Touted by many as ‘novel’, the National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS) was launched by the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, in Accra.
The move fulfils the NPP government’s 2020 manifesto promise on rent. The manifesto promise on rent stated that “To address the short-to-medium term market failures in the renter-segment of the housing market, the next NPP Government will establish a National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS).
In partnership with the private sector, the Scheme will provide low-interest loans to eligible Ghanaians to enable them to pay rent advances. These loans will be repaid monthly to match the tenor of the rent and will be insured to ensure sustainability. The government will seed the Scheme with GH¢100 million, which will be leveraged to crowd in additional investment from the private sector. The rent advance loans will be paid directly into the bank accounts of landlords, who would have to register with the Scheme.”
The government has set aside GH¢30 million as seed money towards implementing the scheme, which would be rolled out initially in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western, Eastern, Northern and Bono East regions.
What is the National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS)?
The NRAS is a financial support scheme that cushions Ghanaians to meet their rent demands.
According to Dr Bawumia, “The scheme will target individuals in the formal and the informal sectors with identifiable and regular income.”
The NRAS will enable Ghanaians with identifiable and regular income to apply, and when approved, the rent would be paid directly to their landlords, who would also be required to register with the scheme.
Dr Bawumia explained that in partnership with the private sector, “the scheme will provide low-interest loans for eligible Ghanaians to pay rent in advance. These loans will be repaid monthly to match the tenor of the rent and will be supported by a bank guarantee to ensure sustainability.”
The Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, has explained that the initial beneficiary regions under the scheme had been selected because data from the Rent Control Department (RCD) indicated that those six regions had a higher rate of rent advance-related issues. He said the government’s objective was to operationalise the scheme across the country.
The scheme’s operations have been outsourced to a private sector entity, Rent Masters Ghana Limited, which will be responsible for its day-to-day operations.
The Objective of the NRAS is “to Make Renting in Ghana more affordable and accessible for all Ghanaian renters without any equivocation. Our goal is to implement this scheme in all 16 regions of Ghana and offer our services to any Ghanaian adult who is employed with a company or self-employed and can make monthly affordable rent payments.”
Who qualifies to apply for National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS) loan?
To be eligible for the scheme, the applicant must show proof of the following minimum requirements:
1. Be a Ghanaian and possess a valid Ghana Card.
2. Must be an adult of 18 years and above.
3. Have verifiable employment and earned income.
4. One passport picture.
5. Must have a verifiable bank statement or mobile money statement.
6. Rent payable must not exceed 30% of the household income.
How does one apply for Rental Assistance?
Interested persons must go through three basic steps to apply for assistance.
Image: a screenshot of three basic steps to apply
Interested applicants must first visit the official website of NRSA.
- Click on ‘Apply now’ to create an account (sign up) with NRAS.
Image: Screenshot of information needed to sign up
- After successfully signing up, from a check-box, an applicant will have to
- Agree on paying a non-refundable application processing fee of 100 cedis.
- Be ready to provide a government-issued ID as a requirement of this application.
- Understand there is a Security Deposit payment required if the application is approved. This is calculated using the NRAS calculator.
- Next is to “click here to apply for your staff” or “apply for rent assistance for yourself.”
One must submit their biodata and other required information such as proof of identification, income, and employment.
In five to ten business days, the scheme will verify the application and supporting documents and determine one’s affordability and the ability to pay back. After the application has been approved, the Scheme will contact the chosen landlord, inspect the rental property, sign all tenancy documentation and pay the rent advance directly to the landlord.
The tenant takes possession of the rental property after that, and rent payment will always be due on the 1st of each month.
This report was produced under the DUBAWA Non-urban Journalists Mentorship project aimed at promoting a culture of truth and verification in non-urban newsrooms in Ghana with support from the US Embassy in Ghana.