Cities and Habitats Limited has introduced a special lifeline package for civil servants that allows them to rent and own houses under the Planned City Extension Project’s Rent-to-Own scheme.
The Rent-to-Own scheme is a hybrid housing delivery system aimed at making it possible for low-income groups, particularly civil servants, to own houses just by paying rent for a stated number of years.
Unlike the mortgage system, which requires an initial bulk deposit and also piles up interest on money borrowed to purchase a house; and the existing rent system, which does not allow the tenant to own the house, this scheme does not require a bulk initial deposit, does not pile up interest on loan, and actually makes the tenant the landlord eventually.
The scheme also aims to make good planning and engineering for Ghanaians, and maximize spatial development for current and future needs, starting from the Ningo-Prampram District.
Speaking at a media engagement in Accra, Project Manager of the Planned City Extension Project, Daniel Ohene Aidoo, disclosed that Rent-to-Own is an income-responsive scheme that seeks to provide decent two-bedroom and three-bedroom semi detached homes to civil servants and government workers, in spite of their low incomes.
For the two-bedroom semi-detached house, applicants would be required to pay from ¢550.00 per month for a 25-year-period at a total cost of ¢364,967.76 and for a three-bedroom semi-detached the monthly instalments starts from ¢770.00 for a 25-year-period at the total cost of ¢509,754.12.
As the years go by the rent will be increased marginally by 10 per cent every year until the 11th year, when it remains stable till the 25th year and the occupant becomes the landlord.
Mr. Ohene Aidoo said interested applicants would have to go through housing cooperatives to register, so that in times of challenges with payment, the cooperative can be of support to the applicant.
“Our research has showed that if you belong to a housing cooperative where you pay your dues regularly, in times of trouble, the cooperative can hold the fort for you until you are up on your feet and resume payments by yourself.
“For instance, in case of a misfortune such as temporary loss of income or client becomes invalid or death, a member of the Housing Cooperative “in good standing” will be supported to recover, depending on the number of years that he or she has paid for the house,” he said.
He noted that apart from the existing cooperatives, even Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs), class or school mate groups and others can form cooperatives for the purposes of accessing the rent-to-own package.
The Project Manager recalled that the 2021 Population and Housing Census revealed a significant percentage of accommodation facilities in Ghana are either wooden structures, metal containers or uncompleted building.
This, he said, is testament to of the deplorable conditions in which several low income Ghanaian live in, saying that a significant of those in that bracket are civil servant and government workers.
According to him, there project will be extended to other parts of the country and there will be similar packages for private sector workers, media personnel and other identifiable groups soon.
Mr. Ohene Aidoo believes that rent and own scheme will change the status quo and also transform the housing sector in Ghana in a very significant way.
Meanwhile, he revealed that there is absolutely no support from government yet, in terms of funds, even though the project promises to address the country’s rising housing deficit.
The project partners are Cities and Habitats, Ningo-Prampram District Assembly, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and UN Habitats.