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Owning a house is a lifelong dream for many of us. For the few who are lucky enough to have sufficient money, they enjoy the privilege of owning their own house and even having them rented out to those who are in need of temporary dwelling. Renting a house or just a room or even a bed is common in cities or urban areas and being so, a usual source of conflict. Lessors or landlords have to constantly deal with difficult lessees. There are quarrelsome lessees, some do not pay their rent, and some are simply unbearable. But of course there are also difficult lessors who make the lives of their lessees hell on earth. In order to temper the power of the landlord and protect the lessees, congress passed legislation to spell out the rights or both and maintain peace between them.
Rent Control Act of 2009
The rent control law which is in effect at present is Republic Act 9653 entitled “An Act Establishing Reforms in the Regulation of Rent of Certain Residential Units, Providing the Mechanisms Therefor and for Other Purposes”. The act is only applicable to residential units with monthly rent ranging from Php 1.00 to 10,000.00 in NCR and Php 1.00-5,000.00 in all other areas. This means that if the monthly rent of a residential unit in Manila is more than 10,000.00 then it is not covered by this act. Those not covered by this law are to be governed by the contract executed by the lessee and lessor.
The act provides that the rent “shall not be increased by more than seven percent (7%) annually as long as the unit is occupied by the same lessee: Provided, further, That when the residential unit becomes vacant, the lessor may set the initial rent for the next lessee: Provided, however, That in the case of boarding houses, dormitories, rooms and bedspaces offered for rent to students, no increase in rental more than once per year shall be allowed.” (Sec. 4). The law provides that the rent shall be paid 5 days before the beginning of the lease and that that lessee can only be required to pay one month advance and 2 months deposit. This deposit shall be deposited in the lessor’s account which shall be returned to the lessee at the end of the contract but in case of non-payment of rent and utilities, or if the property was damaged, the equivalent amount of damage will be forfeited in favor of the landlord.
The lessee may only be forced to vacate in the following instances: 1. if he assigns or subleases the property without the consent of the lessor; 2. arrears in rent for a total of three (3) months; 3. need of the lessor to use the property; 4. need of the lessor to repair the property; and 5. expiration of the period of the lease. Only in the above mentioned situations can the landlord evict or eject the lessee from the rented property. The sale or mortgage of the property in favor of another person cannot become a valid ground for the eviction of the lessee.
Resolution No. 01 dated June 01, 2015 of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) extended the effectivity of the law until December 31 2017.