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22.04.2007 General News

2,722 rent cases pending

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The Senior Rent Officer of the Rent Control Department, Mr Fred Tawiah, has disclosed that there are 2,722 rent cases currently pending for hearing in Accra.

Speaking to the GNA, he said the Department is estimating close to over 10,000 cases by the close of the year. However, he said there are only two rent officers sitting on these cases which is delaying justice.

Mr Tawiah said most of the cases bordered on misunderstandings between tenants and landlords as well as tenants or both parties tending to breach their terms of contract.

Some also happened as a result of the payment of electricity bills, domestic chores and water bills.

Mr Tawiah, however, admitted there was the need for more rent control offices in the Greater Accra to cater for some of these cases and ease pressure on the existing two offices.

He said their attempt to get the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to offer them offices at every sub-metro had not been fruitful.

He says the proposed amendment of the Rent Act was a step in the right direction.

Mr Tawiah said this was because some of the laws were outmoded.

He said some of the functions of the rent officer needed to be reviewed, and given more powers to deal with issues that come to their notice.

Mr Tawiah noted that in the current law there was limited powers given to the rent officer in terms of dealing with landlords who refused to issue rent cards to their tenants.

"We need to be given the (powers) to deal with parties who flout the rent control laws," he said.

Mr Tawiah said because of the absence of these powers they are unable to deal effectively with some of the complaints lodged at their offices.

He therefore proposed a law that would propel any landlord, tenant or both to pay a fine for refusing to obey the decision of the Rent Control Department.

Mr Tawiah also advised the public to desist from paying rent advance to landlords before the completion of a building saying the building might not contain the amenities they requested.

He suggested that government made it a priority to provide accommodation for all civil and public servants, saying this would help address some of the accommodation problems.

Source: GNA

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