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Accra’s Rental System is Designed to Break Tenants

Ghana’s government has announced a loan scheme to help tenants pay the hefty advance rent (often covering two years) to private landlords. Advance rent is also prevalent in several other African countries. The Ghana Rent Act of 1963 (as amended) states that a deposit of six months is the maximum that a landlord can request from a tenant. This national rental assistance scheme will embolden landlords to keep charging the two-year advance rent which is illegal in terms of the Rent Act. The Ghanaian government presents the rental assistance scheme as a way of assisting tenants struggling to pay the advance rent. Scholars have highlighted several problems this advance rent payment poses to renters. Young people on low incomes are especially vulnerable. They have little choice but to accept these punitive terms. As a consequence, they become saddled with enormous debts.