Living in The Philippines > Lodging: Finding A Place to Stay "for a while"

Short term stay in Manila - my story


While I was dating my girlfriend, I wanted to be near where she lived in Manila. In the Philippines, there are sites like Craigslist that advertise rooms and they are called Olx and Ibilik. They offer short term rentals, dorm shares, and personal rooms. I also looked at airbnb, agoda, and booking, but for long term, it's cheaper to book it by the month. If you stay in a hotel and pay by the night, you may pay $25 per night or $750 for the month. I stayed in a hostel for a few nights and it was $6 per night or $180 per month. It was ok but there was a lot of snoring going on. I looked on Olx and I moved to a dorm share in Pembo Makati and it was poorly kept.

This dorm share was $100 per month. Less people than the hostel. They crammed 12 men into a 2 bed/1 bath condo. 3 bunk beds in each room with a locker. There were rules about only using the AC 12 hours per day. The toilet had no flusher. You had to fill up a big bucket of water and dump it in the toilet and there was no hot water heater in the shower. There was no toilet seat either. Real Filipino style. You'd think that if the landlord was getting $1,200 a month from all the people, he could upgrade the place. Nope! There's a trade off for the cost. I moved out of there after my lease was up.

I found another ad on Ibilik that said there was a dorm share in the same condo complex as my girlfriend. It was a 2 bed/1 bath condo and five guys shared it. 3 in one room and 2 in the other. $80 per month. The broker said he was working for the landlord and things got shady when I went to look at the place. He wanted me to sign a piece of paper that said I would pay him a commission every month even before I could see the place. Also, I couldn't tell anyone the amount of the commission. I thought it was odd but I liked the place and agreed to it for six months. He wanted 2 months deposit up front and 1 month security deposit. He gave me the key and I moved in, and it turns out that the landlord lived right next door to us. She was a nice lady and I would wave at her a few times if I saw her in the stairwell. She was out of town a lot so I asked the broker to ask her about 3 things. Mold in the shower, a leaky pipe in the bathroom, and she overcharged us on the cleaning fee for one month. He said he would ask her. But he never did. About 3 months into the lease, she asked me why I wasn't paying her directly. I told her that her broker wanted me to pay him for the commission and then he was giving her the money. She said, "He?! I don't have a male broker. She's female." She also added that she had already paid the broker a one time commission. She also said she only charges 1 month advance and 1 month security deposit. "You overpaid and he's taking advantage of you!", she exclaimed. She was livid at what was happening. She said she would call around to find out what kind of shady practices were happening. She said any agreement I made with him was void because she owned the unit and made the contract and that he wasn't even her broker.

It turns out that the older lady broker that she had paid was caring for her sick husband in the hospital. She kept part of the commission and gave the rest to her female associate. This female associate was friends with the male broker. He would advertise for her but instead of giving him a commission, she would keep it all and have him get his own commission from the tenant. When I told this younger male broker I wasn't going to pay him anymore because of what I found out, he wanted to meet with me and bring along the younger female broker. I called the older lady broker and asked her to help make things right but she said it's not my business (even though it was because she was the main contact for the landlord). The landlord wasn't happy with this answer and kept calling the broker. The old lady broker wanted to resolve this issue so she called her associates and told them to fix it. Her associates told her that they had met with me and fixed it and then the landlord was told that too, but when the landlord told me she was glad it was fixed, I told her that it wasn't because nobody met with me. It then started another slew of phone calls. Finally, I did meet the younger brokers and told them that the way to fix this was to pass the money down to the person who actually did the work. Landlord->Broker. They told me it doesn't work like that. And they told me that the younger guy wasn't a broker. He was just a friend. Ok, so why isn't the friend getting paid from the commission? He's doing the work. The lady did no work. She didn't want to give up her money. I asked why they increased the deposit amount from 1 month advance and 1 month deposit to 2 months advance and 1 month deposit. The lady broker told me that they can do whatever they want because landlords usually never talk to the client. They also told my landlord they found someone to stay at her place for 1 year even though I just signed a six month contract. Lots of lies. We agreed that he would keep the first 3 months of commissions but I wouldn't pay him for the last 3 months. Also, when I went to get my security deposit when I moved out, he tried to keep some of it. I finally got all my deposit back though. It was good that the landlord was on my side. I kept in touch with the guys after I moved out and they said nobody replaced me. Probably the landlord was fed up with the brokers and didn't want to use their services anymore. Key takeaway: Careful with whom you deal with!

On a lighter note, there was a video on Youtube by Overstay Road where he was renting a condo for 1,500 P per month! Very simple and very cheap. The title was "$28 USD Per Month Condo in the Philippines - Near the Beach!"

Gray Wolf:
Holy moley!  :o :o


[0] Message Index

Go to full version