Acquiring property is always a challenge, albeit a worthwhile one. After all, with so many things to consider, it’s never something one expects to do on a whim, and requires a lot of consideration. When it comes to Persons with Disabilities, are there other things to consider when it comes to acquiring properties? After all, they have daily life challenges they have to go through, and on the face of it, it might seem to be logical to have safeguards in place to protect them. We answer two frequently asked questions regarding PWDs and real estate.
Can PWDs own a property in the Philippines?
The short answer is yes. But there is legislation for the protection of PWDs in place.
Established in 1991, the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, or Republic Act 7277, defines PWDs as “those suffering from restriction of different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”
Given this, the law ensures integration rather than exclusion. This means that any and all protections given to PWDs are done in order to accommodate them, not to turn them away.
There is thus no reason to believe that people who are differently abled than most should be somehow ineligible to avail of properties if they have the means and the desire to do so. This distinction of inclusion and integration informs that PWDs are every bit as capable and as competent as anyone else in society, and thus, should be given the same opportunities as everyone else, which is why, for instance, they are given PWD access points for establishments that they otherwise could not access while everyone else could do so.
But what about PWDs with mental challenges?
Thankfully, the law is still pretty clear about that. After all, any contract is voided if the person in question is incapable of giving consent, regardless of the circumstances that yielded that condition. This means that if a person is incapable of giving consent due to their condition as a PWD, then they cannot be allowed to purchase property per se. But, this restriction is not all-encompassing, as there are remedies for situations like these.
First, if the PWD has lucid moments, then they can make these decisions by themselves, provided they are in their lucid moment and in the presence of their legal representative. A legal representative can be their lawyer or any guardian or family member that has been given the Special Power of Attorney (SPA) to act on their behalf. So long as this requirement is met, then the PWD can choose to purchase properties through the person they have given the authorization to do so on their behalf.
On the other hand, if the PWD is simply incapable of giving consent due to the severity of their condition, their legal representative or legal guardian, who is assumed to be operating in their best interests, is allowed to make these decisions on their behalf.
Additionally and regardless of disability, all property buyers are entitled to the rights per the Subdivision and Condominium Buyer’s Protective Decree or Presidential Decree no. 957.
Owning property is about ensuring a better quality of life, and it is just as real and achievable for PWDs as it is for everyone else. With the help of their loved ones, PWDs have the freedom and opportunity to choose a place they can call home.
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