Living in Cebu and Cebuano Landlords
I’ve had only two landlords since I’ve been living in Cebu. Kind of three, I’ll explain that later. Neither of them have ripped me off. However, both had done some things that would get them in hot legal water if it were the USA. However, its not the USA and I must operate with the way of the people that live in Cebu.
First, avoid getting anything from the web. That may not be possible, but if you can avoid getting a place until you get here, I’d do that. I have people ask me if I can help them find a place to live here. Its understandable. They are going on what they know. What they know though is not the Philippines. I can’t go find them something and then point it out on the web. Most places to live are not on the web.
I have, a couple of times, took pictures and obtained contact numbers of places for rent here. No one has ever actually used that. I suppose I could arrange it if someone wanted to pay my travel expenses and my time. Its hard work finding a place for someone to live. I might even have to pay someone else to help me with it. The heat makes me sick so I avoid it.
I found my first place on the web. Talked with the Filipino that lives in the USA. He sent me a lease, I signed it, sent it back to him and sent him the cash. Later he sent me a lease again and new pictures. I didn’t understand why he did that. He said he had to open a new unit for me as the one I was suppose to get was not available.
I assumed it was the same as the unit I had paid for but at a new location. He didn’t mention that it was about half the size of the place I paid for and there was no hot water and only the bedroom had air conditioning. I found that out, only after I was inside.
I asked for a partial refund and he said no, I had signed the lease. The lease didn’t indicate the unit was a different size and lacked the things that made me take the place in the first place. It was a nice place. It was small, didn’t have air conditioning throughout and had one less bathroom and bedroom!
It was even owned by someone else! That is the other landlord I mentioned. I really like her. She was awesome. Took care of all the problems we had. There were not a lot of problems though.
Eventually the original landlord did move me into the location that I was suppose to be in. That opened up some new problems, mostly minor but still not as described.
I knew an expat that lived in Bogo City and had a home I really liked. He was moving! I jumped on that, got the place. I’ve been here for two years now.
The landlord has been very helpful. She even co-signed a loan for my girlfriend so that we could get appliances. Wow! That was nice of her. Things have been a bit rough ever since. She’s not always been wrong but has been inflexible.
Then a couple of months ago, she did something that really angered me. I still want to move. Jessie, my girlfriend, however, likes it here. Me too but my pride is having a hard time accepting this. My pride tells me to move and move even if it hurts me in some way.
What did she do? She rented part of our home to someone else! We have an outside kitchen. It is common here, called a dirty kitchen. Its a BBQ. It has our electrical and water connections running to it.
When I told her I needed it back, she said something like “Sorry Rusty, its already rented to them.” I responded with, “its already rented to me too!” She then told me no, it was not, that I had asked to borrow it. Oh man, my blood is smoldering again. That’s insane, its crazy, its wrong and I can’t believe she told me that.
I suspect, that it will cause me to move out eventually. I also know that someone else tried to rent the place out from under us. She turned them down because she doesn’t like Koreans! They offered twice what I pay. I’ve been lead to believe that if they had not been Korean, we would have been forced to move out!
I have a fast internet connection in this home. Getting that in the next place would be difficult and perhaps, impossible. I can’t move to a place that doesn’t already have a land based internet. I could go with less speed but it wouldn’t be a great thing. No connection at all is not an option for me.
Like most things about living in the Philippines, it is important to not apply your customs and laws to what you expect to have happen here. Those old things simply do not apply. This is a different place. When you first arrive here, you’re probably going to be slightly shocked. If you can’t roll with the punches, if you can’t adapt to new things, then you probably should stay where you are. Maybe come for a visit. Go to the playground for middle aged guys but forget living in the Philippines unless you can accept this isn’t going to be what you are use too.
If you can adapt to the changes required then its a wonderful place to live. I caution you though, careful when dealing with the landlords of Cebu and the Philippines as a whole. If you want to buy here, there are all kinds of problems. You need a lawyer and you need to be careful on picking one too! Ask another expat for help. I know one that has purchased quite a bit of land. He can provide a lot of help. Going it alone is a foolish thing to do.
Filed under: Living In The Philippines
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