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01.10.2008 Regional News

Dispute over rent advance payment soars in Ashaiman


The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre in Ashaiman is to assist solve the soaring disputes between landlords and tenants over the latter's inability to pay a minimum of two years' rent advance.

Most of the tenants are low income earners and are finding it difficult to meet the demands of their landlords, leading to disputes.

The ADR in Ashaiman has recorded 136 rent cases, for the first half of the year 2008 as against 189 in 2007.
A document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema, signed by Mr Kingsley Kutiame, Mr Gabriel Atsu, Mr H.K. Mensah and Miss Justina Ativor, all ADR Practitioners, stated that, the Centre recorded a total of 259 cases between January and June this year of which rent cases topped the list.
Most of the landlords having problems with their tenants claim they are pensioners, who have invested their pension money into the buildings to enable them to make a living.
The document further noted “The unemployed and low income earners are victims in most of the tenancy disputes. Some low income earners weep at the ADR Centre after being given an ultimatum to vacate their places of abode due to non payment of rent.”
The ADR Practitioners stated that low income earners in the municipality could not access the Government's affordable housing programme as “it does not favour the low income earners whose pay is below GH¢ 100 a month.”
Other cases recorded during the period were 72 debt recoveries, 30 non-payment of electricity bills by tenants and 11 child neglect and maintenance cases.
The rest were four marital disputes, three land issues, two denial of paternity and one dispute on family property.
The document mentioned that 10 out of the 259 cases remained unsettled as at June 30.
The ADR centre received 234 complaints from the Ashaiman Township while 15 of the cases were received from towns near the municipality.
For the effective operation of the ADR, the Practitioners called for regular orientation courses for practicing mediators by the Judicial Service to bring justice to the doorsteps of the people.
They added that the ADR concept has proven to be very beneficial to most people, especially the poor, stating however that complainants were unable to pursue their matter further whenever respondents took entrenched positions and refused to comply with the agreed terms.