'You Either Pay More Advance Rent or You Move Out': Landlords'/Ladies' and Tenants' Dilemmsa in the Low-income Housing Market in Accra, Ghana
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Policy-makers world-wide are concerned about severe housing problems experienced in cities of the developing world. This paper examines the rental housing situation in Accra, Ghana. It presents findings of a qualitative investigation of the experiences of property owners (n = 21) and tenants (n = 23) in an informal private housing market that caters to the housing needs of an expanding section of Accra residents but lacks an institutional framework for regulating landlord/lady–tenant relations. The specific focus of the investigation is on perceptions of an intensifying tenancy management practice called the advance rent system. Overall, the findings reveal severe rental housing pressures and conflicting relations between renters and property owners rooted in asymmetrical perceptions regarding this system. The paper describes the conditions that shape landlords/ladies’ behaviours towards renters and their reactions to what are generally perceived as fraudulent tenure terms that property owners arbitrarily impose on tenants in this market. The paper concludes by suggesting policy recommendations to mitigate constraints plaguing a dysfunctional rental market system.