Non-paying tenant can be legally ejected

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I’d like to ask about how we can eject our tenant who has been renting a unit in our building .Our rent contract expired about six months ago and she is behind her rent payment for eight months already. On top of this, she has not settled her utility bills and she even dug a hole in the floor without our permission. Is it legal to use her advance rent and deposit for these? Please advise us on what we can do about this? More power!
Yoel

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Dear Yoel,
The law that is applicable to your concern is Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9653, known as the Rent Control Act of 2009. This law provides for the mechanisms in regulating rent of residential units.

According to this law, your tenant’s failure to settle her utility bills and the damage she caused to your property will result in the forfeiture of her advance deposit which will be used to pay for her unsettled obligations and damages she incurred. The law provides that:

“In the event however, that the lessee failed to settle rent, electric, telephone, water or such other utility bills, or destroys any house components and accessories, the deposits and interest therein shall be forfeited in favor of the latter in the amount commensurate to the pecuniary damage done by the former.” (Section 7, R.A. No. 9653)

It is also clear from your narration that you can judicially eject your tenant for her failure to pay rent. Under Section 9 of R.A. No. 9653, arrears in payment of rent for a total of three months are among the grounds for the judicial ejectment of the lessees. Since you mentioned that your lessee is already eight months behind in her rental payments, you may already file an ejectment suit against your lessee. Furthermore, the expiration of the lease contract with your tenant is another legal ground to judicially eject her since the agreed period of her lease has already ended.

Lastly, with regard to the venue of the filing of an ejectment case, the law provides that unless otherwise stipulated, actions for ejectment for unlawful detainer shall be commenced in the municipal trial court which has jurisdiction over the place where the subject residential unit is located.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

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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