Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Rent control deemed extended
MANILA-Senators yesterday hailed a resolution adopted by a housing agency chaired by Vice President Jejomar Binay to extend the Rent Control Act by two years to Dec. 31, 2015.
The move by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council to extend the life of Republic Act 9653, which is to expire at the end of the year, was learned in yesterday’s hearing by the Senate Committee on Housing on a bill seeking the same purpose.
Bill author Sen. Ralph Recto said HUDCC is authorized under Section 6 of RA 9635 “to continue the regulation of rental of certain residential units including subsequent extensions and even the adjustment of the yearly rate increase.”
Recto described the HUDCC resolution of Dec. 16, 2014 as the “fast-track mode” of extending the Rent Control Act.
“The slow-track, of course, is through legislation. But there is one convincing school of thought which believes that such is no longer needed once HUDCC exercises the authority delegated to it by RA 9653 to extend its effectivity,” Recto said.
The housing body’s move, Recto said, “was in exercise of its mandate and an implementation of a specific command of the law.”
But to stamp the HUDCC resolution with a “congressional seal of approval,” Recto said what Congress can do “is pass a resolution expressing its conformity.”
HUDCC officials who attended yesterday’s meeting chaired by Sen. JV Ejercito conveyed Binay’s request for a congressional resolution to validate and strengthen HUDCC’s move.
Saying “there is no harm in redundancy,” Recto supported Binay’s request while insisting “that the extension should not be contingent upon the passage of the requested congressional resolution.
With RA 9653’s looming expiration, Recto filed last month a bill extending its life to 2017.
Under the bill, the rent on a dwelling cannot be increased by more than seven percent annually, provided it is occupied by the same lessee and the monthly rent is not more than P10,000 if in Metro Manila and P5,000 if located in areas outside of it.
A dwelling is defined as a house, apartment unit, condominium, boarding house, room, dormitory unit, and even a bed space.
Recto said his bill will not dampen the investments needed to reduce the housing backlog as residential units leased for more than P10,000 a month in NCR and P5,000 in areas outside of it are exempt.
“Units being rented above the said amounts are deregulated,” he said.
“We are only protecting the middle class and the poor and not some rich guy who has the money to rent a Forbes Park mansion,” Recto said.
A 2010 government survey showed that there were 2,448,778 families who lived in rented units.
For these lessees, “rent accounts for 13 percent of the average household income, ranking next to food and ahead of education and health.”
“Rent control is a mechanism that ensures affordable housing in the Philippines. It also safeguards qualified lessees from arbitrary rent increases and corollary ejection,” Recto said.
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