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Philippines Custom on Rental Deposits


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Headed that way

What is the custom on rental deposits in the Philippines?   I think I managed to find a dishonest landlord (yeah, I've read the horror stories about landlords in the Philippines, not a lot different that the crooked ones in the U.S.) and I need to form a plan to deal with this.  Here are the details:

 

September 15th, contacted potential landlord at vacant condo up North of Clark on Luzon.   Dozens of units empty and for rent in the complex, this one responded quicker, offering the unit over the phone for 4000 pesos per month with association fees included.  Wants one month advance rent and one months rent deposit.

 

She shows up the same day, changes her deal, two months at 4000 and then she wants me to pick up the association fees each month (350 pesos).  Yeah, red flag but I figured it was a kano tax.

 

We told her that we want to start renting on November 1st.   She isn't happy, wants rent to start immediately.  I firmly said no and offered to pay the initial 4000 pesos deposit that day and the other 4000 pesos on November 1st.  I asked about refunding the deposit, she said that it would be returned in full if all utility bills were paid.  She wanted the utilities in her name and I understand that if the bills aren't paid they can be held against the homeowner or property.   She agrees to start rent on November 1st and gives us a receipt for the 4000 peso deposit but she wants to keep the key until we pay the advance month rent.  No problem, we agree.  Have no use for it till November 1st.

 

Three other witnesses present.  All agree that it was clear, refundable deposit if utilities were paid up when we moved and rent starts on November 1st.

 

So today my gf and other friends there meet the landlord lady and all of a sudden I was expected to pay rent on October 15th!     Not only that but since another two weeks had gone by she wanted another 2000 pesos.   Gf reported that  the landlady "gave us discount" by not charging us the 2000 pesos but that our initial deposit was "consumed" by the September 15th to October 15th "rent".  When we didn't have a key.....

 

Landlady presents an unsigned lease saying that the 4000 pesos deposit is non refundable and to be used for unpaid utility bills after we left.  Gf doesn't sign the lease, landlady wants to pick up the lease after I sign it (LOL, what an optimist!) in a few weeks when I visit again.   We get a receipt for the 4000 pesos rent payment with the receipt and the contract saying that rent starts November 1st.

 

After hearing this I get my friend on Skype and his wife finds the receipt from September.  Just says 4000 deposit on such and such unit.  Gf texts landlady, telling her that I want to speak to her, asking for an email address.   Landlady agrees to provide one after her son wakes up, she doesn't have email.  She knows what she did because  she texts back saying that the initial 4000 pesos was a "reservation fee" and that it is "consumed".  Says she will not ask for a  deposit, just the advance rent that she had already been given.

 

Gf is mortified of course, go along, such a nice lady giving us discount.  LOL Typical Filipina no confrontation please.

 

 

So needing some ideas on how to handle this from the experienced members.

 

What I am thinking about doing is very nicely restating our agreement and asking if there is some misunderstanding on her part or perhaps if my gf didn't understand.   Yeah, right, she is a crook, just trying to provide a face saving way out for her.  Then wait a few days for a reply.

 

If she won't honor her original agreement then the plan is to occupy the condo after taking tons of photographs to document the condition, stay there for two months while we find another condo, not signing the lease of course with the crooked landlord.  Taking a chance because the lady is an obvious crook but the alternative is to walk away from 8000 pesos or take the shafting now and expect more to come.

 

Another option is to have my friend find a local attorney and have him write her a nice letter asking her to honor the original agreement, providing a lease for her to sign, one that is crafted to protect me of course.  Or offering to return the key upon her refunding our 8000 pesos less any accrued rent at a daily rate prorated from the monthly rent.

 

In the mean time if I understand Philippines law, we have possession, the rent is paid up for two months (unsigned lease) and we have every right to occupy it till then.

 

I've told the gf not to respond to the landlady other than saying to contact me, gf already sent her my email address.

 

Thoughts?   The money isn't as important as rewarding bad behavior.   I'd spend twenty times that defending principle.

