On a blog comment that was left yesterday, the commenter (Jerry) said that he is looking to rent a place in Davao and only needs it for around 6 months or so. However, everyplace where he goes wants a one year lease. He needs a place, but doesn’t plan to be in the country for a year! What can he do.
Well, actually, he can do something fairly simple, and not too expensive either, and his problem will be solved.
It is true, most landlords here in Davao require that you sign a lease for one year. No way around that, unless you are just able to negotiate that away. However, every lease contract that I have seen in the Philippines states that if you decide to leave before the lease expires, you lose your deposit. Nothing else. So, let’s say that you are paying P10,000 per month for the rent. Normally, landlords ask for 2 months deposit, so you put P20,000 down as a deposit. If you leave after 6 months, you just forfeit the P20,000 and you are free to walk. No hard feelings. The landlord will probably even be happy, because he can rent the place again, and gets to keep the deposit free and clear.
Sometimes the landlord will ask for more than 2 months deposit. If he does, negotiate! I have always been able to get them down to two months deposit, no more. Some landlords will also as for twelve post-dated checks for the rent. Just tell him that you are a foreigner and don’t have a Philippine bank account, so you can’t issue him checks, in every case where I have tried this, the post dated checks have been waived. And, yes… by the way, post dated checks are legal (and standard) here. In a lot of cases, if you buy something on time, they will demand that you pay all the payments with post dated checks. Be careful… if one of those checks is deposited, and you don’t have funds in the bank to cover the cost, you can go to jail for that. It’s called “estafa”.
Keep another thing in mind when renting – as a foreigner, you are much sought after! I have had many landlords tell me that they really prefer to rent to foreigners, because they generally take better care of the place, and also, they generally have enough money to pay the rent without hassles. Use the fact that you are a foreigner as a bargaining chip!
Good luck on finding the dream rental that you have been looking for!