A home is everyone’s priority. We need it to survive, to protect us from the elements and even to satisfy our egos. According to the last census recorded in 2010, around 47 percent of the Ghanaian population are homeowners.
The majority of the population must seek other means of finding shelter due to affordability concerns. Renting, for the most part, is the best alternative for these house hunters. In response to this phenomenon, the Rental Control Department was created to ensure a favorable rental environment. Leading property portal Lamudi Ghana highlights five rental facts that both active and potential renters need to know.
Six months maximum rent billed in advance
Renters should be made aware of the current legislation in Ghana. The Rent Act 1963 requires landlords to charge rent up to six months in advance. Unfortunately, due to demand exceeding supply, landlords charge a surplus, sometimes requiring up to three years upfront on rent.
2. The law only applies to owners and tenants
This has been a controversial issue for many years. Does a property hunter benefit from the protection of the rental law or only when he is a tenant? The answer is the last. According to a senior rent officer in the Department of Rent Control, Mr. Philip Skido Deh, a property hunter can only negotiate on a landlord’s terms. However, by becoming a tenant, the landlord must not charge more than six months’ rent in advance upon the expiration of the initial period. A tenant is fully protected by law in this case and should go to the Rent Control Board, who will make sure the right thing is done.
3. Proposal to modify the rent law in advance made
Ghana’s rental law has been around for over 50 years now. The last time it was amended was in 1986. This situation necessitated a revision of the law to reflect modern standards. According to Deh, a proposal has been made to the government to increase the current rent advance to one year to keep pace with modern landlord practice.
4. ??? The rent can only be increased after three years
Another important aspect of the law that tenants and landlords should be aware of, rent increases can only be made after three years from the initial rent. A tenant is protected by law to seek redress if a landlord arbitrarily increases the rent. Again, due to the high demand, some owners are taking advantage and increasing rental charges at their convenience.
5. ?? Rent increases require approval from the rent control department
Even when a landlord wants to increase their rent, they must do so with the knowledge of the rent control department. The landlord is not allowed to increase the rent without ministry approval. Everything else means going against the law.