An exclusive village in Metro Manila recently issued its guidelines regulating the renting out of houses to tenants, obviously targeting a single group of foreign individuals who are here to find housing and work.
It has been discussed in a recent blog before that Homeowners Associations (HOA) may issue rules and regulations that validly regulate how property may be enjoyed inside a gated community.
One of the most utilized type of regulation by HOAs is the insertion of a single-family dwelling provision in a lease contract.
Are These Regulations by HOAs Regarding Single-Family Dwellings Valid?
1. Single-Family Dwelling
The term single-family dwelling has been thrown around a lot quite recently in an attempt by numerous exclusive villages to avert the conversion of houses into dormitories or staff housing.
The question is, what exactly is a single-family dwelling?
No law specifically defines a single-family dwelling. However, The Implementing Rules of Presidential Decree Number 957 or “The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers’ Protective Decree” in relation to the Family Code create a patchwork of definitions that effectively term single-family dwelling.
Harmonizing the two laws, a single-family dwelling is:
1.) A structure designed as a residence;
2.) The beneficiaries actually reside therein;
3.) It is occupied by one family;
4.) One family can be a husband and wife, or an unmarried head of the family.
2. Subdivision/Village Guidelines
HOAs may enact rules and guidelines for the benefit of the community. After all, it is the HOA’s main function to ensure that the community we live in is safe, secure, and healthy.
However, the restriction of who may or may not be allowed to rent a property inside the gated community is outside that function. For instance, requiring a marriage contract as a pre-requisite for moving in, may be considered whimsical and quite arbitrary.
3. What is a Valid Exercise of a HOAs functions?
Rather than zeroing-in on a particular nationality or marital relations of tenants, HOAs should direct their attention to the actual use of the property (residential) and the composition of its residents (singular family versus multiple independent occupants). The fact of marriage or absence of it, should never be an issue.
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