The human costs of the Coronavirus has been felt both internationally and recently in Ghana with 8 confirmed deaths. The economic costs are also unravelling with rising unemployment and short term GDP contraction. While it’s too early to determine the full economic effects and impact on the residential market, the uncertainty surrounding the depth and duration of the crisis has had an immediate impact on business confidence, job security and the corresponding demand for short lets/Airbnb.
In Ghana we are already witnessing the impact on the aviation and hospitality sectors: most businesses are also decreasing staff working hours or sending staff members home. The impact on longer term tenants has not been fully unveiled but we believe in proactive dialogue between landlords and tenants to smooth the short term disruptions caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Government of Ghana has announced measures to try to cushion the impact such as tax holidays and ‘no-water bill’ for three months: however these can’t match the scale of more developed economies/European countries who have been able to make available billions of dollars in support packages in the form of fiscal stimulus packages, soft loans and mortgage holidays. That sort of safety net is not available in Ghana or other African countries.
Tenancy contracts are there to protect both the landlord and tenant in a transaction. However given the unprecedented nature of this Pandemic, tenant-landlord dialogue should be driven by practicality, empathy and equity rather than legal or contractual principle alone. Landlords should not be expected to solely shoulder the burden.