PENAS v. CA | CALAYCAY, 233 SCRA 744- Unlawful Detainer

Unlawful detainer: 1 year prescription should be counted from the LAST letter of demand to vacate.


Spouses Penas leased to Calaycay a certain property in Quezon City. The original written contract was on a month to month basis and for P110.00 per month. The price was continuously increased until it reached P2000.00 per month.

In a letter of January 18, 1990, Penas notified Calaycay that effective March 1990, they were terminating the written month to month lease contract as they were no longer interested to renew the same and demanded from the latter to vacate the premises in question on or before February 28, 1990. In the same letter, Penas opted to allow the defendant to continue occupying the leased premises provided he will agree to execute a new lease contract for a period of one (1) year at an increased monthly rental P2500.00, plus two (2) months deposit and, further, gave the Calaycay up to February 28, 1990 to decide, otherwise judicial action for unlawful detainer shall ensue. Penas later finally reduced the monthly rental to P2000.00.

Calaycay did not vacate but instead consigned the monthly rents in a bank.

On August 10, 1992, Penas sent another letter to the defendant to vacate and demanded back rentals, which Calaycay failed to satisfy.

On September 25, 1992, Penas filed an action for unlawful detainer. MTC dismissed the case for being filed more than 1 year after the unlawful occupation. RTC and CA affirmed.


Whether or not the case for unlawful detainer was filed in time?

HELD: Yes.

The established rule that the one (1) year period provided for in section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court within which a complaint for unlawful detainer can be filed should be counted from the LAST letter of demand to vacate, the reason being that the lessor has the right to waive his right of action based on previous demands and let the lessee remain meanwhile in the premises.

The notice giving the lessee the alternative either to pay the increased rental or otherwise vacate the land is not the demand contemplated by the Rules of Court in unlawful detainer cases. When after such notice, the lessee elects to stay, he thereby merely assumes the new rental and cannot be ejected until he defaults in said obligation and necessary demand is first made.

The demand was made on 10 August 1992, followed by the action for unlawful detainer on 25 September 1992. Hence it was filed within 1 year from the beginning of the unlawful possession.