Accra, May 19, GNA – The National Tenants Association of Ghana (NATAG) at the weekend called for a review of the Rent Control Act (Act 220) to make the Rent Control Department of Ghana (RCDG) a proactive body.
“Since 1963 when the rent Act, (Act 220) was passed into law, the RCDG, a body responsible for seeing to the full implementation of the law had not been given the necessary support to function as spelt out in the law.
“The weakness and the shallowness of the Act has made the Rent Control Department a 'toothless bulldog that cannot bite', thereby leaving the poor tenants at the mercy of atrocious Landlords, document made available to the Ghana News Agency signed by Frederick Opoku, Acting Secretary General of NATAG stated.
Mr Opoku said certain clauses in the law need some amendments and additions to make it more functional and applicable in today's world and alleged that though the RCDG had since 2010 been pushing for the amendments of the Act, for two years, it had been on the Desk of the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing.
“This, to us demonstrates the insensitivity on the part of Government to the plight of the poor and the low income house renters in this country,” Mr Opoku alleged.
He said currently, tenants were made to pay between one to three years rent advance which is in contradiction to the Rent Act.
“According to the law, taking rent advance beyond six months is a violation of the rent Act, and yet, home owners do it with impunity all because the government does not have the political will to prosecute landlords who abuse the law,” he said.
Mr Opoku said the Association is worried that the law was not working because of the failure on the part of government to resource the Rent Control Department to work.
“It is surprising to hear that the entire Rent Control Department has only two vehicles for the whole country,” he said.
The NATAG also question why budgetary allocation to the Rent Control Department in the 2012 budget had still not been released to the Department.
He said it was regrettable that majority of low income earners used their meager salaries to pay for their rents living nothing on them to feed and fend for their families.
NATAG, an umbrella organisation representing tenants in Ghana, was established to assist tenants through education, legal information and lobbying for tenant's legislation especially affordable housing and tenants rights.