The Council of Indigenous Business Associations (CIBA), has appealed to Parliament to pass the new Rent Bill, 2020, to replace the existing, moribund Rent Act of Ghana (Act 220), which was passed in 1963 before the current Parliament is dissolved.
The association said the passage of the bill would make it more responsive to the current needs and circumstances of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana.
“The proposed bill would allow for more enforcement and to deal with the whole issue of rent advance payment and its associated problems.
That is killing a lot of our members.
“Imagine a business starter having to mobilise funds to hire a property for years be it shop or residential accommodation.
That will mean more than half the amount will go into the rent,” CIBA stated in a media release issued in Accra.
CIBA also argued that the new Bill, if passed into law, would significantly reduce the burden of exorbitant rent advance on the working class, especially those in the urban areas such as Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale among others.
The association has been advocating the passage of a new Rent Law since 2012, with support from the BUSAC Fund and its donor partners, DANIDA and USAID, all aimed at ensuring that its members get the needed support to grow their businesses to be able to contribute to national development.
According to CIBA, the revised Rent Act, 220, states that ‘a landlord who demands payment in advance of: a.
more than a month’s rent in a monthly or shortest tenancy, or b.
more than one year’s rent in a tenancy which exceeds six months .
as a condition of a grant, renewal or continuation of tenancy commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than 10 penalty units.
Yet, landlords demand contrary to the law.
Also, due to the influx of foreigners in the retail sector, they are ready to pay any amount for rent to the disadvantage of the local businesses, CIBA said.
“We envisage a new rent regime that is very friendly to the circumstances of MSMEs across the country being strictly enforced by the relevant state institutions in eliminating all the illegalities currently being perpetrated in the housing sector against tenants and releasing significant pressure on the working capital of MSMEs in the country to thrive,” it emphasised.