Rent Control Department cries about neglect by government
The Rent Control Department, an agency of the Ministry of Works and Housing, has said that the current logistical challenges at the department are suffocating it in discharging its responsibilities.
The agency, under the Rent Act, 1963 (Act 220) is to work cooperatively with property owners (landlords) and tenants to promote optimum peaceful co-existence through education, reconciliation while enforcing compliance to rent regulations.
Nonetheless, the work of the agency, according to the Chief Rent Control Officer, Twum Ampofo, has been bedevilled with a myriad of issues, chiefly among them being that the department currently operates with only two cars in all the 16 regions of the country.
The department also lacks modern technologies to speed up its work, in addition to inadequate budgetary allocations, all of which, Mr Ampofo, said, was adversely affecting the department in the handling of rent issues.
He, therefore, made an appeal to the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye to inject some capital investment into their operations, when he paid a working visit to the staff and clients of Rent Control on Tuesday, August 10.
“Nationwide, we are having only two vehicles, which are effective, so if by the help of you (Mr Asenso-Boakye), and the ministry, you can provide us some, especially those in the regions that will help us monitor those at the district level. That is the most important need for now,” Mr Ampofo told the sector minister.
Works and Housing Minister responds to the plight of Rent Control
The sector minister, Mr Asenso-Boakye, responding to the concerns raised by the Rent Control, said the government was concerned about their plight and would address them.
On the issue of modern technologies to facilitate their operations, he said, work has commenced between his Ministry and the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation to automate their operations.
“I have had the opportunity to come here to experience it (the challenges confronting the department), and I am happy to say that even before visiting here, we have started the process of the digitisation of the operations of rent control,” he said.
There is a whole committee working on it from the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation and also my ministry – the works and housing ministry.”
“This is very important and critical because I have realised that you people still use the old and rudimental methods of working and collecting data. This is impeding the work of the Rent Control Department, and we must abolish it,” he told the team.
The sector minister also noted that a review of the rent law was underway, adding that the reforms that would be made would transform the operations of the department and make renting in Ghana more convenient.
“I can assure you that we as a government are concerned about the increasing rate of rent challenges faced in the country as a result of demand and supply,” Mr Asenso-Boakye.
Gov’t to digitise Rent Control Department’s operations
Last year, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia announced the plan of the government to move the operations of the rent control department from the predominant paperwork to a digitised process, after paying a visit to them on July 15.
Having observed their operations, and appreciated the operations of the department, he told them that the government would transform their operations through the government’s digitalisation drive.
He indicated that with the digitisation of the processes of rent control, property owners and tenants would be able to register and submit their tenancy agreements electronically.
“This will reduce the queues at the office and enhance efficiency. Each property will be uniquely identified by the digital property address. From next year, all complaints by tenants or landlords can be filed online,” the vice president said.
Regarding rent advances, Dr Bawumia hinted that the government would introduce a new programme to bridge the information and financial gap between tenants and landlords.
He opined that the programme would enhance the creditworthiness of tenants, thereby reducing the need for large rent advance requests by property owners.
“The government will also be focusing, going forward, on increasing the stock of low-income social housing for rent,” he said.