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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Gov’t pushes for rent reforms as stakeholders meet to review existing laws

The efforts by the sector Ministry to address problems associated with rental housing received a major boost as stakeholders, made up of industry players and academia, undertake review of the existing Rent Act, 1963 (Act 220).

This, among other things, is meant to bring sanity in the administration of rental housing and remove inherent constraints on housing supply in the country.

The relevance of the existing law as amended and passed by Parliament some 59 years ago has been outlived by the current population growth, urbanization and demand and supply imbalance. This situation has saddled the rental housing industry with huge challenges with landlords demanding years of advance rent.

Speaking at a colloquium to review the existing Rent Act and the Bill for the establishment of the Ghana Housing Authority, the sector Minister, Francis Asenso-Boakye, said reforming the existing legislation on rent in the face of rapid urbanization will breathe new life in rent administration in the country by promoting a delicate balance between the needs of landlords and tenants.

Acknowledging the importance of provision of housing to government developmental goals, Asenso-Boakye stated that the reforms will help increase access to housing by the ordinary Ghanaians, adding that the new Act is should be able to “safeguard the rights of vulnerable tenants who have been out priced by the uncontrollable hikes in the cost of rental accommodation”.

Touching on the dire need to put in place institutional architecture to drive the housing sector, Asenso-Boakye explained that the establishment of the proposed Ghana Housing Authority will be key in the country’s ability to regulate, plan, develop and manage housing development.

“There must be concerted efforts to address the current precarious situation in the housing sector where home ownership has become a very complex and expensive venture for most Ghanaians,” the Minster noted.

The Chairperson and Vice-Chancellor of the KNUST, Prof. Mrs. Rita A. Dickson, described the colloquium as a national assignment that will open avenues to set up key priorities, develop concrete plans of actions based on detailed international comparative analysis.

The Vice-Chancellor entreated the panelists who are carefully selected among policy makers, academicians and experts, landlords, tenants, rent control officers, lawyers, judges, experts in the built industry and other key interest groups to be measured, candid, objective and accurate in their submissions.

Prof. Dickson expressed the belief that the deliberations will produce stimulating and invigorating inputs needed for the needed reforms in the Rent law as well as the Ghana Housing Authority Bill.

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