Everywhere you go in Ghana to rent, you are asked to pay two years rent in advance, yet workers are paid at the end of every month.
Landlords in Ghana over the years, have developed an entitlement to cause more hardship, adding to the already suffocating situation Ghanaians faced everyday as a result of the bad policies of governments.
Home ownership, has never been a national priority, if it was the government would be in the forefront of building massive public housing as we saw in the late 90s.
The only time since we ushered in the fourth republican dispensation that a government saw it necessary to provide housing to the people, was during the era of President Jerry John Rawlings.
Adenta and Sakumono Estates flats, were built with the intervention of Social Security And National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to provide housing to government workers. This idea was replicated nationally, as every region one or two flats built, especially in its capital.
Ghana currently has a housing deficit of 1.7 million which tilts the power to the supply side of the housing sector. With landlords at the supply end, tenants at the demand end and demand exceeding supply, landlords have become incredibly powerful (regardless of their limits in the Ghana Rent Act) and thus dictate the terms of the rental agreement.
This newspaper is of the opinion that, since it is becoming practically impossible for government to finish one project, especially the uncompleted ones left by former president John Agyekum Kufuor, mortgages should rather be guaranteed by the government, to enable people to buy their own homes.
The Rent Act, Act 220 of 1963, states that landlords are only allowed to charge six months’ rent in advance for a down-payment.
The government, in 2016 tried to intervene and control the upper hand of landlords by proposing an amendment to the Ghana Rent Act 220.
Among many of the reforms in the Act is a proposal of a monthly rent payment as opposed to the 6-month rent advance payment detailed under the Act 220.
We have tried albeit unsuccessfully to enforce the rent act, simply because demand outstrips supply, it is time government starts thinking outside the box.