Are you renting or you own your own house?
If you belong to the latter category of the question aforementioned, then you are in the safe zone under the circumstances.
For us in the first category, our lives could be likened to “merry go round”.
Indeed, Abraham Maslow rightly stated in 1943 when he categorized life’s hierarchy of needs that controls or dictates the behavior of people. It is safe for me to add that, accommodation plays a very crucial factor in the realization of all those needs including; physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs.
Official statistics from the Ministry of Housing indicates that, Ghana has over two (2) million housing deficits. What is even alarming is the fact that about 70% of Ghanaians live in rented houses and of that figure, more than 40% have challenges with payment of rent.
It is very expensive as a young man or woman coming up to rent an apartment these days with Landlords taking two (2) or more years advance at very unreasonable rates whilst others quote their rates in dollars ($). When when an individual is able to come up with the money to pay for the rent, there are a whole lot of issues and terms that makes occupancy very challenging or uncomfortable.
It is for the purpose of ameliorating all these difficulties and challenges that, the Rent Act of Ghana (Act 220) was enacted in 1963 under the direct supervision of the Rent Control to ensure its implementation and application by all Landlords and tenants.
I was following a “Newsfile” discussion on rent on Joynews with some personnel from the rent control department and what I deduced from the discussion was the fact that, the department has over the period, failed to deal with Landlords and tenants who have consistently becoming acting differently from what the rent act dictates. Clearly, a landlord is supposed to by the law, take only six (6) rent advance payment and there are laid down procedures to sub-letting, maintenance of premises, increment in rent and eviction.
Unfortunately, the terms in the act has obviously been ignore by almost everybody.
Going further to read the Rent Act, I discovered something in interesting in the Section 23 of the Rent act which states; “ Landlord prohibited from serving notice to quit within two (2) years of determination of appropriate rent officer, etc.”
What this means is that, before you decide to rent your property out, a rent officer from rent control must be invited to the property to do a valuation and determine the cost or rate to be given to the tenant. After giving out the said property, the Landlord has no power to serve notice to quit or evict the tenant within two (2) years.
I find this binding clause in the Landlord too harsh and also strongly believe that, it is at the back of this clause that Landlords Ho ahead to take two (2) years Alban instead of the stipulated six (6) months in the act.
Apart from the fact that, a lot of people need education this subject matter, I believe amending this particular section of the act would go a long way to help in calling for all and sundry to abide by the law.
The Rent Control, through the government and its agencies must make efforts to ensure the effectiveness of the act to make life comfortable for the ordinary Ghanaian.
Yes, we are a developing nation but an accommodation should not be a problem for the taxpayer. Efforts must also be made to construct social houses to accommodate those who cannot rent by themselves at all.
If it must be done, it must be done well to ensure the wellbeing of all.
I ask again, are you renting or you own it?
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