Rent payment terms
One main issue in Ghana is payment terms. The country is among developing ones which have lost common sense as far as landlord requirements for rent payment terms. Except for some furnished or short-term housing and other exceptions, you will be asked to pay one (or rarely two) year(s) at the time of signing the lease. Many landlords might accept to negotiate the rent initially requested but most will almost never take less than a year in advance. This practice is in total disrespect to The Rent Act (Act 220) of 1963 which forbids landlords to require and receive more than six-month payments, but how can it be enforced when some government officials themselves ask one-year advance rent for property the own?
Owners of furnished apartments may accept three or six-month payments and serviced apartments and other short-term properties with higher rents are payable monthly.
Rent payment may not concern you if accommodation is included in your employment contract benefits. Other employers will pay the rent for you and deduct a negotiated amount from your monthly salary. If not, be prepared to put up a large amount of money at once (US$ 36000/29000 Euros for one year for a typical monthly apartment rent of US$ 3000). The service charge, if any, will be included in the pre-payment. Note that you may be asked to pay to an account located abroad, usually in the USA or the UK. We do not favor that at all.
The good news since 2015 when rental rates have started to go down is that many more landlords now accept six-month payments. However, one-year advance rent payments remain the rule.
The rent is normally due within 7 to 10 days from the signing of the lease agreement. Do not wait for the signing day to plan how you will proceed with payment and ensure that all terms (currency, exchange rate, tax issues, etc.) have been agreed, if not included in the lease agreement.
In rare occasions, landlords will accept to negotiate a payment plan. At several occassions, we have negotiated a move-in against payment of one or two month rent and payment of the remaining amount within the first month.
Landlords in Ghana requests advance rent payment but often no refundable security deposit. However, it applies to most furnished properties and more properties overall (usually one or a half-month rent).
Some rental markets are so competitive that landlords can be choosy about who they rent to in order to maximize the chances of having “model” tenants living in their properties. The paperwork requirements in such cases can be overwhelming and time consuming to assemble.
Luckily in Ghana, with landlords preferring to rent to expatriates or foreign companies and considering the rent payment terms, the situation is easy. Nevertheless, be prepared to show ID’s and give your employer’s contacts if the lease agreement is under your own name.
Cost of real estate services
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Lastly, be informed that landlords in Ghana are very cash oriented and that oral commitments have little value. The first tenant ready to sign a lease agreement will have its preference, regardless of ongoing negociations.
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