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RACAZA v. SUSANA REALTY, INC. G.R. No.

L-20330 December 22, 1966 Facts: Petitioner rented a portion of a piece of land owned by respondent. He started renting in 1952 when his wife bought an unfinished house that was built on it. On assurance of respondent that petitioner's family could stay on the land by paying a monthly rent, petitioner finished the construction of the house and lived in it. Years later, respondent asked petitioner to vacate the land because they already needed it. Respondent twice filed an ejectment suit; only the second was granted. On February 10, 1956, respondent filed a complaint for ejectment in the MTC against petitioner. This was however dismissed on November 23, 1956 for failure of respondent to proceed to trial. On February 19, 1958, another ejectment suit was filed and the court then ordered petitioner to vacate the premises. Accordingly, petitioner appealed to the Court of First Instance of Pasay demanding counterclaim for what he had spent to finish the construction of the house and for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the municipal court to try it. But then again, petitioner was ordered evicted and his counterclaim was thrown out for lack of jurisdiction. Hence, petitioner raised this issue to the Higher Court. On appeal, petitioner asked for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the municipal court to try it. He claimed that the complaint was filed more than one year after the alleged unlawful detainer or from July, 1955 when he stopped paying rent. The first complaint for ejectment was dismissed on November 23, 1956, while the second was not filed until February 19, 1958. Issue: W/N the MTC had jurisdiction over the ejectment case though the complaint did not state the date when the alleged unlawful detainer started Ruling: The case falls within the jurisdiction of the MTC. Municipal courts shall have jurisdiction over unlawful detainer cases where the defendants possession was originally lawful but ceased to be so by the expiration of his right to possess and must be brought before it from the date of last demand. This case, however, was brought not on the theory that petitioner, as lessee, failed to pay rents, but on the theory that the lease had expired and that respondent had asked petitioner to vacate the land. The averment that the lease was on a month-to-month basis is equivalent to an allegation that the lease expired at the end of every month. It is therefore immaterial that rents had not been paid since July, 1955, since what made petitioner liable for ejectment was the expiration of the lease. Rule 70, section 2 requires previous demand only when the action is for failure to pay rent due or to comply with the conditions of his lease. Where the action is to terminate the lease because of the expiration of its term, no such demand is necessary. In the latter case, upon the expiration of the term of the lease, the landlord may go into the property and occupy it. If the lessee refuses to vacate the premises, an action for unlawful detainer may immediately be brought against him even before the expiration of the fifteen or five days provided in Rule 70, section 2.