The Rental Housing Association of Ghana (RHAG) has called for a review of the newly launched National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS) as the policy creates room for landlords to break the law.
According to the group, the rent Act did not permit landlords to demand more than six months for rent advance, yet the Scheme provides funds for landlords to be paid rent advance for even up to two years as a lump sum.
The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, launched the NRAS on February 1 this year, designed to make rental accommodation more accessible, affordable and convenient by taking away the unfair burden faced by lower income households and the youth across the country.
The NRAS is managed by a private sector property manager under the auspices of the Ministry of Works and Housing and other key stakeholders.
The initial roll out, with a seed funding of GH¢30m, will take place in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western, Eastern, Bono East and Northern regions, where data from the Ghana Statistical Service indicates renters have the greatest challenge with rental accommodation.
Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, president of RHAG, Madam Regina Koomson, said since the launch of the NRAS, her outfit had been bombarded with telephone calls from tenants who are under the impression that RHAG was involved with the operations of NRAS.
This she said was an error, adding that the association was not in any way involved in the daily operations of the scheme.
She however expressed gratitude to the government for the approval of the draft Rent Bill by cabinet, hoping it would be soon passed into law.
Madam Koomson indicated that Ghana currently had a housing deficit of 1.8million, with tenants being on the receiving end of the difficulties caused by the situation.
According to her, RHAG remained focused on educating landlords on issues such as tenancy agreement, issuing of receipts after rent payment, wrongful termination and eviction processes and all pertinent issues regarding rent in the country.
She bemoaned that the rent control department was not as adequately resourced as it should be with human resources as well as logistics to carry out its mandate, adding that the passing of the rent bill into law must be done as a matter of urgency.
In furtherance, she called for a speedy resolution of the Saglemi Affordable Housing Project to enable it serve its intended purpose of creating affordable housing and further reducing the housing deficit.
RHAG also signed a memorandum with the National Tenants Union of Ghana (NATUG) and the Ghana Association of Real Estate Brokers (GAREB) at the event.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU & SONNY SEYRAM QUARTEY