Mr Addo Soin Dombo, Acting Chief Rent Officer, has said about GH¢7.5 million is needed for the review of the Rent Control Act to bring sanity into rent administration but the Rent Control Department lacked the resources.
He said the lack of funds to organise the final key stakeholders’ consultations across the country towards review of the Act had led to its delay. The process was initiated last year.
“This has given an avenue for some landlords to arbitrarily deal with their tenants, thus increasing their rent any time they desire,” he said in an interview with Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra.
“For instance, though the law stipulates that rent should be paid on monthly basis while rent advance must not exceeding a period of six months, some land lords take advance for a minimum period of two years and beyond and illegal evict their tenants any day.
“Many tenants are thus constrained because they spend substantial portions of their salaries on accommodation.”
However, he said, the Department would soon submit a budget to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning towards securing the requisite funds to finalise the draft for the review of the Act.
Asked why the Department was not enforcing the existing law, Mr Dombo said it lacked the requisite staff strength, infrastructure, equipment and logistics.
In Accra, he said, the Department had only one office, which was located near the Tema Station.
“Our office is always choked and we are overwhelmed with the sheer number of cases we receive,” he said. “We receive complaints from students on daily basis about the exorbitant rents they were being asked to pay.”
The Acting Chief Rent Officer said the review would, therefore, seek to restructure the administrative set up of the Rent Control Department to make it more representative and accessible at the district level to help curb the challenges confronting tenants.
He appealed to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to negotiate with the Finance Ministry to release funds to facilitate the review process.
“Availability of funds would enable the Department to discharge its duties well with the persecution of landlords who do not respect the law,” he said.
He urged the Finance Ministry to also allow the Department to utilise its internally generated funds to meet its demands and recruit more personnel.
Mr Dombo said at least 75 rent offices were needed across the country and appealed to the Government to allow the Department to employ more personnel and acquire offices in all regions to solve cases.
He said some communities were ready to release land or accommodation for the establishment of offices.