The huge housing deficit and poverty in the country have caused many more Ghanaians to seek accommodation and other apartments to put their heads in, as the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) puts the housing deficit at 1.8 million.
Most Ghanaians are not able to build their own apartment because of the numerous land litigation issues which have not been resolved over the years coupled with the high cost of land, difficulty in land registrations and the high cost of building materials.
There are Ghanaians with jobs but with meagre salaries sustaining them for feeding and buying basic needs. There are other groups also who have the means to build but cannot due to the endless land litigation issues.
With this, most turn to renting apartments to live in while waiting for interventions to secure their lands. In the cause of searching and hunting for the best and most affordable accommodation, there also exist uncountable challenges.
This web of challenges in the Real Estate sector of searching for accommodation and apartments has also brought in scammers and middlemen charging exorbitant fees sometimes called “Agent Fees”, raising the cost of renting and loss of money and resources.
Meanwhile, these challenges have persisted for decades without the institutions making inroads to avert the situation.
The most painful thing is when you have the money for accommodation but securing the best accommodation of your choice without high prices, due to agent fees. Another is the presence of scammers showing pictures of apartments as if they are the homeowners to entice individuals on the online platforms who are searching for accommodations.
Technology as trusted by many has been built to create an interface for apartment seekers and homeowners. Tonaton.com was created to make it easier for individuals to search for advertised apartments by homeowners, but this led to more scammers joining the portal and offering services that discredited the platform, leading to the sale of it due to inefficiency and lack of KYC’s.
In the wake of Blockchain, many have been sceptical of its use and the potential to create transparent and accountable platforms that allow users to use decentralized solutions to enhance trust. One such robust technology that uses a proof-of-stake algorithm to build systems of trust is the Cardano Blockchain Technology.
The Cardano Rent dApp for accommodation and apartments is being championed by a group of computer developers and private sector research consultants to curb the challenges associated with looking out for accommodation and apartments for rent.
The dApp on the blockchain would be a verification using the process of ATALA Prism for homeowners and accommodation seekers in a decentralized manner. It will eliminate scammers and the exorbitant accommodation agent fees to make housing more affordable for all classes of individuals.
In an interview with homeowners, about 76% of them expressed their joy for a credible platform that builds trust between homeowners and accommodation seekers to avoid delays in renting their homes.
A 45-year homeowner said, “if you do not give the apartment to accommodation agents, no one would know a home is been rented and the agents also inflate the cost delaying the process for someone to come and rent”.
Another homeowner disclosed that he saw his building being advertised without his knowledge at the time he was not giving it out for rent.
He said, “my building was on the internet for rent and I had no idea about that. I don’t know the number of people scammed in the process and these things must end.”
A feature by Mr Peter Bismark, Director of the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI)