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Cheating Landlords To Be Arrested - Rent Control   
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The chief Rent Control Officer of the Ghana Rent Control Department, Addo Soin Dombo has stated the department has ordered its staff to begin arresting and prosecuting landlords who charge more than six months rent advance in the country.

Mr. Dombo said a situation where landlords charge between two to three years rent advance is against the law and described such advances as illegal.

Speaking on ETV Ghana yesterday, Mr. Dombo added that investigations have proven that landlords who impose unnecessary rent advances on tenants are those who fail to pay their obliged taxes.

He said it is also illegal for landlords to increase their rent charges arbitrarily, adding that no landlord has the right to charge more than six months’ rent advance.

Mr. Dombo revealed that the biggest challenge facing the department has to do with inadequate staff rendering their services ineffective.

He said currently with a population of more than 24 million in the country, the department has only 32 staff across the country, putting pressure on the few workers who are working hard on daily basis to restore sanity in the sector.

“Can you imagine that the whole Greater Accra region is managed by only five rent professional officers putting pressure on us as my office has been turned into a consultancy room where people queue up every day for solutions,” he stated.

He revealed that, the Labour Commission in 2010 gave the department the green light to employ 75 rent professionals, but have since not received any approval from the Finance Ministry despite several letters to the Ministry justifying the need.

The Chief Rent Control Officer urged tenants to resist any attempts by landlords to arbitrarily increase rent charges, explaining that rent could only be increased when the landlord had made some significant improvement in the apartment where the tenant lives.

“A landlord cannot just increase rent charges, unless under law and through the department for assessment before an increment because it supposed to be 2% after every two years,” he opined.

He advised tenants to resist any attempt by landlords who are bent on evicting them forcefully to report the issue to the department for redress, adding that under no circumstance should a landlord eject a tenant on the basis of rent advance increments.

On the issue of tenancy agreement, the officer said what is currently happening across the country is not the best and not supported by law because the agreement should be prepared between the landlord and the tenant and not the landlord alone.

He advised landlords to investigate the background of their would-be tenants in order to avoid renting rooms to people with questionable lifestyles, adding that tenants must also check the background of their landlords before hiring their facilities.
Source: Daily Heritage

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