I have been renting an apartment for three months now. We don’t have a contract of lease. We also don’t have an agreement as to the duration of the rent.
I am religiously paying our monthly rent, and I don’t have any arrears. Can the owner of the apartment legally evict me from the apartment even if I have no arrears in rent?
In the lease of things or properties, a person, called the lessor, binds himself to give to another the enjoyment or use of a thing for a price certain and for a period, which may be definite or indefinite (Article 1643, Civil Code of the Philippines). An agreement to lease is a consensual contract which is perfected from the moment there is a meeting of minds between the lessor and the lessee as to the property to be rented and the amount of rent to be paid. It may be oral or in writing.
From your narration, it is clear that you have an oral contract of lease with no definite period. In which case, the provision of Article 1687 of the Civil Code of the Philippines shall apply, to wit:
Article 1687. If the period for the lease has not been fixed, it is understood to be from year to year, if the rent agreed upon is annual; from month to month, if it is monthly; from week to week, if the rent is weekly; and from day to day, if the rent is to be paid daily. However, even though a monthly rent is paid, and no period for the lease has been set, the courts may fix a longer term for the lease after the lessee has occupied the premises for over one year. If the rent is weekly, the courts may likewise determine a longer period after the lessee has been in possession for over six months. In case of daily rent, the courts may also fix a longer period after the lessee has stayed in the place for over one month.
Since you are paying your rent on a monthly basis, the period of your rent is considered to be from month to month only. This means that your right to occupy the leased apartment expires at the end of every month. Upon the expiration of the term of your lease, the owner of the apartment has the option to either renew your oral contract of lease by allowing you to stay further in his premises or not renew the same by compelling you to leave the premises even if you have no arrears in rent.
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 email@example.com