These Apartments are Like Tomatoes on the open Market
As a young professional who just got employed, I was filled with so much joy until reality dawned on me when I started searching for accommodation. I live in Odumase but work had me move to East Legon in Accra.
During my search, one of the landlords told me to bear in mind that anyone with a two-year rent advance could come for it at any time and so he wasn’t going to reserve any for me. Meanwhile, the location of the apartment was perfect: easy access to the main road, very close to my work place (15 min ride), less frequent “dumsor” and running water. Mhhh! I really needed to get the apartment so badly.
Raising an amount of 10,800 Cedis for my rent was the only thing I could think of as the days passed by. My bank was so keen on creditworthiness. I called family and friends and was eventually able to raise half. I went back to renegotiate with the landlord only to be told the apartment was taken. You can imagine the disappointment and frustration at this point.
Having no other choice, I started the search all over again. However, this time around, I got a real estate agent to help in the search. Within a short time, he found me three options but the terms of payment for all the three were not different from the terms of the previous apartment I lost. I was back to square one, the struggle to get the money to pay for my accommodation continued.
Meanwhile, I had to start work and was forced to move in with my friend who lived in a small single room with her sister. The daily transportation against my monthly salary was not sustainable. This continued for 4 months until finally, I moved to my own rented place.
Since then, I have met a lot people who have gone through similar or worse but unlike me, some of these people are still struggling to rent a place of their own. This got me wondering, why do we think a young professional straight out of school, should be able to raise a two-year advance payment?
The Rent Control Act 1963, (Act 220) under Section 255 says that no landlord has the right to take rent advance for more than three months for residential and six months for commercial purposes. However, the reality is, apartments are like tomatoes on the open market, somebody else would pay the 2 years rent.