By Denise A. Valdez

MICROSTUDIO DEVELOPER Point Blue is waiving its minimum lease requirements to help those in need of a place to stay while Luzon is under quarantine.

The company said in a statement it is now allowing new and existing tenants to pay a minimum rent of one month for units, from the previous lease requirement of a minimum of three months.

“Typically, developers charge more for shorter leases, since it’s more difficult operationally. In our case, we made the decision to keep our pricing the same. Our priority was to provide a solution for people who need it,” Point Blue Chief Executive Officer JR Yujuico said in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.

Point Blue has a total of 750 microstudios in its six buildings so far: 400 microstudios in four buildings near Bonifacio Global City and 250 microstudios in two buildings in Makati City. Each microstudio is fully furnished with one bed and a private bathroom.

Since the government announced the lockdown in Metro Manila on March 12 initially, Mr. Yujuico said Point Blue has received “an unusual amount of inquiries” for short-term leases. This prompted the company to remove the three-month minimum lease requirement as “it became increasingly obvious that people were in need.”

The entire island of Luzon is now under enhanced community quarantine until April 12, as the government tries to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Point Blue’s microstudios are available for single or double occupancy with prices ranging from P13,200 to P15,000 a month, inclusive of a high-speed internet connection.

The company is targeting to develop 3,000 microstudios in Makati by 2022 in partnership with AboitizLand, Inc. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Mr. Yujuico said the company was on track to open a new building every one to two months.

However, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has forced the company to stop work on 11 buildings, each in different stages of design and construction.

“What’s for sure is that during this time, it’s difficult to think about growth. We need to plan for every scenario and make sure our company can look after our Point Blue community,” Mr. Yujuico said.

“Our business does have a solid foundation and I do think we are well-positioned to expand even further in the longer term. In the immediate term, we are in full support of the government’s measures to address COVID-19 and keep our communities healthy,” he added.