Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rent control law covers residential units with monthly rent of P10,000 and below

Dear PAO,
I am renting a condo unit for P15,000 a month. The owner would like to increase the rent to P17,000 a month, four months before the end of the lease contract. Is this not in violation of the Rent Control Law?
Dear Peter,
The law you are referring to in your letter is Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9653 or the Rent Control Act of 2009. Under this law, the lessor of a residential unit may not increase the rent by more than 7% per annum as long as the unit is occupied by the same lessee (Section 4, R.A. No. 9653).
A residential unit as defined by the said law is as follows:
“Residential unit shall refer to an apartment, house and/or land on which another’s dwelling is located and used for residential purposes and shall include not only buildings, part or units thereof used solely as dwelling places, boarding houses, dormitories, rooms and bedspaces offered for rent by their owners, except motels, motel rooms, hotels, hotel rooms, but also those used for home industries, retail stores or other business purposes if the owner thereof and his or her family actually live therein and use it principally for dwelling purposes.”
However, only those residential units where the monthly rent does not exceed P10,000.00 in Metro Manila and other highly urbanized city or P5,000.00 in other places are covered by the said law (Section 4, RA No. 9653).
Since, your monthly rent exceeds the amounts aforementioned, you are not covered by the said law. Thus, the owner of the condominium unit you are renting may increase the amount of rent. Nevertheless, he may do so only after the expiration of the period as stipulated in the contract of lease. In other words, he cannot amend the provision of the lease contract insofar as the monthly rental is concerned, unless you are amenable to the same. If he insists on collecting higher rent than what was agreed upon, he is violating the said contract which will entitle you to either rescind or cause the fulfilment of the terms and conditions of the contract which was violated plus damages in either case (Article 1191, New Civil Code of the Philippines).
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
source:  Manila Times Column of Atty Persida Acosta

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