Government has issued a stern warning to landlords seeking to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to siphon monies from tenants.
Landlords that take this path, the government warned, will be made to face the full rigours of the law.
Minister for Works and Housing Mr Samuel Atta Akyea issued the warning at a media briefing organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday.
He noted that President Nana Akufo-Addo’s comment that ‘the government can bring the economy back to life but what it does not know to do is bring the dead back’ should be the guiding principle in the relations between landlords and tenants.
Mr Atta-Akyea cautioned that the outbreak of the life-threatening coronavirus in Ghana has not nullified state laws that govern the relationship between landlords and tenants.
He indicated that per Ghana’s rent law, demanding rent advance exceeding six months could lead to a landlord being jailed to a maximum term of two years, a fine or both.
The Minister added that inducing a tenant to leave his abode through manipulations to inconvenience the person is also a criminal offence punishable by prison term or a fine.
He admonished the general public to stay at home as much as possible even amid lifting of the lockdown.
Mr Atta-Akyea however stressed that if the bad behaviour of a land is making such requirement difficult, it would be un-Ghanaian.
“How is it going to work in a COVID-19 environment if landlords with commercial appetites start evicting tenants from their premises,” he quizzed.
“That will be very un-Ghanaian,” he added.
Mr. Atta-Akyea warned landlords to be cautious of foreigners seeking their properties for rent.
According to him, it is mandatory to demand a COVID-19-negative test report from such foreigners before letting out rooms, houses and premises to them.
“We all know this pandemic was imported so be careful that in the name of dollars you end up accommodating a foreigner who has no clearance to show he is not infected by the disease to stay in your premises,” he noted.
President Akufo-Addo, he said, is demonstrating utmost generosity in this trying moment of the nation’s history and urged landlords to extend similar consideration to tenants.
“Any landlord who exploits the situation and falls foul of the law will not be spared,” he warned.
Meanwhile the Director of the Ghana Health Service has indicated that Ghana’s coronavirus case count has jumped to 1,671 with the death toll going to 11.
According to Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, 33 more patients have recovered, sending total recoveries to 188.
He stated that 1,461 are doing well with no symptoms and are currently responding to treatment while six cases are moderate to critically ill.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye noted that two of the six critically ill patients are at the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) while three are at Ga East Hospital.