Edited by Headed that way
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SomeRandomGuy

u got a condo for 4000 peso's a month?

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If money is not the object and you want to attempt to win your battle, see a lawyer and start the process. My guess is that you not come out any better or worse than you are now. I doubt you will have success. You risk losing what you have spent and will have lawyer costs.

 

I know members will make arguments about the various legal merits of the case. From what I could understand of the situation, this is not so much a matter of legal issues as it is a negotiation that has not worked as you expected. Bait and switch comes to mind.

 

If money is not an object, let her screw you and move in and move on.

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A_Simple_Man

I am not sure who 'introduced' you to this rental unit but I will bet he/she is 4,000 pesos richer.  Its the way things are done her.  Let us know if you change that.

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Headed that way

Money isn't an object in that I'd spend twenty times that teaching her a lesson.   Maybe she would think twice before screwing the next renter.

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Headed that way

Good point but no introduction from anyone.  The condo's have signs in the windows with phone numbers.  We texted or called a half dozen, this one was wanted to rent more than the others so she responded quicker.

 

now we know why.  She probably does this several times a month. LOL

 

Yeah, 4000 per month.  Some as low as 3800.  There are hundreds of vacant ones.  Some sold several times to different people and are tied up in court to determine who actually owns the unit.  Some are repossessed by banks.  About half of the units are empty.  Small two bedroom, two story condos.  Gated community with armed guards 24/7, nice pool, school right outside the gate, lots of local businesses right out side the gate including a nice grocery store.

 

Is a barangay captain of any use in such a situation?  The landlord doesn't live here, but North an hour or so.

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She shows up the same day, changes her deal, two months at 4000 and then she wants me to pick up the association fees each month (350 pesos).  Yeah, red flag but I figured it was a kano tax.

You said there were "dozens of units empty and for rent in the complex", why didn't you walk away right then and there BEFORE giving her money. That was your mistake. If I were you I would forget the 8k and move on. Lesson learned, hopefully.

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mikejwoodnz

 

 

Yeah, 4000 per month.  Some as low as 3800.  There are hundreds of vacant ones.  Some sold several times to different people and are tied up in court to determine who actually owns the unit.  Some are repossessed by banks.  About half of the units are empty.  Small two bedroom, two story condos.  Gated community with armed guards 24/7, nice pool, school right outside the gate, lots of local businesses right out side the gate including a nice grocery store.  

 

sounds good where do I look to sign up ?

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Money isn't an object in that I'd spend twenty times that teaching her a lesson.

 

So 8000 is about $200.

 

And your prepared to spend $4000 to teach a lesson?

 

I have this friend who is a great lawyer...

 

When can you have the $4000 ready....

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Monsoon

Well, your splitting 'c*nt' hairs here. First of all, your entering into an unwritten contract. Second, you are rushing to complete a deal. Both of those are recipe for disaster in the Philippines. Embrace the fact you are  lucky enough to have done this over pocket change. 

 

As for teaching lessons, you will waste your time and more of your money trying to do so in any court. The only way you could achieve any sort of victory is if you are connected in that area of the country where this happened to you. I will assume you are not since you were bamboozled. While I empathize with your inner desire to seek retribution for a moral wrong, let me suggest you take half of whatever money you would be willing to spend on that action and put it towards something much more fruitful - such as feeding/schooling/clothing a few unfortunate children. IN the end you will gain much more satisfaction from the results - because let me tell you, you will get NO results from seeking legal remedies in your case. 

 

So, what can be learned and what would I have done differently? 

