New Rent Act will bring transparency in rent – Housing Minister
The Rent Bill, when passed into law, would help bring transparency and efficiency into rent management and limit landlord-tenant conflict, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, has said.
Dr Agyemang-Mensah made this known at a Real Estate summit in Accra on the theme: “Real Estate: An Emerging Engine of Growth”, said that the bill when passed would also reduce the request for huge rent advances from tenants and ensure proper service delivery to the vulnerable and the excluded.
The minister said as a first step, the Rent Act, which was enacted in 1963 to “Consolidate and amend the law relating to the control of rents and the recovery of possession of premises in certain cases; to amend certain provisions of existing enactments and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto,” was reviewed at a validation workshop recently organised by the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing.
Dr Agyemang-Mensah said the Act, in its current form, was plagued with so many challenges such as arbitrary excessive increase in rents and arbitrary ejection of tenants for better rents.
Other challenges are abrupt abrogation and breach of contract, collection of rent advance of more than six months, weak institutional capacity and unauthorised agent fees.
He said the objective of the review was to remove the obnoxious provisions of the existing Rent Act, 1963 (Act 220) while promoting a balance between the needs of tenants and landlords.
Dr Agyemang-Mensah said additionally the review, when completed, would ensure that government safeguards the rights of the vulnerable tenants who had been out-priced by the uncontrollable hikes in the cost of renting accommodation and ensure that property developers were not discouraged from investing in the housing industry.
The Minister said the Bill also makes provision for the establishment of a Real Estate Agency which would regulate real estate practice and connected purposes.
He said the Parliamentary Select Committee on Water Resources, Works and Housing was still deliberating on it and that when finally passed, the Bill would regulate real estate brokerage practice, real estate transactions and prevent such transactions to be used for money laundering and other vices.
Dr Agyemang-Mensah said the Bill would also provide for the training and licensing of estate brokers which would require them to provide bonds as guarantees to operators in the property market.
He said plans were far advanced to promote the development of affordable rental housing units for all Ghanaians.
Akua Nyame-Mensah, the Managing Director of online real estate market Lamudi Ghana, said the real estate summit which sought to encourage more collaboration between stakeholders, would help in reducing the huge housing deficit in Ghana.
“This conference is an opportunity for all stakeholders to come together to deal with Ghana’s housing deficit. Our approach for the most part has been to tackle this challenge on an individual basis.
“We are stronger as a group in this regard. So we need to join forces to see how best we can tackle this housing deficit,” she said.
Mr Elvin Larkai, the General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Affairs of Devtraco Ltd, said the real estate sector was unfortunately driven by high-level competition hindering progress in the housing sector.
“As developers, we need to understand that our main competitors are individuals building their own homes. “If developers can come together for more community housing, it will benefit Ghana as a whole,” he said.