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Shop owners are abandoning their cutthroat landlords, maybe it’s time to reform

The real estate rent bubble is bursting

High rent has been a Ghanaian pastime for a very long time–even for properties that are visibly awful. That status quo is losing steam as a cursory look at the business landscape in Ghana shows so many people closing their shops.

There are ‘for rent’ signs everywhere in our cities and no one is asking why.

Few weeks ago, several high profile shops at top malls across the country threatened to leave the country if their rents kept increasing and in fact, according to a Graphic Online report, some have left their retail businesses at the West Hills Mall already.

It’s time to reform the Ghanaian psyche with respect to rent. So many had shops that were not doing well but kept paying high rent nevertheless and now they are abandoning the shops.

First of all, law enforcement must enforce the law on rent. The demand for advance payment like running a business is anything close to buying prepaid credit for a mobile phone must be stopped.

This is not a first world economy. Money is the biggest deal in our economy and the perception that people must have huge sums for rent before starting out must be checked. Urgently.

Second, the average landlord must understand that real estate is a long term investment so the rush to cash in immediately a property is built is self-defeating to say the least.

Landlords should work with the laws of the land that permits them to take up to 6 months rent in advance and make the small business environment softer for startups. When startups begin to thrive, they will not only have consistent streams of income, they will be helping build a country their own children will survive in.

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