 

First of all, when renting anything in the Philippines - do not pay anything or enter into any agreement without confirming and meeting the actual, true owner of such property. Perhaps you did in this case, Im not sure. But that is my first advice for anyone in these situations. You will find that very often there are 'agents' involved in these transactions. And these agents have only one interest in mind - collecting their commission. That commission comes from you. Don't accept any excuses for not meeting with the owner. I have rented property from very wealthy and powerful people in the past, and I always met with them. Trust me, they have time  for this - its the Filipino way. Don't accept any answer from an agent that says you can't meet with the owner, especially if you are about to sign a contract. In one case I rented a house from someone who was living in Switzerland, the sister was representing the deal, and guess what? She had power of attorney to rent the house! This is called making sure everything is in order! Getting your shit together!  Trust me, you don't want a landlord that doesn't take the time to meet with you. Hell, Im thinking back now on some of the landlords I've had - and there have been some very wealthy / busy / powerful people, but they always took the time to meet me and discuss things with me. Agents in the Philippines are nothing more than glorified gophers. treat them as such. 

 

I am currently in a situation with one of my properties where I may evict a tenant because of a mistake made by an agent. The agent screwed up, but the tenant will suffer. Its just how it works here in the Philippines. If the owner doesn't give the agent power of attorney then the agent has absolutely no  right to act on  behalf of the owner and anything they do is not binding on the owner. Thats the type of situation I'm dealing with now and I am trying to be a gentleman and offering the tenant the chance to comply with my terms. But if they don't, its not my problem. 

 

Next, as mentioned, don't rush into anything. As you said there are many other units available there. The type of Filipino you want as a landlord doesn't rush into anything. they are attentive and cautious. It means they care about their property which means they will be a good landlord so long as you are a good tenant. So if you are actually talking to the owner, and they are that pushy then the hairs on your neck should have stood up and told you something is wrong. 

 

Dont ever be rushed into any deal in the Philippines. Whether it is renting, buying, ordering dinner, deciding if you will stay in a hotel, or even taking a piss for that matter. Do it all cautiously and on your own terms. 

Edited by Monsoon
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smokey

Money isn't an object in that I'd spend twenty times that teaching her a lesson.   Maybe she would think twice before screwing the next renter.

her learn  a lesson  ha ha ha .... leopard can not change its spots 

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Headed that way

sounds good where do I look to sign up ?

 

Just North of Clark Free Port Zone.  Private message me and I'll give you the details.

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You're having problems with this landlord now before you even move in. What makes you think she'll be any different after you move in? You said there's lots of other units with different owners. If I were you I would ditch this bitch and move on to somebody else.

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Headed that way

you are correct of course, but we have possession of the property and receipts showing that 8000 pesos have been paid.  no reason not to use the property while we are searching for another condo.  We took a lot of photos...

 

And who knows, maybe the greedy woman will rethink her position.   interestingly enough she did respond, claimed two different things, that the 4000 pesos were a 'reservation fee' and also claimed that she applied the 4000 to rent for the six weeks that she had the key to building and neither I nor the gf were within 500 miles of the place.  Strangely enough she is saying that our next month's rent is due on December 1st and that she will gladly refund any security deposit as long as there are no unpaid utility bills at the end of the rental period.  in one paragraph she says we owe November rent because the 4000 we paid was another security deposit after our initial deposit had been "consumed" and the next paragraph she is acting like she is sticking to our original deal.   Might be a face saving thing or she just might be that confused.

 

But the question that remains unanswered is if the barangay captain will get involved.     i'm leaning toward just starting to look for another condo, burning up the two months rent in the process, not signing the lease of course.  With three witnesses stating that she is not honoring her agreement and receipts showing payment for two months there isn't a lot that she can do.  I hope....

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Skywalker

I would be very careful with a Barangay Captain, and I would suggest that you make enquiries first.  Some of these Captains will not see it in their remit to treat you, a foreigner, with equal respect.  I am choosing my words very carefully.

 

But at least it has been a learning curve.  And you still have the upper hand.

 

It seems that she wasn't expecting you to stand up to her, and she may well be looking for a way to come out of this not looking like the scumbag that you are suggesting she is.

 

Get your girlfriend to help you, she's smart (you said) and if she can't help, she must know someone who can perhaps make the old woman see sense?

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