Head of the Rent Control Department, Emmanuel Hovey Kporsu says landlords are not legally empowered to evict tenants that default on their rent.
Mr. Kporsu said it is wrong to break into the premises of tenants after the expiration of their rent in an attempt to eject them.
He explained that: “the issue with rent in Ghana is that you cannot forcefully eject somebody from your premises after the contract has ended. The fact that the contract has expired and the tenant has not given you the keys to enter the place, you cannot enter the premises.”
Explaining the regulations surrounding the tenancy agreement in Ghana to Umaru Sanda Amadu on Face to Face on Citi TV, Mr. Kporsu said, “probably your tenancy has expired, and you’ve locked the premises, and then you ran away with the keys, the landlord cannot forcefully enter the premises because if he does and the tenant comes back and says he has lost a pot of flowers, the landlord is obliged to pay.”
He advised landlords to report any pertinent issues involving evictions to the Rent Control Department for amicable resolution which requires that, “you come and report to the Rent Control Department, and we make you swear an affidavit to indicate that the place belongs to you, and we give you a notice to be posted in front of the door for a period of two weeks and if the tenant does not appear, we go before a magistrate to seek an order to force open the premises.”
Mr. Kporsu also explained what happens after an entry order is granted by a magistrate.
“When we get the order to forcefully enter the room from the magistrate, we force open the premise and lease any item we see there and give it to the landlord for save keeping for a period of two weeks, and we go back to the magistrate to either auction the things or donate them after the tenant doesn’t appear.”
Residential renting in Ghana has been on an increasing trend for the past two decades. This is a result of the high demand for affordable rental properties. The problem is compounded by an uncompromising demand of landlords to collect a year or two years of prepaid rent from potential tenants.
Research has shown that only 5% of Ghana’s population can acquire their own homes without any form of assistance, with 60% requiring support that is facilitated by the state to access housing whilst 35% will require additional direct support before they can have access to housing.
The assistance required by the households falling into the 60% band comes in the form of supportive regulations and competitively priced mortgages whereas the lower 35% band needs subsidies in addition.