Barangay authorized to protect rights of both parties in a lease contract

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My lessee failed to pay three months of rent. The rental value is P2,500 per month.

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Apart from that, he also failed to settle his water and electric bills. I asked him to vacate the house that he is renting but he asked for an extension because, according to him, he could not find another house to rent. So, we came up with another agreement (with promissory note) whereby he agreed to pay the water bill by February 10, 2014 and electric bill by February 25, 2014, and that if he is able to settle by due date, he will be allowed to stay in the house until March 2014. However, if he fails to pay those bills on the dates agreed upon, he will immediately vacate the house at the end of February 2014. Assuming he fails to pay, what can I do? Can I force him to vacate? I tried to ask assistance from our Barangay but I was told that they cannot force anyone to leave.
AMB

Dear AMB,
It is important to remind both you and your lessee that you have a contract of lease which governs both your rights and obligations to each other. If the partial amendment to such contract, that is, the new agreement with promissory note, was acknowledged and signed by both of you, then such will likewise govern both of you.

Accordingly, the provisions thereof must be complied with in good faith because the same are binding between the two of you, in consonance with Article 1159 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines.

With that being said, your lessee is not relieved from his duty to pay the monthly rent in the amount of Two Thousand and Five Hundred Pesos (P2,500.00). If he has incurred rental arrears, the same must likewise be settled. Apart from that, he must settle the water and electric bills which have accrued because of his continued consumption thereof.

Should he fail to settle the rental arrears and bills, you may utilize the advance rent and deposit which he has paid at the onset of your agreement, if there be any (Section 7, Republic Act No. 9653, otherwise known as the Rent Control Act of 2009). In the absence thereof, you may demand for him to vacate the house that he is renting after the expiration of the agreed period.

If he refuses to accede to your demand to vacate, you may file a complaint before the Barangay Lupon. While it has no authority to force any person to leave their residence, it has nonetheless the authority to assist in the enforcement of the provisions of contracts as well as to protect the rights of parties thereto.

Should Barangay conciliation prove futile and a certificate to file action is issued in your favor, you may seek redress from our courts by filing an action for judicial ejectment. As provided for under Section 9 of Republic Act No. 9653, “Ejectment shall be allowed on the following grounds: x x x (b) Arrears in payment of rent for a total of three months: x x x (e) Expiration of the period of the lease contract”

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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