Planning on renting your DMCI Homes condo unit? Or perhaps you’re worried that you might get kicked out by your landlord soon? Leasing out your unit is a great way to passively earn money, but there are times your tenants can cause some house problems. In some cases, you might have to give them the boot for violating the lease agreement. Or maybe you're a tenant who is being harassed by your landlord to leave?

Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, you need to read this updated 2019 guide to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9653. It will help you avoid running into legal problems regardless of which side of the fence you’re in.

Are there any rights/laws for landlords/tenants?

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According to the 2015 census of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), 12.1 percent of the population is at least renting a room. Moreover, 97 percent of tenants pay around Php10,000 for monthly rent.

It would only be right for lawmakers in the Philippines to create a law to protect both landlords and tenants—especially those in the middle to lower-income brackets. That law is called the Rent Control Act of the Philippines or R.A. No. 9653.

It’s "an act establishing reforms in the regulation of rent of certain residential units, providing the mechanisms therefore and for other purposes." What it basically means is that it’s a set of laws that aims to protect both sides – landlord and renters – from conflicts when it comes to fulfilling each other’s obligations as stipulated in the legal contract for leasing.

For Landlords

What are the legal reasons for a tenant to be evicted?

legal reasons tenant to be evicted

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Under Section 9 of the Rent Control Law, a tenant can be evicted for several reasons such as:

  1. The lease agreement/contract period has expired.
  2. If a tenant accepts borders or rents a part of or the entire residential unit without consent of the landlord.
  3. Failure by the tenant to pay rent for three consecutive months.
  4. In the event the owner needs to repossess the property for their own or an immediate family member’s use. This, however, can only be done when the lease has expired and the landlord has provided three months tenant eviction notice.
  5. When there’s a need by the landlord/owner to make repairs or renovate their condo to make it “safe and habitable.” And in case the owner makes the property available for rent again, the previous tenant has first say to rent it again.

Aside from the five mentioned reasons, your landlord’s rules for tenants should serve as a guide on what you can and cannot do while renting their property. For sure there are tenant eviction laws in the Philippines that you need to keep in mind so you can stay for the duration of your contract. It can be anything from the guest policy, noise levels in your unit, and renovating without permission.

What are the updates of the Rent Control Act?

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The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) extended the Rent Control Act to December 31, 2020. With this extension, the HUDCC updated some parts of the act regarding the increase in rental fees after lease agreement renewal.

Landlords shall only be allowed to increase the rent of a residential unit by:

  1. Not more than two percent for those paying a monthly rent less than Php4,999.
  2. For those paying Php5,000 to Php8,999, landlords can only apply up to seven percent as long as the unit is leased by the same tenant.
  3. Landlords can only apply more than an 11 percent increase in monthly rent for tenants paying a monthly fee of Php9,000 to Php10,000. Like number 2, this can only be done if the unit is rented out to the same tenant.

With this update, it would be a wise idea for both landlords and tenants to do a legal contract review to avoid problems with payments in the future. 

Who and what are covered by the Rent Control Act?

This law applies to houses with rental rates that have a lease agreement house rental of Php10,000 and below, under two conditions. Residential units within the National Capital Region (NCR) and other highly-urbanized cities with a total monthly rent of Php10,000 are included. It also covers every other residential unit for rent outside the aforementioned areas with a total monthly rent of Php5,000. And within the guidelines of R.A. No 9653, both tenant and landlord are answerable to specific unjust acts that can get the former kicked out or the latter adhering to the letter of the law.

For Tenants

How can you protect yourself from eviction if you aren’t covered by the Act?

As mentioned, the Act is meant to protect tenants in the middle to lower-income bracket, as such the Php10,000 limit. What if your rent is higher than the threshold and your landlord sends an untimely eviction notice form? How can you protect yourself from tenant eviction if you aren’t covered by the Rent Control Act?

It is the tenant’s right to register the lease before the Registry of Deeds where the property is located, which will be reflected in the title of the property. Why do this? The Civil Code says that the owner or landlord cannot terminate the lease if the rented property has been registered in the Registry of Deeds, thus preventing tenant eviction. That’s unless the reason the landlord wants to evict a tenant falls into one of the five legal reasons stated above or as agreed upon contract.

Another tenant eviction right is Article 536 of the Civil Code that states:

In no case may a possession be acquired through force or intimidation as long as there is a possessor who objects thereto. He who believes that he has an action or a right to deprive another of the holding of a thing, must invoke the aid of the competent court, if the holder should refuse to deliver the thing.

If the landlord wishes to start the eviction process, they will have to file a case against the tenant to one of the following civil courts: 

  • Metropolitan Trial Court
  • Municipal Trial Court in cities
  • Municipal Trial Court
  • Municipal Circuit Trial Courts

The complaint must be accompanied by evidence. In this case, it can be the tenant eviction letter. It should also have a certificate of non-forum shopping. This basically means you haven’t filed the complaint or whatever problem it may be elsewhere. You’ll also need to pay the docket and legal fees before so the case can be heard.

The reality of renting a condo is that you need to follow your landlord’s rules and regulations to avoid eviction or follow the signed contract to the letter with fairness. Otherwise, you’ll receive a 30-day eviction notice or a lawsuit against you. It would be best to review your rental agreement thoroughly to avoid getting the boot earlier than expected.