A home is everyone?s priority. We need it to survive, for protection from the elements and even to satisfy our egos. According to the last Census recorded in 2010, about 47 percent of Ghana?s population are homeowners.
The majority of the population are left to seek other means of finding shelter due to affordability challenges. Renting, for the most part, is the best alternative for such house-hunters. In reaction to this phenomenon, the Rent Control Department was created to ensure a favorable rent environment. Leading real estate portal Lamudi Ghana highlights five facts about renting that active and potential tenants should know.
Six months maximum rent charged in advance
Tenants should be made aware that Ghana?s current legislation. The Rent Act of 1963 demands that landlords charge a maximum six months rent in advance. Unfortunately due to demand outstripping supply, landlords charge in excess, sometimes demanding up to three years rent advance.
2. The law applies only to landlords and tenants
This has been a controversial issue for many years. Does a house-hunter benefit from the protection of the Rent Act or only when he or she is a tenant? The answer is the latter. According to a Senior Rent Officer at the Rent Control Department, Mr Philip Skido Deh, a house-hunter can only negotiate on the terms of a landlord. However, upon becoming a tenant, the landlord is to charge not more than six months rent in advance when the initial period expires. A tenant is fully protected by the law in this case and should take the matter up with the Rent Control Board, which will ensure that the proper thing is done.
3. ?Rent advance law amendment proposal made
Ghana?s Rent Act has been in existence for over 50 years now. The last time it was amended was in 1986. This situation has attracted the need for a review of the law to reflect modern standards. According to Mr Deh, a proposal has been made to the government to have the current rent advance changed to one year to keep in track with modern practice of landlords.
4. ???Rent can only be increased after three years
Another important aspect of the law that both tenants and landlords should know, rental increments can only be made after three years of the initial rent charge. A tenant is protected by the law to seek redress if a landlord arbitrarily increases the rent. Again, due to high demand some landlords take advantage and increase rent charges as it suits them.
5. ??Rent increments need Rent Control Department approval
Even when a landlord?s desire is to increase his or her rent charge, it has to be done with the full knowledge of the Rent Control Department. The landlord is not permitted to increase rent without the approval of the Department. Anything else means going contrary to the law.