About Me

My photo
Eco-chic 'serviced apartments' in Accra, Ghana: for cool vibes and laid-back business trips!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


A diligent, five minute Google search on property rentals in Accra will tell you two things about finding a short term rental in this city:
1. That short let accommodation in Accra is as rare as emeralds in a bag of chips; and
2. That self-contained housing in this sprawling capital city can be totally exorbitant ($2,000-$6,000 per month, unfurnished, not including utilities.)

So how do you find what you want, at a price you can afford?
The best advice for any new-comer to Accra, particularly a 'westerner', would be to ignore the misleading hype peddled by letting agents to promote certain areas, and to instead use your own commonsense and judgment.

It will quickly become clear to any experienced traveler that housing in Accra is as diverse and mixed as the racial demographic in this city these days. You should expect to find the full range of housing options and quality all within walking distance, and sometimes on the same road! You may even feel pity for the bewitched newcomer paying $6,000 per month to live in undeniable penthouse opulence, but who should not dare to look out of his window and onto, into even, the bubbling dense murk of the open storm drain below him. Especially, when just down the road, he could have overlooked the same magnificent gutter for just Ghc400 per month ($135) from his 2 room combo, aka 'Hall and Chambers'.

The curse of the inner city is already hitting the noses of central Accra residents: the colonial and inadequate infrastructure- such as roads, sanitation and waste disposal- is verging on total collapse under the unregulated explosion in residential construction. High-priced high rises have shot up on every half or corner plot available. The city is dirty, overcrowded, and after a good rain, pretty nasty. The stench from the gutter can be kept out by powerful air-conditioning, but the penthouse prince still has to leave his purple cushion sometimes, even if it is just to get into his air-conditioned chariot.

The deception of western expats goes to even more ridiculous levels when they are bombarded with 'advice' from 'executive residential agents' which warns them, fearfully, against the folly of living outside of specified ‘expat’ areas, and to instead try to rent as close to the airport runway as permitted by airport security. Such areas as Airport, Cantonments, Osu, and Spintex have become mini ghettos, where western expats greet each other with dazed glares and tones hushed by embarrassment as they compare their expense bills for the last month, and wonder where is all the money going? “OMG! Did you really spend $10,000 last month on housing ALONE? Are you living in a Palace?”… “No, it’s a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 7th floor apartment, with a pool...which we share with 100 other residents…”... “Oh!”

Cunning agents are feeding off the irrational fears of Westerners, which they have planted and constantly nurture, and are getting fat off obscene commissions. Western expats are even ignoring commonsense by rushing to live directly under the flight path of the airport runway, and seem oblivious to the damage being caused to their family's health by the noise and deadly jet stream pollution.

      So, what other choices do you have? Many- should be the honest reply. 
      1.Stop worrying about being ‘safe’. Accra, Ghana offers an unrivalled welcome to western expats and is as safe as anywhere you would live in New York, Brisbane or Paris…perhaps even safer.
2. Consider renting in different parts of the capital and outside of the reputed expat ‘safe zone’. Accra is not in Afghanistan, it is in fact nowhere near Kabul. There are other areas to consider which are not that much further, in ‘stuck in the traffic’ time, from wherever you are working or want to ‘hang out’. They are also greener, quieter and smell, and feel, cleaner. Consider: New Achimota, Haatso, Kwabenya, Pokuase ACP, Amasaman and more. There are no thumping nightclubs next door to keep you awake half the night; or bizarrely dressed ladies standing along the streets, and provoking a dozen questions from your amused children; neither are there greedy landlords looking to buy a first class pew in Heaven with your monthly payments…  
     3. Next, also consider your real needs while staying in Accra. If you did not live in a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom penthouse with shared pool...before in your home country, why do you need to live like that here? Simple question. Whatever your budget, you are always better off living well within it, and saving as much as you can.
4.   Never one to miss out on the opportunity for self promotion, you could consider a furnished self-contained flat such as the ones we offer at Legassi Gardens! The monthly rate is at least 1/3 of the lowest ‘expat’ inner city rate, and includes utilities, wireless internet and basic staffing. We also do rentals for any period, from 1 week onwards.
     5. Look for rentals which allow you a reduction in rent in return for you carrying out renovations on the property. Competent and competitively priced workmen are readily available and can put a property ‘in habitable condition’ in a matter of days, with the right incentives…
     6. Finally, be creative and broaden your scope in house hunting. Accra is full of potential, and you don’t have to lose an arm or a leg to live here.

Happy hunting and feel free to give us a call to check what we have available- 00233277522229 or 00233242703312!