The Association of Tenants of the Accra Mall is kicking against what they term as unreasonable demands from the management of the Mall.
This has led to the harassment of the tenants by the Mall Management since the renewal of a new lease term last year.
In a media interview, some members of the association revealed that over the years, especially in 2013, they had faced challenges as the Accra Mall management had tried to forcefully implement the terms and practices of South Africa, which are contrary to the Rental Act of Ghana.
They said tenants of the Mall are being charged in US Dollars against the Bank of Ghana directive that businesses should be transacted in Ghana Cedis.
The tenants said although an average rent increase should be between two to five per cent, management of the mall is demanding seven per cent increase.
“One example of such is Electricity Bills, which is charged by the ECG in Ghana Cedis, but the Mall management of the mall converts it into US dollars for tenants to pay,” a tenant said.
They disclosed that tenants are paying more than 100 per cent increment from an average of US 26 dollars per square metre five years ago to an average of US 55 dollars per square metre, which is contradicts the rental Act of Ghana.
“On top of this, management of the Mall are demanding that tenants now pay an average of seven to eight per cent of their Gross Turnover with the inclusion of only the Value Added Tax (VAT), which is on the high side,” they claimed.
The tenants noted that Security Deposits had been taken without interest and put into the landlord’s own account and that “this should not be the case as all security deposits should be banked in an escrow account to benefit both partners, and that, all interest borne on that account should belong to the tenant.
“The security deposit is the property of the tenants and should be kept in a secured account so that it does not become part of the landlord’s capital, which would be affected, by liquidation or bankruptcy or foreclosure of the landlord’s business.
Members of the tenants association also revealed that tenants are billed for the Mall’s late Payments, and that ‘When the Mall defaults in paying their bills on time and are charged reconnection fees, the amounts is shared for the tenants to pay.”
According to them, “tenants are being billed with the Mall Property Rate Charges. Since the introduction of the new lease agreement in 2012, the management of the Mall is using bullying tactics and divisive methods to dissolve the Tenants Association and threatening tenants with letters of eviction to achieve their goals.”
They added that “even though, most of us have made them aware of our reluctance due to the fact that most of the clauses are contrary to the regulations of Ghana’s Rental Act they keep demanding from us.”
The management of the mall, one Mr Steven Newman, Assistant Operations Manager and one Mr Olympio, Secretary of the Mall refused to comment on the issue.