would like to show a unit or a broker/agent would like to assist the tenant and landlord, they would all have to pay a “protection” fee to One Serendra.

Extreme, yes, but it does make sense. It’s smart of them to allow economic activity to take place while implementing strict anti-contamination procedures. Those tenants that are just window shopping for units would be discouraged by the fees and procedure, rooting them out and giving way to the motivated ones.

What Else?

For those buyers who bought properties and its corporate ownership, the SEC is still at a Work-From-Home arrangement, so delays are to be expected in the certification of transfer of corporation shares, ownership.

For those brokers who facilitated the sale, commission delays are to be expected as well. Don’t be sad though, we’re on the same boat.

The Worst Is Not Over

As long as there is no vaccine, things would not be back to “normal”. Repairs, renovations, interior design, open houses, house warmings would all take a back seat.

Be safe and be strong. We will all survive this historic event.

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