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Landlords waive rent amid Covid

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Two women and a boy sit outside a rental room​​ in Phsar Doeum Thkov commune of Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district on Monday. Heng Chivoan

Landlords waive rent amid Covid

Seeing the hardships of earning a living due to the spread of Covid-19, especially since the February 20 community transmission, some property owners have decided to waive or discount monthly rents. Some owners have offered up to 40 to 50 per cent discounts.

Chhoeun Bunchhorn, owner of a rental business in Svay Rolum commune of Kandal province’s Takhmao town, told The Post on March 22 that he had decided not to charge rent for rooms for all tenants from March until May.

“I have 69 rooms and most of my tenants are factory workers. Today, I decided not to take rent for three months, but they have to pay utility fees. Some tenants thanked me with excitement mixed with tears,” he said.

Bunchhorn added that not all businesses across the country are facing difficulties. Some people understand that factories have not yet closed, so workers are not yet facing challenges. But he thinks differently. In his area some factories have no additional overtime as well as no products to manufacture.

Bunchhorn appealed to all house rental businesses: “People who have rooms for rent, please help each other if you can, because no foreigners will help us. Only Khmer help Khmer people.”

Yem Sothany, who has 10 rooms for rent in Sen Sok district’s Teuk Thla commune in Phnom Penh, has also decided to reduce his room’s rent by 40 per cent for two months from April to May.

“I can offer 40 per cent discount because my highest room rent is only $55 per month. This discount is to help stabilise the economy and assist people who rent my rooms during this outbreak,” he told The Post.

Another landlord posted on his social media account that he has offered a discount of up to 50 per cent without limiting the duration of the discount.

“As the owner of 20 rooms, I would like to contribute in helping people affected by the Coronavirus, and who are having difficulties in making an income, I would like to reduce the rent by 50 per cent until the country is getting better,” he wrote.

Srey Ya, a garment factory worker who has been renting a room in Phnom Penh since 2012, said she didn’t know if the landlord would give her a discount, but last year the landlord gave a discount of up to 50 per cent which was from $25 to $50 per month.

She had requested her landlord to reduce the rent this year, because now workers are losing a lot of income and facing a lot of problems due to Covid-19.

Regarding the discounts, president of the national trade union confederation Fa Saly praised landlords and called on all those who rent rooms to be kind to workers as well as those who are facing difficulties during this period.

“I would also like to ask all property owners in our country who have a house to rent to understand to help each other equally as Cambodians,” he said.

Fa added that the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training should also be involved in asking landlords to offer discounts or waive rents for workers.

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