G.R. No. 49852, October 18, 1989, 178 SCRA 608


On 16 September 1976, the herein private respondent, Benjamin Cifra, Jr., claiming to be the owner of the premises in Navotas, Metro Manila, which he had leased to the herein petitioner, Emilia Tengco, filed an action for unlawful detainer, to evict the petitioner, from the said premises for her alleged failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the lease contract by failing and refusing to pay the stipulated rentals despite repeated demands.

Petitioner claims that she entered into the lease agreement but with his mother; that her failure to pay the rentals on the premises was due to the refusal of the collector to accept her tender of payment; and that laches had deprived private respondent of whatever right he had against her.


Whether or not the private respondent or the lessor is liable for mora accipiendi.


No. It should be noted that petitioner admits that she is a lessee on the premises in question and that she had been in default in the payment of the rentals thereon because of the refusal of the collector to accept her tender of payment.

In the doctrine of mora accipiendi, the creditor or lessor is guilty of default when he unjustifiably refuses to accept payment or performance at the time said payment or performance can be done.

In the case, the refusal to accept the proffered rentals is not without justification. The ownership of the property had been transferred to the private respondent and the person to whom payment was offered had no authority to accept payment. It should be noted that the contract of lease between the petitioner and the former owner of the land, was not in writing and, hence, unrecorded. The Court has held that a contract of lease executed by the vendor, unless recorded, ceases to have effect when the property is sold, in the absence of a contrary agreement. The petitioner cannot claim ignorance of the transfer of ownership of the property because, by her own account, the private respondent, at various times, had informed her of their respective claims to ownership of the property occupied by the petitioner. The petitioner should have tendered payment of the rentals to the private respondent and if that was not possible, she should have consigned such rentals in court.

 * Case digest by Prince Dave Santiago, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018