Q&A: How Do I Deal With a Difficult Tenant?

People rent properties for several reasons. One of these is the mere fact that they cannot afford to purchase their own property. This need has increased the demand for property rentals, especially in areas close to the Central Business District of Accra. The demand has made leasing out properties one of the most lucrative businesses in the country.

In their quest to rent out properties, most landlords are faced with varied situations, including difficult tenants. In this Q&A, we provide landlords with tips on how to deal with these problematic tenants.

Q: Who is a tenant?

A: A tenant is anybody who rents and occupies a property for a period of time. Before a person becomes a tenant in Ghana, they need to sign a tenancy agreement, which lists rules that govern the agreement of the occupant.

Q: What comprises a tenancy agreement?

The tenancy agreement includes the rights and the privileges of both the landlord and the tenant. It also includes the name of the tenant, the property address, the rental charges, payment mode, tenancy duration and the obligations of both the landlord and the tenant.

Q: What makes a tenant difficult?

A: A difficult tenant is any occupant who goes against the tenancy agreement, someone with a questionable character, a nuisance or anyone who causes trouble. One of the challenges most landlords face in Ghana is the failure of tenants to pay rent on time or even at all. Any tenant who refuses to pay his rent is considered to be difficult.

Q: Can I forcibly eject a difficult tenant?

A: No. A landlord cannot eject a tenant without notifying the Rent Control Office. Landlords can only serve tenants with notices when they need tenants to vacate their property for repair work purposes. According to the Regional Rent Control Officer – Eastern Region, Philip Skido Deh: “Even in that instance, the tenant needs to be served with at least a three-month notice.”

Q: What steps can be taken when faced with difficult a tenant?

A: The first step to resolving any problem with a tenant is to speak to them. If the tenant does not pay any attention, after several attempts, the next step is to involve other people. If this is still not successful, the next thing to do is to lodge a formal complaint to the Rent Control Department, who will investigate and take an action on behalf of the landlord.

“If your tenant is a nuisance or has a questionable character, you cannot even report him to the police; all you can do is to lodge a formal complaint with the Rent Control Department.” Philip Deh added.

Q: How can I avoid a problematic tenant?

Before a property is rented out, it is important the landlord investigates the background of whoever they are giving their property to. Information such as the family size, profession and if possible, the rental history of the tenant should also be investigated.

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