Monday, February 24, 2014

Property owner has right to enjoy and dispose of property

Dear PAO,
For almost 15 years, my aunt allowed our family to stay in her house. However, my aunt now wants to evict us out of the house. Can she validly do this?
Mr. J.

Dear Mr. J,
Under the law, the owner of a property shall have the right to enjoy and dispose of a thing, without limitations other than those established by law. He shall also have a right of action against the holder and possessor of the property that he owns in order to recover it (Article 427, Civil Code of the Philippines).

Being the owner, your aunt unquestionably has the right of possession over her house. The fact that she allowed you and your family to stay there for a very long time shall not divest her of her rights over her property. Since your right to stay at the house of your aunt is dependent only on her consent or tolerance, she may validly demand from you to vacate her house if she wants to. If you and your family refuse to vacate her house despite demand, your aunt shall have the right to file an action against you for unlawful detainer pursuant to Section 1, Rule 70, Rules of Court, to wit:

Rule 70 Forcible entry and unlawful detainer
Section 1. Who may institute proceedings, and when. Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding section, a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth, or a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession, by virtue of any contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns of any such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person, may, at any time within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession, bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession, or any person or persons claiming under them, for the restitution of such possession, together with damages and costs.

If after hearing, the court finds that the allegations in the complaint for unlawful detainer are true, it shall render a judgment in favor of the plaintiff for the restitution of the house, the sum justly due as reasonable compensation for the use and occupation of the premises, attorney’s fees and costs (Section 17, Rule 70, Rules of Court).

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to

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