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  • Writer's pictureZiggurat Realestatecorp

Repossession by a lessor

The lessor can take possession of a leased property, considering the lessor has an agreement to that effect with the lessee.

In the case of Cresencio Viray and Benjamin D. De Asis v. Hon. Intermediate Appellate Court and Rustico Victor (GR 81015, July 4, 1991), penned by Chief Justice Andres de la Rosa Narvasa, the Supreme Court ruled that a stipulation in a lease agreement that authorizes the lessor to take possession of the leased premises extra-judicially (even without court action) is valid and binding, viz:

"The lease having thus been licitly terminated, the lessee, Rustico Victor, and his sons became obliged to surrender the leased apartment to the lessor. They did not. They stayed away from the place and did not show up during the repossession undertaken by the lessor, announced in advance through the posting of another notice on the door of the apartment.

"What the Victors eventually did was to bring a forcible entry suit against De Asis on the theory that the stipulation in the lease contract authorizing repossession by the lessor without court action was void as contrary to public policy, and De Asis had perpetrated the legally proscribed act of taking the law into his own hands.

"The stipulation referred to does by its terms empower the lessor to repossess the apartment extrajudicially. It states that —

"7. Upon failure of the Lessee to comply with any of the terms and conditions of this lease, as well as such other terms and conditions which may be imposed by the Lessor prior to and/or upon renewal of this lease agreement as provided in par. 2 above, then the Lessor shall have the right, upon five (5) days written notice to the Lessee or in his absence, upon written notice posted at the entrance of the premises leased, to enter and take possession of the said premises holding in his trust and custody and such possessions and belongings of the Lessee found therein after an inventory of the same in the presence of a witness, all these acts being hereby agreed to by the Lessee as tantamount to his voluntary vacation of the leased premises without the necessity of suit in court.

"It is noteworthy that in an earlier case decided in 1975, Consing v. Jamandre, this Court sustained the validity of a substantially identical condition in a written lease agreement, which read as follows:

"9. That in case of the failure on the part of the SUB-LESSEE to comply with any of the terms and conditions thereof, the SUB-LESSEE hereby gives an authority to the SUB-LESSOR or to any of his authorized representatives to take possession of the leased premises, including all its improvements thereon without compensation to the SUB-LESSEE and without necessity of resorting to any court action but in which case the SUB-LESSEE shall be duly advised in writing of her failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the contract by way of reminder before the takeover.

"This Court ruled that the stipulation 'is in the nature of a resolutory condition, for upon the exercise by the Sub-lessor of his right to take possession of the leased property, the contract is deemed terminated;' and that such a contractual provision 'is not illegal, there being nothing in the law prescribing such kind of agreement."

Accordingly, where a similar provision exists in the lease agreement, the lessor is authorized to take possession of the leased premises even without filing a case in court.

This, however, is still subject to any other provisions stipulated in their lease agreement.

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