General News of 2014-03-07

Rent advance now one month in new housing policy

A new housing policy is set to be rolled out, banning landlords from charging tenants more than one month rent advance.

The policy will also relax the mortgage regime and make it impossible for landlords to vary rent contracts to the disadvantage of tenants.

The Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing which working on the new policy is confident it will address the huge housing deficit currently facing the country.

The current rent laws forbid home owners from charging rent advance beyond six months, but that law has been flagrantly disregarded. It has been breached to the extent that some landlords charge between one to four years rent advance, necessitating the new policy.

Deputy Minister for Works and Housing, Samson Ahi, conceded on Joy FM’s Top Story with Evans Mensah, Friday, that it would be “extremely difficult to implement” the new policy.

He is however counting on the support of all to execute what he termed “the best practice” in all over the world.

He noted that because the country has “no specific regulatory body” to check the issue of accommodation, the sector has become a “free for all operation”.

He admitted because people are now building and selling without recourse to any housing policy, a “problematic” situation has been created, which he said is “not fair” to fresh graduates seeking descent place of abode. This can trigger national security concerns, he stated.

Mr Ahi has therefore appealed to all to whole-heartedly embrace the policy as a “personal agenda” to educate everyone to buy into it.

The Deputy Minister also encouraged mortgage financing arrangements where financial institutions will purchase houses put up by real estate developers for beneficiaries who can use 20 to 25 years to pay.

Going forward on that, he said a stakeholders meeting was held last December where a workable solution was developed, and would be presented to cabinet for consideration.

Policy think tank IMANI Ghana had in the past done several studies about Ghana’s housing challenge. Its President Franklin Cudjoe, while lauding the new policy, said it is “a bit harsh” and would be difficult to implement.

Source: myjoyonline.com
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