Landlord obliged to repair rented house

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dearpao

Dear PAO,
I am renting a house for almost three years now and I am very good with my payments. My conflict with our landlord began because of a busted toilet. Every time we use it, it takes 6-8 pails of water to completely flush it out. We had someone check it and we were told that it will take a large amount of money to completely fix the problem.

I raised this issue with our landlord, but he did nothing to address the problem. I have been struggling with this problem for almost three years now. Another problem is that the house does not have its own drainage. So when it rains, the water flows directly into my kitchen which causes flooding. This is also the reason why my refrigerator broke down because it accidentally took in flood water which messed up the motor.

Every time we pay him rent, we always remind him of these problems and he only tells us that we should shoulder the expenses to fix them. The thing is the repairs will cost a lot of money which we do not have. He also allowed his nephew, a known drug addict in our neighborhood, to tap into our electricity. It has been eight months and we have repeatedly demanded from him to remove it, but to no avail. So, I decided not to pay rent until all of these problems are solved. Am I right to not pay the rent? I hope you can give me advice.
MD

Dear MD,
In a contract of lease, both the lessee and the lessor have obligations to comply. As provided by law, the lessee is obliged: (1) to pay the price of the lease according to the terms stipulated; (2) to use the thing leased as a diligent father of a family, devoting it to the use stipulated; and in the absence of stipulation, to that which may be inferred from the nature of the thing leased, according to the custom of the place; (3) to pay expenses for the deed of lease (Article 1657, New Civil Code of the Philippines).

Insofar as the lessor is concerned, he is obliged: (1) to deliver the thing which is the object of your contract in such a condition as to render it fit for the use intended; (2) to make all the necessary repairs, during the subsistence of the contract, in order to keep it suitable for the use to which it has been devoted, unless there is a stipulation to the contrary; and (3) to maintain the lessee in the peaceful and adequate enjoyment of the thing leased for the entire duration of the contract (Article 1654, id).

Should either the lessor or the lessee fail to comply with what is incumbent upon them, the aggrieved party may ask for the rescission of the contract of lease and indemnification for damages, or allow the contract to remain in force but seek for indemnification for damages he has incurred (Article 1659, id). Furthermore, the lessee has the option of suspending the payment of his rent if the lessor fails to make the necessary repairs or to maintain the lessee in peaceful and adequate enjoyment of the property leased. (Article 1658, id)

Applying the foregoing in your case, we submit that you have the right to withhold or suspend the payment of your rent since your landlord clearly refuses to make the repairs needed in the house you are leasing. As earlier stated, it is your landlord’s obligation to make all the necessary repairs during the subsistence of the contract. He cannot impose on you to shoulder the expenses, unless both of you have agreed that the same shall be your responsibility.

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.

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