In Ghana, rent is one major issue many Ghanaians are confronted with. There are several complaints about either how expensive it is for one to find accommodation or how some landowners demand tenants to pay a 2-year rent in advance.
Paying rent in advance means paying the total sum for a rental property at the start of the rental period.
However, according to Ghana's Rent Control laws, landlords could face a two-year prison sentence if they charge more than six months' worth of rent upfront from tenants before renting out their homes, but little to nothing has been done to enforce the laws.
Discussing the rent issues on Peace FM's "Kokrokoo" morning show, former Central Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan explained the challenges with enforcing the rent control laws.
According to him, it is near impossible for the government to strictly charge a landowner who collect more than six months' rent upfront because the landowner is a private person who is leasing his private home to prospective tenants.
He noted that punishing landowners for contravening the law by collecting more than 6 months rent will not be an ideal solution explaining that while a tenant is complaining, there is another person eagerly waiting to occupy the vacancy.
"It will be like tickling ourselves and laughing. If the government can enforce it, then it means the government must virtually assign a Policeman to a house; just count millions of houses and landlords. The landlord is a private person," he told Kwami Sefa Kayi.
To him, the best solution to solving the rent problem is to amend the law but before this is achieved, he recommended the government decision to assist Ghanaians to meet their rent demands as the best step to resolving these rent matters.
"If you say the government should strictly enforce the law, the costing will be more than even selling the entire country to be able to implement it. So, the other option will be that, look, this is not practicable, so let's see how we can amend the law but in the interim when the law has not been amended, let's begin to do something."
National Rental Assistance Scheme
A financial support scheme to cushion Ghanaians to meet their rent demands has been launched in Accra.
Known as the National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS), the intervention is expected to provide low-interest loans for qualified applicants to enable them to pay their rent in advance.
“In partnership with the private sector, the scheme will provide low-interest loans for eligible Ghanaians to enable them to pay rent in advance. These loans will be repaid on a monthly basis to match the tenor of the rent and will be supported by a bank guarantee to ensure sustainability,” Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who launched the scheme in Accra yesterday, said as he revealed that the government has set aside GH¢30 million as seed money towards the implementation of this scheme.
Source: Ameyaw Adu Gyamfi/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana
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