The elderly landlord spoke to TV3’s NewDay show and said that about a year ago, he was taking two years' advance from potential tenants, knowing that if found out he could be imprisoned for violating the RENT ACT, 1963 (ACT 220).
I know the law but I need cash – Landlord explains why he takes 2 years' advance (video)
A Ghanaian homeowner has justified taking two years' advance from renters in breach of the rent law, admitting he is aware of the law but obeying it will disadvantage him.
According to him, once the renter agrees to pay the two years' advance, the law is of no essence.
“I was taking two years. I needed the money. I know (about the law), but I needed the cash. The tenant came, and I said I will take two years for my room. They say, okay, I’m prepared to take it. I bring the contract, and we sign,” he said on live TV.
He however disclosed that he has voluntarily stopped accepting two years' advance payment and now resorted to one year, with plans to reduce it to six months to avoid a situation where the money loses value before the tenancy elapses.
“It goes with the economy. I go to the market. For now, if I take two years, I will hurt myself. Now, I’m not taking two years again. I take a year. I will even drop it to six months. If I take two years, by the time the rent expires, the value of the money will have dropped,” he said.
The law says a homeowner must not take more than six months' payment in advance from a renter but due to lack of enforcement, the law is always abused to the detriment of renters.
The Rent Control Department, an agency under the Works and Housing Ministry which has the mandate to enforce the rent law to protect the interests of both renters and homeowners is handicapped due to logistical financial constraints. It has not been resourced adequately to discharge its mandate.
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