A Quick Guide to Residential Tenancy in the Philippines

05 - 31

If you are renting an apartment, a condo unit, or a single detached house structure, this article is for you.

According to a study conducted by the Statistical Research and Training Center (SRTC), nearly 7.2% of households in the country are renting their residential space.  These are mostly young couples and small families, average income earners, and migrants from provinces.   Leasing homes has become a lucrative business in the Philippines.  And while most renters are able to take advantage of good house locations, reasonable rates and fees, and friendly landlords who later on become more like family members, there are still a lot who suffer injustice simply because they are “mere renters”.  Sadly, very few have working knowledge of the laws that govern residential tenancy in our country and because of this, more and more are trapped in the vicious cycle of exorbitant fees and annual increases in rent, poor maintenance of the structure, and worse, unlawful evictions.

This article aims to educate every reader of his rights as a residential tenant in Metro Manila and other urbanized areas in the Philippines, through RA 9653, also known as the Rent Control Act of 2009.

  1. Definition of Terms
    • Residential units – separate properties and properties that are part of larger unit are covered by the term residential units.  This excludes motels, motel rooms, hotels, and hotel rooms but apartments and buildings used for business are still considered residential units.
    • Rent – the amount paid for a residential unit monthly, based on the lease contract.
    • Subleasing – when a tenant rents the place that he is currently to other people.
  2. Coverage
    • All residential units that are rented or are up for rent, from Php 10,000 to P5,000 below, situated in Metro Manila and other urbanized areas in the country, are covered by this law.
    • Rent-to-own units, due to its completely different terms and agreement between owner and renter, are not covered.
  3. Rent Increases
    • If the unit is rented by the same tenant annually, the lessor or landlord can increase the rent by more than 7% (annually).
    • The same rate may be applied to bed space rentals and dormitories.
    • The rate increase must only be applied once a year.
  4. Leasing and Subleasing
    • This is possible provided a formal or written agreement with the original landlord is in effect.  The absence of the said document may be grounds for eviction (of the original tenant and the subleasing tenant).
  5. Eviction – Below are grounds for eviction, as stipulated by law:
    • The tenant fails to pay the rent for 3 months.
    • The tenant subleased the area without the landlord’s knowledge and consent.
    • Legitimate reasons exclusive to the landlord or his family members that may compel them to occupy the rented space.
    • If the unit is under Order of Condemnation, or if the space needs immediate repairs and renovation.
    • Expiration of Lease Contract.
  6. Rules of Payment
    • Rent payments must be made one month in advance within the first five days of the month.
    • The landlord may only require a one-month advance and a two-month deposit from tenant.
    • Deposits can be used to cover damages done in the property; however, the renter has the right to demand for a full refund of the deposit if there are no damages.

Anyone caught and proven to be violating the law on residential tenancy may face imprisonment of 6 months and a fine of Php 25,000 to Php 50,000.

Tomorrow, we will feature a “how-to” guide in claiming your security deposit from errant landlords, so do stand by for that.

We hope this article has been helpful.  If you have any questions about residential tenancy in the Philippines, drop us a line and we will do our best to find the answers for you.




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Published by MasterCitizen

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