Apartment Rent Regulations: Your Rights as a Tenant in the Philippines

Apartment rental fees were one of the many topics raised by Pinoys online during the year-long lockdowns. A lot of breadwinners lost their sources of income when COVID-19 decimated businesses, while others had to contend with lesser take-home pay because of shortened working days. This resulted to unpaid house rent for months on end, while others were reportedly evicted by their landlords after they failed to settle their dues even after the lockdowns have been lifted.

I took a long, hard look at this topic and decided it is not only timely, but might also be helpful, to talk (or in my case, write!) about it now. So, I did my research and here are the things I learned from lawyers’ websites and news articles in Yahoo! about renting in the Philippines and the laws that govern this business.

I hope you find value in my short research. Read on.

Two laws that regulate residential and commercial leases in the Philippines

  1. Rent Control Act in the Philippines (RA 9653)
    • This is the law that protects housing tenants against unreasonable rent increases.
    • It covers housing units with a monthly rent of up to Php 10,000 in Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities nationwide.
    • Housing units covered by RA 9653 are:
      • Apartments
      • Boarding houses, bed spaces, dormitories, and rooms for rent
      • Houses and/or land
  2. Civil Code of the Philippines
    • Lease provisions that cover rentals above Php 10,000, commercial spaces, and rent-to-own units.

Rights of a Tenant in the Philippines:

  1. Limit on rent increases.

Below are the prescribed increases based on the monthly rent and occupancy:

Monthly RentMaximum Rent Increase
P4,999 and below2% only, once per year
P5,000 to P8,9997% as long as the unit is occupied by the same tenants
P9,000 to P10,00011% as long as the unit is occupied by the same tenants

The Rent Control Act allows landlords to increase rents only once a year for bed spaces, boarding houses, dorms, and rooms leased to students. A landlord cannot increase his rent twice in a year, especially when the space is rented out to two different tenants within the same year.

2. No charging of excessive deposits and advance rent

Remember: Not more than two-month deposit and not more than one-month advance is all you need to pay in advance when renting a new place.

When the contract expires, the deposit and the interest it earned, plus any remaining balance from the advance rent should be returned to the tenant unless there are dues incurred by the tenant that need to be settled such as:

  • unpaid rent
  • utility bills
  • damages to any part of the property

3. No eviction without legal ground.

Your landlord should be able to provide you with a specific reason for eviction, if and when. You cannot be evicted for unjust reasons.

In the Philippines, you can be evicted for the following reasons:

  • Subleasing the property – you rent out a portion of the space to another person without seeking permission from the landlord.
  • Overdue rental payments – non-payment of monthly rent for three months or more.
  • Owner’s legitimate need to use the property. – In this case, the tenant can be evicted only after the lease contract expires (no force eviction). You should also be given a formal notice to vacate the property three months in advance.
  • Necessary house repairs.
  • Lease contract expiration.

When is eviction illegal?

  • Sale or mortgage of the property.
    • If the landlord has sold or mortgaged the leased unit to a third party, the landlord or the new owner cannot evict the tenant.
  • If you are a COVID-19 patient or frontliner.
  • Failure to pay rent and other reasons during the quarantine period and grace period.
    • Property owners cannot evict tenants in ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ areas from the start of the quarantine until the end of the mandatory 30-day grace period (which starts from the last due date of rent or from the lifting of the quarantine, whichever is longer.)
    • Landlords who refuse to comply with the grace period could be fined at least P10,000, jailed for at least two months, or both.

What should I do if my tenant rights are violated?

  • Try to negotiate with your landlord to avoid legal squabbles.
  • If this does not work, seek the assistance of your barangay chairman or lupon.

Of course, it is always right to read your lease contract so you fully understand what you are getting yourself into before signing and moving in. Keep a copy of the contract in your files, as well as the receipts for your monthly payments. Keep an open and respectful communication line with your landlord, and treat his house/apartment as if it were your own: keep it clean all the time and report any damages such as leaks, broken tiles, and the like.

The policies on COVID-19 may have already changed by this time as Bayanihan 1 and 2 are long done by now. Just the same, review your contract’s provisions with your landlord in case you still have questions about any privileges you may have missed during the quarantine.

Sources:

https://ph.news.yahoo.com/payment-eviction-tenant-guide-rental-080053916.html

https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/03/01/legal-advice/dearpao/apartment-rent-regulation/846244

Published by MasterCitizen

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16 thoughts on “Apartment Rent Regulations: Your Rights as a Tenant in the Philippines

  1. Dear Sir/Madam,
    I am currently renting a small room and have not paid my rent for 15 days. Have been here for more than a year. Can they just evict me from my place anytime. Is there a grace period that is standard before they can evict me. I have informed them that I will be starting a new job on the 27 and that I can make my regular payment by August.

  2. my tenant increase my electricity bill ..and its so unfair because I barely use electricity because of my work I only have electric fan and electric stove but the payment he”s asking is much more than my bill in our house and he said i dont have rights to argue because im just boarder and hes the landlord what should i do?

    1. What is written in your lease contract po? What are the guidelines for electricity charges and bills? If you have a contract (and you should), please refer to the entries in your contract. Pero kung wala po kayong kontrata, mahihirapan po kayong ilaban ang right niyo as a tenant. Pwede niyo pong ipa barangay yung landlord niyo but that would also mean na handa na kayong umalis sa inuupahan niyo at humanap na ng iba.

  3. Hi, discussing right now rent increase with landlord. We rent a house and as per the contract we signed last year July 31 2021 rent would be increased annually by 5%. Just now, June 28, 2022 she messaged us that theyre increasing the rent by 13%. When we asked them to double check the contract we signed, she told us that they will be changing the contract. Can they do this?

    1. Actually, they can’t. And they should not. You might need to consult with the barangay or a lawyer friend so you’d know how to protect your rights as a tenant.

  4. I’m currently residing in a hotel here in Davao City and our initial rental rate was changed due to some reasons and I am good with that. Hoever just recently, the owner/manager of the hotel increased our rent rate of 20% after a year or so. Reading this RA for rent control act really helps a lot but where do I go from here on? Just chatted the manager/owner of the hotel as to why that much of increase with regards to the rent. I am awaiting for his reply. My questions is, what if the manager/owner would really push through with the 20% increase for the rent? What do I havr to do?

  5. Hello i am being forced evict by my landlord due to nonpaymetn for 3 months. What can i do?

  6. I have a question. What would be the eviction process if the landlord decided to retire(close down) the business. It wasn’t stated in the law.

    1. The tenants should be advised by the landlord of his intention to close down his business and this should be done in advance. While there is no specific number of days or weeks or months that the landlord must inform his tenants about closing down the building, the tenants must be given ample time to pack and look for a new place to stay.

  7. Just wondering. Are there any rules when short term lease can be cut short without voiding the deposit. There must be something like this due to the COVID situatuin we are in. I am bound to a 3-month contract, but due to covid I would need to fly back to the US after jan12 to feb17 stay in a
    Condo where I am at now. I know airbnb’s are actually not allowed but paying the whole 3 months for a month and a week stay seem too much.
    Please help.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Meela! Please go over your contract once more and see if there are any points there that allows you to cut your stay short and still be able to claim the deposit. Normally, though, landlords do not allow such.

  8. Sir /mam
    Can I request please give me or provide me a book on……Rent control law if there’s a Tagalog version
    May address…
    Rolando l. Cuis
    4009 purok 4 bambang Bulacan bulacan
    3017

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