50 landlords face prosecution over lack of toilets

A total of fifty landlords  in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region, are being prosecuted for failing to provide toilet facilities for tenants occupying their premises.

Speaking to Citi News, Upper East Regional Rent Control Officer, Adam Yaminu said, between June and July 2016, out of the 5 landlords being prosecuted,  10 were found guilty and sentenced by the courts while the rest are still standing trial.

“We realized that most landlords in the municipality did not have toilet facilities which has led to the increasing open defecation and its effects in the region, so we started arresting and prosecuting the notorious landlords who after they were educated on the impact of open defecation and appeals to them to provide toilet facilities for their tenants  failed to do so. Currently, ten landlords have been fined by the Bolgatanga High Court and given time to provide toilet facilities for their tenants  or else risk remand or be Jailed.”

According to Mr. Yaminu, a penalty unit which is GH12.00 multiplied by the number of penalty units, surcharged on the offenders, will serve as a deterrent to others in reducing open defecation to the barest minimum.

Mr. Yaminu bemoaned the high rate of “refund to tenants” as the major problem in the region, and urged potential tenants to seek information and support from the rent control office.

“Refund to tenants by their landlords is the most worrying cases in our outfit, usually landlords will demand for two or more years advance for rent and when the tenants are relocating and demand their advance, landlords cannot payback. We advise landlords in their own interest not to demand for advance exceeding six months and tenants must resist the cohesion of some landlords into paying advance exceeding six months and report such persons to the rent control,” Mr. Adam stated.

He said the initiative is yielding results but inadequate staffing coupled with lack of rent control offices in the 12 districts with the exception of Bolgatanga, is hindering their efforts to deal with recalcitrant landlords.

Mr. Yaminu appealed to government for logistics and personnel to support his outfit deal with rent related issues.

According to a 2014 Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) report, the Upper East Region was ranked first, with 88.6% of the population indulged in open defecation due to the absence of toilet facilities in most households, unhygienic public toilets, culture and convenience.

By: Frederick Awuni/Citifmonline.com/Ghana