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Opinions of Friday, 24 January 2020

Columnist: Emmanuel Mate-Kole

How to evict a tenant in 10 steps

In my experience as a consultant, I have had queries on what a landlord may do when his tenant refuses or fails to pay rent, is causing a nuisance or using a premises for an unlawful purpose.

In this paper, I will show you how you can evict a tenant who is refusing to pay rent, causing a nuisance and using the premises for an illegal purpose in ten (10) steps. The entire duration of the action could take up to three (3) months or earlier.

The steps are as follows:

1) Pick up a Complaint form (Form 7) from the general office of the Rent Control Department and fill the form with the facts that you believe would warrant an eviction of the tenant;

2) Submit the form to the Rent Office and pay fifty Ghana cedis (GHs50);

3) A summons will be issued inviting the respondent or tenant to appear before the Rent Officer at a specified date and time. This summons is to be served on the tenant. If the tenant does not appear after the summons is served on him, a new summons will be issued and sent to the police station closest to where the tenant resides and the police will be instructed to serve the new summons on the tenant to appear at the adjourned date until the matter is disposed of;

4) The summons does not usually contain information on where the case will be heard at the Rent Control Department, thus the Complainant can get that information from the general office of the Rent Control Department on the day of the hearing;

5) On the day of the hearing, the Complainant is required to drop the summons in a complaint box at the room where the case is to be heard;

6) The parties will be called into the Rent Officer’s office after the Rent Officer has picked up the forms;

7) The Rent Officer will listen to both sides and review their evidence before making a determination in a party’s favour;

8) If the determination is in favour of the landlord, then the landlord must pick up a reference form and send it to the District Court for the Magistrate to enforce the Rent Officer’s decision;

9) The District Court upon receiving the Rent Officer’s reference will issue hearing notices to the tenant to appear in court on a set date for the Magistrate to either adopt the Rent Officer’s decision or ask for the tenant’s side of the story before making a determination;

10) If the Magistrate makes a determination in favour of the landlord, then the landlord must apply for a formal decree from the District Court which may state the amount of rent to be recovered and if it is an eviction, it will state when the keys to the premises should be handed over to the landlord.

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