Congress eyes body to regulate rent

Published by rudy Date posted on January 29, 2009

Congress is looking at the possibility of setting up a regulatory body that will have jurisdiction over the rental housing sector to protect the rights of the renting public as well as lessors, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

Zubiri is urging the House of Representatives to prioritize the passage of a new law on rent control.

“This new rent control law will protect at least 1.56 million families who pay monthly rent of P10,000 and below. They comprise 97.5 percent of the total 1.6 million families who rent nationwide. This latest data revealed that we have an increasing number of families who are renting.”

He pointed out that when they crafted Republic Act 9341 in 2005, only 1.512 families were renting of which 83 percent or 1.24 million families were paying a monthly rent of P10,000 or below.

Zubiri stressed that in Metro Manila, at least 639,000 families will directly benefit from this law once approved.

“This law determines the difference between a sleepless night thinking of tomorrow’s rent or having to sleep without a roof over their head. If rents skyrocket, many may be forced to become homeless or move out to very inconvenient housing facilities, or the slums.”

He revealed that developers belonging to the National Real Estate Association (NREA) and the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association SHDA) have expressed their agreement to his bill protecting the rights of renters and owners.

Zubiri said Section 7 (Grounds for Judicial Ejectment) was “an input from the affected sectors such as developers and owners of residential units for rent.”

“Location is critical in deciding to rent. Most of the socialized and low-cost housing projects are too far from the jobs here in Metro Manila. That’s why many decide to rent even if they own homes in Cavite or Laguna to save on transportation expenses,” he said.

He added that aside from the provision on the rent increase cap, they will now determine if this will be a permanent rent control law which will also pave the way for the creation of a body with powers and functions over the residential rental sector.

Zubiri also noted that the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) may be tasked to take charge of the law. “We may grant it some enforcement powers since monitoring and enforcement is crucial. They may even have quasi-judicial powers,” he said.

The senator stressed that he was willing to sponsor Senate Bill 2884 and defend it as Sen. Biazon announced during the hearing that he may seek to inhibit himself during the plenary debate.–Mary Ann Ll. Reyes, Philippine Star

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