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National rent assistance scheme is for masses

BY: Daniel Kofi Awuku-Asare
File photo
File photo

The burden of accommodation rental in Ghana, especially in the cosmopolitan centres, is a topic that needs no further embellishment.

The realities of the socio-economic climate, predicts sufficiently, the challenges, which the overwhelming majority of the people are confronted with, when it comes to renting of accommodation. The challenge itself, could be categorised into the following sub-headings:

The availability of accommodation, insufficient financial resources or economic deprivation of the people in the demand bracket, accessibility and middlemen role (agents) and rental advance collection practice.

The greatest challenge is the notorious practice of advance payment collection under the accommodation rental practice in Ghana, where the affected population bracket is compelled to make a two to three-year advance payment before they can secure a piece of property or apartment for a home.

To compound this challenge is also the fact that many of these low to middle income earners themselves, do not have ready access to credit facilities because of stringent measures operated by the financial institutions in one’s bid to acquiring these facilities, at the time when huge resource is needed to secure a home on short notice.

Policy prudence

Public policy prudence requires accountability, civic virtue and public acceptability. Rent control regulations and the law, have not pushed the interests of the woefully affected populace, radically enough in the face of these outlined adversities.

It is in this light that the Rent Act (Act 220) and the Ghana Housing Authority Bill have been given a critical review by the Minister for Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, together with stakeholders to address the pernicious cycle of the accommodation and rental challenges that has strangulated most.

The introduction of the National Rent Assistance Scheme in the policy offers relief to the overwhelming majority of the affected people in this bracket of demand for accommodation.

“There is the need for the government to offer protection to low-income and vulnerable prospective tenants from the abuse and arbitrary actions of landlords, while offering incentives to stimulate private sector investment”.

That was the remark by the sector minister during a colloquium to review the existing Rent Act (Act 220) and the Ghana Housing Authority Bill organised jointly by the Ministry and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) at Kumasi in July, 2022.

Rent assistance scheme

The National Rent Assistance Scheme itself is a policy direction that effectively and radically eradicates the notorious practice of Accommodation Rent Advance Payment, and opens the system up for easy access to consumer credit facility needs of the masses.

The policy is also purposeful in its holistic implementation in that it invites investment opportunities and investors in general into the real estate and housing infrastructural provision and development agenda.

It targets the legal elements, regulations and control mechanism in the supply chain market index.

SuCasa Properties, a relevant stakeholder in the Affordable Housing infrastructure provision agenda of the country, finds the legal architecture and the social policy element of the National Rent Assistance Scheme a relevant catalyst to the protection, promotion and preservation of its own complimentary Affordable Housing Projects to cushion the efforts of the government.

If the government’s Affordable Housing policies are anything to be attained, then the legal frameworks underpinning our housing infrastructural provisions and accommodation rental schemes must be reinvigorated and given the full force of the law for realistic implementation and the realisation of goals.

Public-Private Partnership is an initiative that must be given the blessings, unflinching commitments and the political will in this integrated development effort.

The writer is the Public Relations officer, SuCasa Properties Ltd.