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Ghanaians Freezing to Death in Rented Accommodation in London

Rockson Adofo
9 December 2011 | Diaspora (UK & Ireland)

Ghanaian property owners overseas can often be greedy and very bizarre. Unlike their Caucasian and Asian counterparts, they are more infatuated with collecting and keeping the totality of their rent payments without carrying out any necessary or urgent repair works on the house, flat or accommodation so rented out. Very sorrowful information reaching me confirms how disgusting and extremely callous some of these estate owners are.

A Ghanaian proprietor in one of the estates in the Hackney suburb of London where blacks of all nationalities abound or agglomerate as residents is subjecting her Ghanaian tenants to inhuman treatment. The water boiler in the three-bedroom flat that supplies the tenants with hot water for their daily household needs and central heating requirements has been out of service for almost the past five months. These tenants have been grappling with this most dismal situation in the usual detestable schizophrenic Ghanaian way of thinking and concluding issues, "God will provide".

Presently, the atmospheric temperature in London has dropped to lower single digit degrees Celsius. The weather is very cold outside and will be worse inside apartments without heating. This female property owner (name temporarily withheld) who does not give a toss about the welfare of her tenants but her rent income, is never ready to repair or install a new boiler in the apartment. She is leaving the coward tenants to battle out their fate during this biting autumn/winter season.

Not long ago a severe cold knocked down a child in the house. He started coughing and sneezing. The parents had to rush him down to Hackney Central Hospital. He remained ill for over a week. When the property owner was informed of how the chillness in the flat has adversely affected the child resulting in his illness and coughing, she sarcastically answered, "everyone is coughing, whether old or young and I am also coughing" With this cruel response, she had meant to tell them she was not ready to replace the broken boiler.

As nonsensical and very unfeeling as she could be, she has advised the tenants to light up candles and their cooking gas stove to help warm the apartment if possible. She goes on to say she may go into the streets to look for discarded electrical convectors to take to the tenants. She is never ready to replace or repair the broken boiler even though the weather temperature is nearing sub-zero.

I wonder how some Ghanaian tenants can be that daft in no mean place as London. Are not these the very people who proceed to Ghana to lord it over people as having come from the "Long John's country", the land of the repository of wisdom, and therefore are wiser? Why cannot they take this cheating shortsighted property owner on? There are laws in Britain governing tenancy of accommodation. The property owners are obliged to repair so many things when they breakdown during ones occupation of an accommodation as tenant. The woman is obliged to replace the boiler, especially in this biting winter condition. The tenants are to contact their local Council, thus, Hackney Borough Council, to notify them about the condition of their apartment. Despite the fact that the property is not the Council's, the Council can still intervene to get issues resolved quickly.

I suggest in the interim, the tenants should use part of their rent payment to buy them electrical convectors and to recharge their electricity card or key. The tenants should never reimburse the owner of the flat any money so spent keeping the flat warm for the entire duration that the boiler remains broken. This is because through no fault of theirs but the crafty negligence by the owner they are to pay additional unbudgeted cost. As I write, some of the occupants of the flat are ill and taken days off work. Their employers will not pay them during their absence from work as they are on wages and most companies only pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), which is a paltry taxable £12 a day to their sick employees. Yet, the property owner is still collecting the rent due her from these sick tenants.

Will the Ghanaian FM radio stations in London please invite the Ghanaian lawyers who come on air to give free advice to come to educate these tenants on their rights? I understand the woman has rented out the three rooms in the flat to three individual tenants, going by rooms. Is this the reason why they cannot find a common ground to tackle this crook calling herself a landlady?

Ghanaians' "annye hwee, fa ma Nyame" and "Nyame bekyere" attitudes will kill them. This is the very reason why laws are not working in Ghana and hence, the insurmountable problems confronting Ghana as a nation and Ghanaians as a people.

I am an investigative freelancer. I am ready to publish your true stories.

Rockson Adofo

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