Due to the State of Calamity decreed by the Guatemalan government, because of COVID-19, restrictive measures have been enacted to prevent the spread of the virus.

Said measures have restricted the opening of shopping centers, offices and other private establishments, as they are not among the exceptions granted for the continuation of operations.

Consequently, questions have arisen, both for landlords and tenants, regarding the fulfillment of their obligations, particularly the payment of rents.

In this regard, the Civil Code of Guatemala, via article 1426, regulates that the debtor is not responsible for the failure to comply with any obligation due to fortuitous event or force majeure, unless at the time it occurred, it had been in state of default. Likewise, article 1906 establishes that if the tenant is prevented, through no fault of his, from the total or partial use of the leased asset, he is not obliged to pay the rent in the first case, and is entitled, in the second case, to a proportional reduction that, in the absence of agreement, will be determined by the judge.

Therefore, if any of the contractual parties is affected by the current State of Calamity and has questions regarding the fulfillment of their obligations, either as landlord or tenant, it is necessary to take into account the regulations set out by our Civil Code and the contractual provisions of each individual contract.

If you find yourself in this situation and wish to obtain further information, we remain at your disposal to review each individual case.

We have a 24/7 service to address your legal queries related to the effects of COVID-19 in your company. Contact us through our Help Desk for immediate assistance at: [email protected]Access to our Media Room for further information about legal aspects related to Coronavirus in Central America at this link.