Health workers at the New Edubiase Government Hospital in the Ashanti Region say the incessant threats of eviction from landlords in the area are gradually affecting their morale.
Landlords at New Edubiase have reportedly threatened to evict health workers from their houses for fear of being infected with COVID-19.
Medical Superintendent of the New Edubiase Government hospital, Dr. Allan Tiertoore, in an interview with Citi News said the development is worrying.
“There were reports from some staff that landlords are threatening to eject them. No staff has been tested with COVID-19 but some landlords in the communities think the disease can be contracted in their house because of healthcare workers. So they don’t want health workers to be in their house. If one worker is ejected it will become a community issue. So all we are doing is to get the issue before those who matter so that the people who are making those threats will be brought to book for them to stop.”
Evictions over COVID-19
The outbreak of the Coronavirus in Ghana put some tenants in a difficult position after it emerged that property owners wanted to evict them because of the risk of contracting the disease or their inability to meet their rent obligations.
But the Ministry of Works and Housing said government has the capacity to cover the rent of such persons.
Sector Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea who spoke during a press briefing, did not indicate how much money the state had for such an intervention.
“If someone should push that if people have no place to live as a direct result of the COVID-19 challenges should have their rent paid, we should be able to absorb it. We have the financial space,” Mr. Atta Akyea stated.
The Minister, however, said his office was yet “to hear the wholesale eviction of tenants.”
If any reports, came to his attention, he said his outfit “will get the feedback and handle it. Let’s see if there are numbers. We shouldn’t just wave our hands and say we should pay the rent of people who are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 numbers but if we see the numbers, we will see what we can do.”
Call for sympathy
Mr. Atta-Akyea, during his presentation, also called for sympathy towards tenants who may be under financial strain because of the economic downturn caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The law, for example, allows for tenants to be evicted for not paying rent within one month after the rent is due.
But such a course of action will be un-Ghanaian, the Minister intimated.
“If where you are supposed to stay poses challenges because of the bad behaviour of a landlord or landlady, it will be extremely un-Ghanaian.”
“How is it going to work in this COVID-19 environment if landlords with commercial appetites start evicting tenants from these premises? That would be very un-Ghanaian,” Mr. Atta Akyea said.
He also cited what he called President Nana Akufo-Addo’s “utmost care and generosity” during the pandemic and said, “landlords are entreated to extend similar treatment to tenants.”