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You might be violating your lease with these four statements | MyProperty.ph
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You might be violating your lease with these four statements

by Jillian CariolaPublished: October 18, 2017Updated: October 19, 2017

Keep your lease agreement in mind before hanging up that family photo; you may be violating your lease without knowing it.

Rental property lease violations MyProperty Philippines Man blowing whistle

More often than not, lease agreements for a rental house, condo, or apartment are long and winding, even boring. You might be tempted to just skim down to the part that notes how much rent is and how long your lease will last before signing it. This would be a monumental mistake. There are a lot more things that the lease discusses that you need to pay attention to; it is, after all, a legal document that contains a lot of dos and don’ts you and the landlord have already discussed and then some. As long as your landlord is fair and acting in accordance with the law, they will be basing much of their policies on the points listed in Republic Act No. 9653, or the Rent Control Act of 2009 (An Act Establishing Reforms in the Regulation of Rent of Certain Residential Units, Providing the Mechanisms Therefor and for Other Purposes).

Enacted by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), R.A. 9653 contains all of the legal aspects of renting a residential property in the Philippines, from the amount of security deposit the landlord can charge (two months’ worth, FYI) to the reasons they are allowed to evict a tenant. HUDCC regularly reviews the Act and its effectiveness in regulating the rental market in order to determine if continued regulation is needed. As of late, it has been extended until the end of 2017.

If you don’t read and understand your lease carefully, you will be at risk of unknowingly violating your lease, which can result in not just in a bad landlord–tenant relationship but legal ramifications as well. The smallest concern can get you into trouble, so before you utter the following sentences, have a second look at your lease.

 

“This framed photo of us will be perfect hanging in the living room.”

Any tenant would love to make their rental feel more like home. Unfortunately, if the lease has rules against any and all home improvement efforts, something as tiny as pounding a nail in the wall to hang a picture will be considered a violation if your landlord has a rule against any form of renovation. Also, under Section 7 of the Rent Control Act, a tenant cannot get the deposit back if he or she “destroys any house components or accessories.” Even if the lease allows some changes, make sure that you inform your landlord beforehand; you and he may have different opinions about what is considered a minor or major improvement.

Rental property lease violations MyProperty Philippines Man drilling wall
Put down the drill and ask your landlord if you can make changes first. Photo via Depositphotos

“Sure, you can stay for a while until you find a new place to live.”

It’s not that you’re not allowed to have overnight guests, but a guest can only stay for so long before he’s considered a tenant, which is a big violation of your lease. The main issue is that you are not allowed to sublease the unit unless you have written consent from the landlord, as stipulated in Section 8 of the Rent Control Act. Unauthorized subleasing is grounds for judicial ejectment, so even if you are renting a flat with more than enough space for you and your friend, be sure to ask permission from your landlord first so you aren’t usurping their power over the rental. The landlord will then add your friend’s name onto the lease agreement so that asking them for their share of the rent will not be difficult.

Rental property lease violations MyProperty Philippines Sleeping man with popcorn
Is this a sleepover or a permanent arrangement? Photo via Depositphotos

“She told me she paid her half of the rent.”

Just because your roommate or housemate gave you her word doesn’t mean that she’ll come through. Because the two of you are jointly responsible for paying the rent, the landlord can hold you accountable for her failure to come up with her share. Section 9 of R.A. 9653 counts delinquency in monthly payments as one of the grounds for eviction if your payment is delayed for three months.  Before your roommate takes her long, long trip to the United States, ask her for her share (or shares, depending on the length of time she will be gone) of the rent or for proof that she has given her share directly to the landlord ahead of time. Even if you have an emergency fund, it may not be enough to cover both your shares if you decide to do so until her return.

Rental property lease violations MyProperty Philippines Man piggy bank coins
You can't always cover for your roommate. Photo via Depositphotos

“Come on over; I can babysit your cat for a few hours.”

You don’t have a pet, so you have no problem with the landlord’s strict “no pets” policy. Still, you have to warn family and friends against bringing their pets over even for a short time; a short visit from a friend with a puppy in tow is still a lease violation. There may not be a specific rule laid out in the Act regarding pets, but since you agreed to abide by the landlord’s rules about having no animals in the property in the first place, it’s only proper that you respect the agreement by following it. It may not just be that they don’t like dogs or cats, but perhaps they are doing it for other reasons, such as a precautionary measure due to the presence of very young children in the neighborhood or apartment complex, or someone living there with a severe allergic reaction. Before you think about sneaking in a pet, consider this, too: any irreparable damage your furry pal will cause to the apartment will count against your chances of getting your deposit back.

Rental property lease violations MyProperty Philippines Kitten in washing machine with towel
Some landlords are just not pet people. Photo via Depositphotos

 

Penalties resulting in the violation of any provision of the Act are not to be taken lightly. One can be charged a fine between Php25,000 and Php50,000; or a prison term between 1 month plus 1 day and 6 months; or both.

The lease agreement is not just a way to ensure the landlord gets what they want, but should also contain clauses that protect your best interests, which is why it is necessary for you to read it thoroughly before signing it. Keep in mind that the Rent Control Act of 2009 is also written up in order to defend your rights as a renter from abusive landlords, so be sure to give this law a good read to check if the landlord is following their responsibilities as well.

 

Main photo via Depositphotos

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