House to act swiftly on Rent Control Law extension

Published by rudy Date posted on March 17, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – The leadership of the House of Representatives yesterday vowed to act swiftly on the bill extending the Rent Control Act once Congress resumes session next month.

Speaker Prospero Nograles said in a statement that they will work for the “swift but comprehensive plenary debate and subsequent passage of the proposed Rent Control Act of 2009.”

He said this is one way by which Congress, whose Lenten break will end on April 13, can help protect the millions of low-income Filipino families who have been forced to rent due to the high cost of living. He vows to provide safety nets to the measure.

“We cannot let our people down. The poor are the most vulnerable sector,” Nograles said, vowing to lead the “House of the People” in introducing policy reforms and social legislation.

He noted the diligence and swift action by the House committee on housing and urban development chaired by Rep. Rodolfo Valencia, who will defend committee report 1868 on House Bill 6098 in plenary next month.

HB 6098 is authored by Nograles, with Valencia, Reps. Raul del Mar, Pablo Garcia, Eduardo Gullas, Ramon Durano VI, Pedro Romualdo, Teodoro Casiño, Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano, Liza Maza, Luzviminda Ilagan, Edgar Chatto and Eufrocino Codilla Sr.

Party-list representatives Casiño, Ocampo, Maza, Ilagan and Mariano are pushing for a new rent control law that would freeze rentals of low-end residential units for the next two years.

The militant lawmakers want a two-year moratorium on any rent increases for residential units not exceeding P15,000 a month in Metro Manila and P8,000 a month in other parts of the country.

The proposed bill seeks to replace the Rent Control Act of 2005, which expired on Dec. 31, 2008.

Casiño said the expiration of the old law would adversely affect 1.54 million families living in rented houses, thus the need for new legislation.

“The state has to act to protect these families from higher and unreasonable rental payments at this time when we are feeling the adverse effects of the global economic recession,” the Bayan Muna congressman said.

“Everyday, businesses are closing down, workers are being laid off, wages are being cut. Families will find it hard to pay their rent, much more any increases in rent,” he added.

He said the State should intervene at this time in order to protect the interest of low-income families and individuals who still rent.

“This is more concrete than the Arroyo government’s imagined P330-billion stimulus package that has proven to be nothing but a pack of empty promises,” Casiño added.

Nograles said the proposed rent control extension law seeks to promote affordable housing for those in the lower income brackets and other beneficiaries who cannot afford to purchase a house of their own.

“It also aims to regulate the rental of residential units to protect tenants from unreasonable rent increases,” he added.

Under HB 6098, the rent on any residential unit covered shall not be increased for a period of one year from its effectivity.

After the one-year period, however, the lessor may impose an increase of four percent annually for three years as long as the same lessee occupies the unit.

When the unit becomes vacant, the lessor may set the initial rent for the next lessee except in the case of boarding houses, dormitories, rooms, and bed spaces offered for rent to students where the rent shall not be increased more than once per year.- Delon Porcalla, Philippine Star

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