Rent Control Law Signed

Article excerpt

Seeking to provide a financial security blanket to about 1.55 million low income tenants, President Arroyo Tuesday signed the Rent Control Act of 2009 or Republic Act 9653 that puts caps on rental hikes.In a simple ceremony at Malacañang’s Rizal Hall, President signed the new rent control law that effectively extended the old law that expired last Dec. 31.Among those who witnessed the signing were Vice President Noli de Castro, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and House Speaker Prospero Nograles, who co-authored the law.“The significance of the rent control (bill) that was just signed by the President into law is somehow help to our lesser privileged citizens so that they will not bear the burden of uncontrollable increases in rentals,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita Rent control law signed said in an interview.A consolidation of Senate Bill 3163 and House Bill 6098, RA 9341 sets a one-year moratorium on rent increases in houses, apartments and other residential units including boarding houses, dormitories, rooms and bed space covered by the law.After the one-year moratorium, the law sets a cap of seven percent in rent increases per year until the end of December 2013.R.A. 9653, or “An Act Establishing Reforms in the Regulation of Rent of Certain Residential Units, Providing the Mechanisms Therefore and For Other Purposes,” retains many of the salient provisions of the previous Rent Control Law which expired last Dec. 31, 2008.These include the rent units from P1 to P10,000 for Metro Manila and other highly-urbanized cities, and P1 to P5,000 for all other areas.However, rented units which are used as motels, motel rooms, hotels and hotel rooms are not covered.De Castro said the new law brings “much-needed relief” to housing tenants “and this is very much in the same vein as our recent reforms in the housing sector, especially in the Home development Mutual Fund (HDMF), to lower housing loans interest rates in order to bring down the monthly amortizations.”According to De Castro the new law “complements the government’s efforts to ensure affordable housing, especially for those who are earning less.”“This brings much-needed relief to housing tenants during this time of crisis. The bottomline is to keep families’ monthly expenses for housing low, so that they still have money for other needs,” the Vice President said in a statement.“This is very much in the same vein as our recent reforms in the housing sector, especially in the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), to lower housing loans interest rates in order to bring down the monthly amortizations,” he added.Zubiri, principal author of measure in the Senate, said the new law would protect over 1.5 million households, as well as those renting rooms and bed spaces in dormitories and are exposed to possible abuse by property owners.He said, “We have enacted into laws the Socialized and Low-Cost Housing Loan Restructuring Program; the Cheaper Medicines Act; Amendment to PSIC Charter or increasing the insurance on deposits by P500,000. The new Salary Standardization law and other similar laws which would help alleviate the sufferings and difficulties of our people in these hard and tying times,’’ he said,“That is why in the new Rent Control law, we even reduced the annual rate of increase of rent from the previous 10 percent to only seven percent,” he said. …