Don’t use coronavirus circumstances to evict your tenants – Atta Akyea

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Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, Minister of Works and Housing, has asked landlords and ladies not to use the circumstances around COVID-19 as an excuse to evict their tenants.

The Minister reminded all Ghanaians of the President’s show of utmost care and generosity to citizens in these trying moments, urging landlords to extend similar generosity to their tenants.

Speaking at the Ministry of Information Press briefing update on COVID-19 on Tuesday, Mr Atta Akyea reminded all landlords and ladies of the rent laws and observe as such.

He said President Akufo-Addo also wanted all Ghanaians, including landlords to be law-abiding especially when the world was overwhelmed by the Coronavirus.

He said section 19 of the Rent Act 1973, Act 220, as amended by Rent Control law 1986 PNDC law 138, and Rent Control Amendment law 1986, PNDC law 163 gave a clear understanding of the behaviours that both tenant and their landlords should exhibit.

He said the law stated that when a tenant was in arrears of one month, he or she could be evicted by the landlord, also when a tenant becomes a nuisance or put up annoying conduct, he or she could be evicted, among other scenarios.

A rent advance exceeding six months could land a landlord or lady in a two-year jail term, the Minister said, adding that in all those circumstances, “the law does not encourage self-help but ones recourse was the district court or a court of competent jurisdiction”.

Mr Atta Akyea said as people were being admonished to stay at home, it would not augur well “if where you are supposed to stay is having challenges because of a bad behaviour of a landlord or landlady for that matter, it will be extremely unGhanaian”.

“How is it going to work in this COVID environment if Landlords with commercial appetites start eviting tenants from these premises. That will be very unGhanaian.”

He, however, cautioned landlords to be wary of potential tenants from foreign countries and to insist on a COVID-19 negative clearance before renting a house to a foreigner.

“We all know is that this pandemic has been imported so be careful that in the name of dollars you are not going to bring in a foreigner who hasn’t got clearance that he is not infected by the disease to stay in your premise”.

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