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On July 14, 2009, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law the Rent Control Act of 2009 supposedly meant to protect millions of Filipinos renting houses.

Republic Act (RA) 9653, “An Act Establishing Reforms in the Regulation of Rent of Certain Residential Units, Providing the Mechanisms Therefore and For Other Purposes,” effectively extended the old Rent Control law (RA 9341) that expired on December 31, 2008.

Here is a summary of the important provisions of this new law.

Salient Provisions of the new Rent Control Act

  • 1. The law covers all residential units in Metro Manila with rent of one peso (P1.00) to ten thousand pesos (P10,000) per month and all units in other urban cities with rent of P1 to P5,000 per month.
  • 2. Rented units which are used as motels, motel rooms, hotels and hotel rooms are not covered. Units under the rent-to-own scheme are also not covered.
  • 3. There is a one-year moratorium on rent increases from the time the law takes effect, meaning, from 2009 until 2010, there should be no increases in the rent prices of affected units.
  • 4. From 2010 until December 31, 2013, the increase in rent should not be more than 7% percent annually.
  • 5. Boarding houses, dormitories, rooms and bedspaces offered for rent to students can only increase their rents once a year.
  • 6. Owners of residential units cannot demand more than one-month advance rent and more than two-months deposit.
  • 7. Violators face a fine of P25,000 to P50,000, or imprisonment of one month and a day up to six months, or both.

Although the law is commendable, we believe its effectiveness may be hampered because of three things:

First, tenants must be made aware that such a law exists so that they will know their rights.

Second, tenants who may have complaints about their landlors must know the proper avenue where they can air their grievance.

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Lastly, complaints must be dealt with swiftly and properly so that justice will be served for both the landlord and tenant.

We hope the law will really benefit millions of Filipino families still renting houses.

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