The deferment of EMIs and loan interest waiver for three months due to COVID-19 has eased the burden of paying house rents for some tenants as landlords made rent exemptions.
Some of the house owners have decided to waive off the rents completely while some decided collect only 50 percent of the rent for three months.
Those who have waived off the rents shared that they will continue doing it if the decision continues after three months. For now they will be waiving off for three months (April-June).
Meanwhile, Zeko Dukpa, a house owner at Babesa, Thimphu shared that he will waive off 50 percent of the rent. He said, “I am able to do this since the loans were deferred for three months and with the loan interest waiver. I would have waived off the rent completely but this is only my source of income. I have a family to look after which is why I had to charge 50 percent.”
He also said that had not been such measures in place, they would have lived in guilt as they will not have any other options than to charge their tenants as usual as they have to pay their loans.
“This is the little I can do for my tenants. Most of my tenants are civil servants and there are a few who are a taxi drivers and businessmen. So 50 percent off may somehow help them,” he added.
Tshering, who owns a house in the core Thimphu town, has decided to waive off 70 percent of the house rent. Usually, 70 percent of his rent is deposited to service loan while 30 percent is used as his income.
With the 30 percent of the rent he has to buy essential items and help his parents and siblings, he said, adding that it is better to save a little due to ongoing crisis.
Passang, a house owner at Changzamtog said, “I have yet to decide if I should waive off completely or just do collect the 50 percent. If not 100 percent, I will give certain percent rent waiver to all the tenants.”
“I thought to categorize and set certain percentage accordingly but again I thought it would be better to make it uniform. I have mixed tenants. I could have waived off 100 percent but again I had to think of certain things which I need to take care of. Moreover, I have loans to pay,” she added.
Meanwhile, Dawa Lhamo, a house owner from Chukha said that she might continue to charge the tenants because the rent, itself, is very low. Moreover, all the tenants are civil servants. “They may find us a bit selfish but we are helpless as well. If I had other source of income then I would have exempted. I am staying in Thimphu with my daughters who are private employees,” she said.
She said that they never know what will come next. Therefore, whatever they get, they would save it for the future if anything happens. However, she said that they will soon decide if they can waive off a certain percent of the rent.
Samten, a house owner at Taba shared that she decided not to waive off the rent amount as all her tenants admitted that they get their salaries as usual. She said, “My tenants have shared that they do not expect any reduction. They said that if their employees fail to pay them the salary than they would come to us.”
However, if situation worsens, she said that she would come up with something so that her tenants can have something saved for the difficult times to come. “I have loans to pay,” she added.