Mr Abubakari Soalihu, the Takoradi Principal Rent Officer of the Rent Control Department, has said homeowner’s refused to pay the eight per cent rent tax to the state is due to ignorance of the law.
He said most landlords take huge sums of money as rent advance from prospective tenants without honouring their rent tax obligation and entreated the Internal Revenue Authority (IRA) to intensify efforts to collect such taxes from homeowners to increase government revenue.
Mr Soalihu told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Takoradi that the IRA should liaise with the Rent Control Department (RCD) to facilitate the quick collection of the eight percent rent tax from homeowners
He said if such taxes are rigorously collected by the IRA, it would increase government’s revenue base and facilitate infrastructural development in the country.
“It will also sanitize the rent sector because landlords and landladies will not arbitrarily increase rents because if they increase their rent, then the rent tax will automatically shoot up, “he said.
He said this would compel homeowners to abide by the rent law, which stipulates that homeowners are to collect between one to six-months rent advance and not four or more years rent advance from prospective tenants.
Mr Soalihu entreated prospective tenants to look out for basic facilities such as toilets bathroom and kitchen as well as other necessities like water and electricity before renting any house.
The Principal Rent Officer said 80 percent of cases received at the Department concerned the non-provision of such facilities in their rented apartments and this often leads to disputes between tenants and homeowners.
He appealed to prospective tenants to refrain from renting uncompleted apartments because they would incur extra cost of renovating them.
Mr Soalihu appealed to government to resource the Department in view of its constrained condition it finds itself so as to perform its best.
He said as a result of the over 1.5 million housing deficit in the country, some homeowners had taken advantage to charge high rent advance, which makes it difficult for some prospective tenants to pay.
Takoradi District Manager of the IRA, Madam Freda Badger, said her outfit had been organizing educational programmes on the rent tax in the twin-city.
She pledged to highlight more on the rent tax payment by homeowners in order to generate more revenue for the state for infrastructural development.
Sekondi-Takoradi in recent years experienced hike in rent advance by some homeowners since the oil discovery.
Interestingly, some homeowners inquired from prospective tenants whether they work for any of the oil companies before renting their apartment to them.
This is a disturbing trend for prospective tenants whose financial resources could not meet the huge financial demands of such homeowners and therefore find it difficult getting accommodation.
This has compelled some private and government workers posted to the Region to sleep in offices as temporary abode for sometime before finding moderate apartment for rent.
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