New Rent Act prohibits 24-month advance payment

A new Rent Act, which is currently undergoing amendment processes in Parliament, will prohibit ‘landlords’ from imposing on tenants the conventional 24-month advance payment system, Works and Housing Minister, Mr. Samuel Atta Akyea, has revealed.

The law, which is expected to be finalized by the end of this year, the Minister said, have provisions that offers a win-win situation for both house owners and tenants.

Speaking to the Goldstreet Business on some major highlights and emphasis in the new law, Samuel Atta Akyea said “the law notably frowns on imposing 24-month rent advance with landlords not allowed to exact rent charges and fees beyond certain dimensions.”

Currently, Ghanaian landlords charge not less than GHS100 monthly rent, for a single room with a porch in most suburbs of Accra.  A normal chamber and hall in the capital, usually costs between GHS150-200 monthly, while one bedroom and two bedrooms self-contained normally goes between GHS400-450 and GHS600-700 respectively on monthly basis, all on the 24-month rent advance system.

However, some landlords, particularly in Accra and other regional capitals, demand 36-month advance payment before renting their properties to tenants.

The current Rent Act sharply opposes this practice and entreats house owners to charge six months’ rent in advance, with succeeding rents due in every six months.

“That is the situation we have addressed in the new law. That, all low income tenants including students on national service, can be able to rent for short terms without any hustle,” he said.

Mr. Atta Akyea, Minister, Works and Housing

Mr. Atta Akyea however said the new regime will not in any way disfavour house owners, adding “some remarkable points in the new law extends respect to house owners and landlords since the situation involves their property and investments.”

The Rent Act (Act 220) of 1963 established the Rent Control Division, responsible for monitoring and establishment of guidelines relating to monitoring landlord and tenant relations.

The Act also protects tenants from frequent evictions by landlords, especially when the former are not able to cope with incremental rent increases.

Under this law, a tenant is usually given time, three months, to find a suitable place to relocate before being evicted.

However, various provisions in the Act have been flouted by landlords on daily basis. The law did not also stipulate how much money landlords are to charge tenants for the various accommodation units.

The situation, has for many years, led to exploitation by some house owners, coupled with the 24-month to 36-month rent advance payment pattern.

By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe