Collecting rent from a delinquent boarder

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My son is already married so I decided to have the extra room in my house rented. At present, a call center agent leases the room with the agreement that he will pay a monthly rental fee amounting to P2,000.00 every fifth day of the month. We had no problem during the first year he was renting. But right now, he has failed to pay two months’ rental. I have already asked him to pay several times but he only said that he does not have the money yet. What else can I do? I also have monthly bills that I need to pay and I intend to use the money he owes me to answer for those bills. I hope you can advise me. Thank you and more power.
Mrs. Kho

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Dear Mrs. Kho,
There exists a contractual relationship between you and your lessee under the lease agreement that both of you have agreed upon. Essentially, you are obliged, among others, to allow your tenant to make use of the room, which is the subject of your agreement for purposes of his lodging as well as those which are incidental thereto. For his part, the lessee is obliged to pay the amount of the consideration you have agreed upon which is Two Thousand Pesos monthly and this must be paid, as per your agreement, every fifth day of each month. Both you and the lessee must comply in good faith as to the terms you have agreed upon. Failure of one party to make good his obligation gives the other party a right of action.

In the case that you have presented before us, it appears that you have already exerted effort by making several demands from your lessee to pay the rental fee, and despite the demands you have made, he still has not paid you. Considering these circumstances, we believe that you can now bring your concern before the barangay where both of you will be given the opportunity to enter into an amicable settlement. If, however, you and your lessee reach no amicable settlement, you can ask your barangay (village) captain to issue in your favor a certificate to file action so that you can bring your legal predicament before the court through small claims. Under Section 4 of Administrative Matter No. 08-8-7-SC, a small claims case may be filed, before the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court or Municipal Circuit Trial Court of the place where you reside if the action is purely civil in nature, the claim or relief prayed for by the plaintiff is solely for the payment or reimbursement of sum of money, and if the claim is for money owed under a contract of lease. The hearing of such case proceeds in an informal and expeditious manner. Moreover, you may visit the Office of the Clerk of Court and ask for Form 1-SCC or Statement of Claims form, which you can accomplish by yourself or with the aid of a lawyer. This form must be verified in duplicate copies, attaching therein a Certificate of Non-Forum Shopping together with two duly-certified photocopies of the actionable document/s that is the subject of your claim as well as the affidavits and other evidence that can support your claim (Section 5, Ibid.).

Your lessee, being the respondent in the aforementioned case, will be notified regarding the same and will be given the opportunity to respond and settle the matter with you. But if your claim is unsettled, the hearing shall proceed and the court will issue, within the same day, a decision based on the facts and evidence submitted by both you and the respondent. Once the court reaches a decision, it shall be final and unappealable (Section 23, Id.). You can also move for the execution of the decision so that he will at once be bound to pay.

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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