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A/R: Residents lament high cost of rent as housing deficit worsens

The provision of affordable housing for most Ghanaians still remains a puzzle successive governments have been struggling to solve.

In the Ashanti Region, those who appear to be adversely affected by this are persons living within the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and its surrounding districts due to the high cost of rent.

However, residents lament that an affordable housing project which has recently been completed by the government and SSNIT at Asokore Mampong to address the housing deficit in the Ashanti Region where they expect it to be affordable has turned out to be too expensive for the ordinary Ghanaian in the area to afford.

“What government has to do to help Ghanaians is that since many people have not been able to acquire their own homes and there are high rent charges, there should be measures in place to make the affordable housing projects truly affordable for the vulnerable,” Ibrahim Anyars, a resident lamented.

“I think, with the Asokore Mampong affordable housing project which is being given out at GHS98,000 per one-room flat is very expensive for an ordinary Ghanaian to acquire. People who would be in the position to afford would be those from abroad or very affluent persons. Such persons too will rather use that amount to acquire lands somewhere and put up a structure. If you consider an ordinary Ghanaian like a teacher or a nurse whose gross per annum will not be up to that amount, It would be impossible for such a person to acquire such a facility,” another resident added.

Ghana and Ashanti Region’s housing deficit

Ghana has an unenviable housing deficit. The situation in the Ashanti region is no better.

According to the 2010 population and housing census, the population of the region had a housing deficit of six hundred and twenty-one thousand and twenty-nine at 6 persons per Household of 2 bedrooms.

The statistics haven’t seen much improvement over the last 10 years as not much has been done in terms of investment in the sector.

Meanwhile, the population of the region has seen quite some growth, worsening the problem.

Residents in the Ashanti region heaved a sigh of relief when construction works began on an affordable housing project at Asokore Mampong over a decade ago.

Many people saw it as a solution to their accommodation related problems.

This project was however abandoned for a number of years as SSNIT was tasked to complete it and is now under its management.

The housing project has been named after the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

The Asokore Mampong Affordable Housing project also known as the Osei Tutu II estate is a gated area.

It is situated on a 50-acre land. It has 91 blocks. There are one thousand and twenty-four flats with 26 shops.

In all, there are 688 two-bedroom flats, 120 standard one-bedroom flats, and 216 special one-bedroom apartments.

The Osei Tutu II estate has a police post, administration block, central sewage system, a 24-hour water installation system, playing field among others.

The two-bedroom apartments cost GHS186,600, while 1 bedroom special costs GHS142, 500. The 1 bedroom standard flats cost GHS98,500 and the shops cost GHS168,000 each.

Though the project has now been completed, the concerns of the people remain the same as they lament the high amount they are supposed to pay for the houses.

The housing deficit in the region keeps getting worse each passing day. The residents have attributed the problem of high housing deficit mainly – inadequate mortgage financing, high cost of acquiring land, the defective land tenure system, rural-urban migration, among other factors.

Some residents in a Citi News interview have called on the government to find new ways of having a lasting solution to the housing problem.

Another major rent-related issue that both tenants and Landlords want to be addressed is Tenant-Landlord related disputes.

Some persons who visited the Asokore Mampong Municipality’s rent control department spoke to Citi News on some major issues they want addressed.

“People don’t go by the laws. There are three issues- if the landlord needs the room, he will come to you and inform as to when he wants you to leave the place. The second issue could also be when one finishes building his own house and decides to move in. When a tenant misbehaves, the landlord can also tell him that he needs the room and can even drag the person to the rent control department. When the matter goes before the rent control department and it’s not addressed properly, that’s where people tend to take the laws into their own hands,” a landlord disclosed this to Citi News.

“The rent control department and the government should put proper structures in place. Some landlords charge up to three years advance. How can we pay? Even after paying, they then come in to tell you that prices of goods and services have gone up so they want to increase the amount. They at times don’t go by the contracts strictly,” a tenant stated.

For officers of the rent control department, they believe they would be very effective once government provides them with the necessary logistics to enable them to do a thorough inspection to prevent instances where some persons do not get value for what they are paying for or offering.

Kwaku Bampoe is the senior rent manager for the Asokore Mampong Municipality.

“Logistics is a problem for the department of rent control. We have very good officers who are ready to work but because there are no logistics, you cannot do much. We would like the government in the future to look at that aspect to provide us with logistics. The internally generated funds are not that much. They have to raise it a bit and empower us logistically to discharge our duties. For instance, if we have to inspect a building, we don’t have vehicles”.

Based on cases that appear before him, Mr. Kwaku Bampoe is hopeful that when institutions such as SSNIT initiate some rent arrangements where contributors will have the opportunity of owning homes by making little contributions monthly, it will help significantly in addressing the challenge.

As many affordable housing initiatives in the country have not been able to achieve their desired results, stakeholders would have to come up with some long term policies that will help reduce the deficit drastically.

Source: CNR

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