Formal Surrender of Leased Premises

In a contract of lease, one of the parties binds himself to give to another the enjoyment or use of a thing for a price certain, and for a period which may be definite or indefinite. Upon its termination, the lessee shall return the thing leased and the lessor shall resume possession thereto. (Art. 1665, NCC).

When there was “Formal Surrender of Leased Premises” the defendant actually emptied and vacated the leased premises.

The padlocking of the main door of the ground floor units and the continued use thereof as defendant’s passageway to and from the second floor unit did not virtually deny it of its right to possess the unit. There was intention to relinquish in favor of plaintiff its possession over the premises. The filing of the Formal Surrender at the MeTC-Manila, constituted its constructive delivery of the said premises. Thereafter, it actually emptied and vacated the premises. Therefore, the plaintiff could have taken legal and actual possession of premises. It could have easily removed the padlock and occupied the premises in view of its unconditional surrender of the premises. (Remington Industrial Sales Corp. v. Chinese Young Men’s Christian Assn. of the Phils. Islands, et al., G.R. No. 171858, January 22, 2007).

The liability of the sublessee to the lessor for the rentals is subsidiary. Although Article 1652 of the Civil Code permits the lessor to proceed against the sublessee for rent due from the lessee, this is only on a subsidiary liability basis. (Blas vs. CA, 180 SCRA 60). There must be a judgment canceling the lessee’s principal lease contract or ousting the lessee from the premises before the sub-lessee becomes subsidiary liable.

The sub-lessee is not liable to the lessor under Article 1652 upon mere demand by the lessor on the sub-lessee. The sub-lessee is primarily liable to his sub-lessor and only a court can extinguish or modify this primary liability if the sub-lessor contests the pre-termination of the principal lease by the lessor.