Unlawful Detainer and the failure to pay rent

Welcome to another issue of Filipino Homes Magazine! As your resident lawyer, I now present to you another case to widen our knowledge with real estate.

This case I will present to you involves the issue of an unlawful detainer. So sit back, relax and enjoy this story.

Supposing that A leases an apartment from B, the owner.  In short, A is the lessee while B is the lessor. A is a beautiful lady who always pays her rent to B on time. A never pays late. One day, B asked A to go out on a date with him which A accepted. After a month of dating, they have decided to make it exclusive and their relationship blossomed into love. A stopped paying the rent for her apartment which B tolerated.

Since A believe that nothing lasts forever, A and B’s relationship quickly turned sour which eventually led to a break-up. A was so heartbroken that she wasn’t able to go to work for four months. B started to charge A for rent since they are back into being lessor-lessee relationship. A started paying her rent every 15th day of the month since their break-up.

However, A’s depression over their break-up caused he to go shopping everyday which led to her huge credit card bills. Because of that, A wasn’t able to pay the rent for four consecutive months. B on the other hand demands that A pay her rent and to vacate the apartment she is leasing from B. A never paid the rent despite receiving a demand letter to pay and to vacate from B.

What is the legal action of B against A?

B can file a case for unlawful detainer against his ex-girlfriend A.

In the case of Spouses Alejandro Manzanilla and Remedios Velasco vs. Waterfields Industries Corporation [G.R. No.177484 (July 18, 2014)], the Supreme Court, citing Fideldia v. Sps. Mulato [586 Phil. 1 (2008)], decided in this manner:

“For the purpose of bringing an unlawful detainer suit, two requisites must concur: (1) there must be failure to pay rent or comply with the conditions of the lease, and (2) there must be demand both to pay or to comply and vacate. The first requisite refers to the existence of the cause of action for unlawful detainer, while the second refers to the jurisdictional requirement of demand in order that said cause of action may be pursued. Implied in the first requisite, which is needed to establish the cause of action of the plaintiff in an unlawful detainer suit, is the presentation of the contract of lease entered into by the plaintiff and the defendant, the same being needed to establish the lease conditions alleged to have been violated. Thus, in Bachrach Corporation v. Court of Appeals, the Court held that the evidence needed to establish the cause of action in an unlawful detainer case is (1) a lease contract and (2) the violation of that lease by the defendant. 

“Here, there is no issue with respect to demand. What is in question is the presence of a cause of action. As mentioned above, courts, in order to ascertain whether there is cause of action for unlawful detainer, must inquire into (a) the existence of the lease contract and, (b) the violation of that lease by the lessee. Since in this case the existence of a lease contract between the parties is undisputed, the focus is on the supposed violation of the lease, that is, Waterfields’ alleged non-payment of rent. The basic question that thus presents itself for determination is: Did Waterfields fail to pay rent? The answer to this is crucial as from the same will depend the existence of the cause of action. However, since Waterfields denies that it failed to pay rent and puts up the claim that it was utilizing the rental deposit as rental payment, a preliminary question emerges, viz: May the rental deposit be utilized as rental payment?

“Accordingly, the MTC in resolving the case first determined if the July 9, 1997 letter operates as an amendment to the original contract. Finding in the affirmative, it declared that the rental deposit cannot be utilized as payment for the rentals in view of the said amendment. As things thus stood, the rental for the months of December 1997 to May 1998, as stated in the Complaint, remained unpaid. Clearly, there was failure on the part of Waterfields to pay rent and, consequently, it committed a violation of the lease. It is this violation which gave rise to a cause of action for unlawful detainer against Waterfields as well as to the right of the spouses Manzanilla to consider the contract terminated. And as the two requisites of an unlawful detainer suit are obtaining in this case, i.e., cause of action and demand, the MTC ultimately sustained the spouses Manzanilla’s Complaint. Finding this in order, the RTC affirmed in toto the MTC’s Decision.” 

I hope that this case has given you wisdom on our real estate practice and its corresponding applicable law. Until our next issue. God bless us all!


Your resident lawyer and real estate broker.
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