Govt. submits emergency bill designed to bar evictions without 2 months' notice

Parliamentarians wear masks to protect from the spread of the new coronavirus as they attend a sitting on May 26, 2020. (Photo/People's Majlis)

The Maldivian government, on Saturday, submitted legislature titled Public Health Emergency Bill 2020 designed to prohibit evictions without two months’ notice.

The bill was drafted by the Attorney General’s Office and is designed remain in effect until 60 days after the state of public health emergency over the coronavirus pandemic is lifted.

The bill is designed to bar immediate evictions by establishing that landlords must provide two months’ notice prior to evicting tenants. Landlords will also be prohibited from barring access to utility services. Landlords found to have barred their tenants’ access to utility services will be met with a MVR 5,000 fine.

Tenants will be allowed to lodge complaints over violations of the provisions of the bill to the Housing Ministry, which is required to establish policies governing the process.

It will also allow a suspension on forfeit of properties which house people which have been pledged as security for repayment of a loan in the event of a default.

Maldives identified its first coronavirus case, in Kuredu resort, on March 7, and declared a state of public health emergency over the pandemic four days later on March 11.

While coronavirus cases had initially been restricted to resorts and safaris, and later quarantine facilities holding inbound travelers, Male’ City identified its first coronavirus case on April 15, prompting a city-wide lockdown and a nationwide ban on nonessential travel.

The populous capital has since become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, contributing to over 90 percent of coronavirus cases.

Maldives has confirmed 1,672 coronavirus cases. 401 patients have since recovered, while five have died from complications.

Since the lockdown on the capital, there have been in incidents of people being evicted from their homes and forced to the streets. Dozens of people rescued from the streets are being housed in temporary shelters.