Prices range depending on the location within Manila. The most upscale areas in the city center have the most expensive real estate.
Average Rental per month:
The Philippines is one of the cheapest places to live in the world. Rents do decrease as you go farther from the city center.
Online search engines are one of the best ways to get an estimate of the current market and to track new properties.
Newspaper classifieds remain popular. Note that you should call ads that attract you immediately (within daytime hours) as good properties can go fast.
A real estate broker is a useful resource for finding the right place quickly. A good broker knows the legal pitfalls and has access to a variety of housing. A broker will provide you with a description of available properties, escort you to viewings and make sure your contract complies with expected standards.
Real estate brokers charge a fee if a suitable property is found. This fee is usually equivalent to a month's rent for a one year lease. As a common practice, every subsequent lease or renewal for another year will give the broker another 50% of a month's rental.
There are various agents in Manila. While it is easy to fund an agent to help you find a home, it is important to find the best agent possible. Ask your friends, family, and contacts in the city for recommendations or find recommendation on Easy Expat's forum and contact expats living in the Philippines.
You can find accredited brokers on this website: Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines.
It is always strongly recommended to visit the apartment before renting. This ensures you will be satisfied with the accommodations and able to abide by the contract. It will also give you a chance to establish a relationship with the landlord.
Set appointments as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that the apartment will be rented before you get there. If possible, try to visit the area around the apartment both during the day and at night, or ask around to see what it's like. Perfectly peaceful areas during the day can turn into unbearable residential areas at night if there are bars nearby. Likewise, a calm neighborhood in the evening may be a nightmare during the day due to traffic or construction works.
You should feel free to ask questions about the rental:
1) How long is the lease?
2) How much is the security deposit?
3) Are utilities included in the rent? If not, how much are they?
4) Are pets allowed?
Contracts should be in writing to be considered a legal document. This is a vital step to protect yourself and ensure that the owner's responsibilities and your responsibilities as a tenant are met.
What should be included in a contract:
To make sure the contract is adhered to and you are not later charged with pre-existing damage, you should do a walk through with the landlord before signing the contract. This is the time to ask any last minute questions. When you move into the apartment, you will need to sign an inventory to certify the state of the accommodation and possessions if furnished. For anything broken, or for all further improvements, you will need to ask the landlord.
To terminate a tenancy agreement, refer to the terms of the agreement. Most apartments require that tenants submit a termination letter at least 30 days before their move date. Notice should be written and sent by registered mail.
If you are leaving before your contract (lease) is up, you may incur a penalty. That should also be clarified in the contract (break clause). Some leases contain an "early-out" or "early-release" clause, which states under what conditions you can break your lease and the amount you owe the landlord. This may be dependent on a visa not being issued/renewed, or other unforeseen circumstances. Keep in mind that your security deposit may also be forfeited, depending on tenant laws.
When you reach the move out date, meet with your landlord to complete a walk-through. Review your contract to find out what repairs or damages are not covered under your lease. Have your landlord check for potential damage or repairs before you move out to avoid surprise fees down the road. Discuss how and when you should expect to receive your security deposit with the landlord. You may also ask if you may use your security deposit to pay the last month's rent.
If you do have issues with your landlord or living situation, contact the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
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