Who Determines Rent Price: Landlord, Tenant or Rent Control?

The importance of housing cannot be overemphasized. With socio-economic benefits attributed to individuals and a country as a whole, housing has become an integral component for many developed economies.

In Ghana, demand is one of the leading price determinants of the search of a house. Accra can be recorded as one of the highest demand of the search of a house. With this most land owners had started developing their land to meet this great demand by the public. When you listen to radio and television, there is still the ringing bell of the search of a house to buy and rent. When the person is able to find or rent a room, he or she sometimes forgets the tenancy agreement and even the rules governing the housing system. Specifically there are tenants and landlords who had neither read, understood nor know about the Ghana Rent Control declarations. How do you owned a property and don’t know the laws governing it. Ignorance of landlords and tenants of not knowing and applying the rent law is not an excuse for any of the party to escape with. Failure to know the law had empowered landlords to do anything that suit them.

Reports of rent related issues over the years had overwhelmingly increased in most region and indicated that most of the cases were rent refund demanded by tenants, rent arrears owed landlords and threats by landlords to evict tenants.

Rent issues, whether residential or business, are very critical and synonymous with the growing population and assuming importance in all spheres of life. With landlords at the supply end, tenants at the demand end and demand exceeding supply, landlords have become incredibly powerful (regardless of their limits in the Ghana Rent Act) and thus dictate the terms of the rental agreement .

I would first like to visits Ghana Rent Act 1963(ACT 220) which throws more light on fix amount of the rates attributable to parties or the collection of the increase in rent.

Section – 19 – Landlord Prohibited from Collecting Rent Increase Resulting from Increase in Rates without Notice, Etc.

(1) No landlord of premises shall collect from the tenant of such premises any increase of rent attributable to an increase of rates in respect of such premises, unless he has notified the tenant previously in writing in the prescribed form the amount of the old rates, the amount of the new rates, and where a part of any premises has been let, the amount of the rates attributable to such part, the amount of the increase in rent and the date from which the new rates take effect.

(2) When a part of any premises has been let and there has been an increase in the rates in respect of the whole of such premises, no landlord shall-

(a) fix the amount of the rates attributable to such part, or

(b) collect an increase in rent in respect of such part,

unless such amount and increase have been approved by the appropriate Rent Officer.

(3) No landlord of, or other person interested in, any premises, shall collect the increase in rent attributable to an increase in rates in respect of any period before such increased rates were assessed.

Anybody who wants to rent and occupy a property for a period of time is known as a tenant. In Ghana, there are rules/laws that regulate tenancy of occupants of a property. These laws are in the form of a tenancy agreement, which is given to tenants before they are provided with accommodation.

The tenancy agreement sample should include:

  • Who the property is being leased to;
  • The property address;
  • The rental costs;
  • The duration of the tenancy; and
  • The obligations of the landlord and the tenants.

Act 220 which replaced the Rent Ordinance Law was tactically enacted to take care of exigencies of potential tenants and tenants to ensure that Landlords did not put too much financial strains on tenants who requested to hire their properties.

The practice, where landlords fixed rent prices without consulting the Rent Control Department was also illegal, not permissible and fraudulent.

it is illegal for landlords to fix rents for a room. Rent is determined and approved by the rent control department, and therefore landlords have to apply to the department for assessment and ratings before they can give their facilities out for rent.

Recently the Government tried to intervene and control the upper hand of landlords by proposing an amendment to the Ghana Rent Act 220 which was passed in 1963.

By the current law, Act 220, I advised tenants not to be intimidated by their landlord’s threats, and feel free to report any breach of law when matter get worst.

Opinion| By Jessey  Kuntu Blankson

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