My sister is a former OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker). When she was still working abroad, she was able to invest in a condominium unit that is located a few blocks from our family home. She had it rented out to one of our cousins for P7,000.00 per month (yearly contract) and they just renew their contract every May 31, taking effect on the first day of June of every year. Unfortunately, my sister had to come back home late last year because there was a massive layoff in their company. Now, she is just trying to make both ends meet by selling RTW clothes. She already informed our cousin as early as January that she will no longer renew the contract this year as she will occupy the unit since there are 12 of us currently occupying our family home.
Our cousin did not say anything then. By the last week of May, my sister contacted our cousin to reiterate to her that she needs to move out by June 1. Until this date, our cousin refuses to vacate. What can my sister do? Can she bring this concern before our barangay (village) authorities since we live in the same barangay? Or can this matter be brought to court assuming she will not budge? Please advise me on this matter.
It is apparent that there exists a contract of lease between your sister and cousin as the former obliged herself to give to the latter the enjoyment or use of her condominium unit in consideration of the monthly rental fee of P7,000.00. It is also apparent that this contract has already expired, considering that no renewal was made on May 31 of this year. Accordingly, your cousin is obliged to turn over the property back to your sister on that date as she no longer has any lawful right to retain possession of the property.
Failure or refusal on the part of your cousin to do so will accord your sister the right to judicially eject her from the subject property. It is explicitly provided under Republic Act 9653, or the Rent Control Act of 2009:
“Section 9. Grounds for Judicial Ejectment. – Ejectment shall be allowed on the following grounds:
x x x
(c) Legitimate need of the owner/lessor to repossess his or her property for his or her own use of for the use of an immediate member of his or her family as a residential unit: Provided, however, That the lease for a definite period has expired: Provided, further, That the lessor has given the lessee the formal notice three (3) months in advance of the lessor’s intention to repossess the property and: Provided, finally, That the owner/lessor is prohibited from leasing the residential unit or allowing its use by a third party for a period of at least one (1) year from the time of repossession;
x x x
(e) Expiration of the period of the lease contract.”
At this point, it will be best to inform your cousin of these legal provisions so that she may be enlightened of what is lawfully due to your sister. If she will insist to remain in the property, your sister must file a complaint for ejectment before the barangay authorities who have jurisdiction over their residences, since you mentioned that you all live within the same barangay (Section 412 (a), Republic Act 7610). Should there still be no settlement between them after the holding of barangayconciliation proceedings and your sister has been issued a certificate to file action, then she may proceed with the filing of the unlawful detainer case before the court pursuant to the rules set under the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.