Ghana: What You Need To Know About Condominiums

Last Updated: 11 June 2018
Article by Emmanuel Mate-Kole

Condominiums or condo is a term used in the United States and most provinces in Canada. Condos are more complicated than buying and living in a single family home. You must understand what it is you are purchasing and whether the lifestyle will suit you and your family.

In this paper, I will attempt to help you understand what it is you are purchasing when you say you are buying a condo and proffer some advice on what you need to know about condos in a Q&A format. It is imperative that after giving you this information, you still consult your lawyer to discuss the documents and any conditions that might affect your lifestyle since the documents are usually prepared by the developer's lawyer.

1) What is a condominium?

A condominium is unlike an apartment. The difference between the two is purely legal.

A condominium combines the legal concepts of single ownership and tenancy in common, whereas an apartment only utilzes the concept of single ownership.

The concept of single ownership affords the owner of a piece of property the bundle of rights that go with real property interests. The bundle of rights are the right to use the property, the right to possess the property, the right to exclude all others from the property and the right to sell the property.

The concept of tenancy in common says that two or more persons hold an "undivided interest" in a property but all have an equal right to use the property. In one case it was held that a tenant in common unlike a joint tenancy have no right of survivorship and hold their property in undivided shares. "No right of survivorship" means that if one of the tenants in common dies, each interest may be separately sold, mortgaged or willed to another. This is distinguishable from a joint tenancy interest which has a "right of survivorship" and each interest passes automatically to the survivor.

Based on the foregoing analysis, it follows that a condo ownership has a dual nature; a condominium unit owner has ownership of his or her unit and, shares jointly with other unit owners, the ownership of the common areas, whereas an apartment owner has ownership of only his or her unit e.g. in a condo the sauna, swimming pool, gym, stairway, gardens, car park are common areas owned jointly, whereas in an apartment, these areas would be part of the apartment and the responsibility for managing these areas are not for the apartment owners.

2) What are the rules on condominiums?

Currently, there are no dedicated condominium laws governing the ownership of both residential and non-residential condominiums in Ghana, the condominium bill is the closest we have come to obtaining a condominium law but I understand the bill has yet to go for Cabinet's approval.

3) What are the advantages of buying a condominium?

A few advantages of the condominium model are:

  1. they offer conveniences such as saunas, swimming pools and fitness centers. These amenities are much cheaper when shared by a group of owners than by an individual property owner;
  2. individual owners are not directly responsible for maintenance on the building or the common areas. Monthly condo fees will take care of all expenses related to the repair and maintenance of the community facilities.

4) What is an association?

When you purchase a condo, you are obligated to join that community's homeowner's association and pay monthly fees for the upkeep of the common areas. Countries that have rules on condos require that the associations are registered to make them legally distinct entities ("a person") that has rights.

The model adopted by most countries is that their laws require the incorporation of a not for profit organization consisting of all the unit owners and formed for the purpose of managing and maintaining the condominium in accordance with the Bye-laws.

Thus, these associations are duly incorporated by the developer pursuant to a board of director's resolution authorizing the developer to incorporate the company and to appoint members of its board.

Membership of the association is limited to, and compulsory for all unit owners. A unit owner can become a member under the following circumstances:

  • upon subscribing to the regulations of the company or agreeing with the company to be a member; and
  • the entry of the unit owner's name in the register of members of the company.

Recently, the Companies Act has added a further requirement to include the names and particulars of beneficial owners of companies in the register of members. This means that now, all prospective owners of condominiums can conduct a search at the Companies Registry and the beneficial owners' names will be revealed.

This innovation by the Companies Act is laudable as prospective unit owners are able to make informed decisions about who they are entering into a co-ownership arrangement with and this could play a major role in deciding whether they would want to invest in that condominium or not.

5) What are the best practices for running an association?

  1. Keeping proper records of association meetings is important for many reasons: The Companies Act requires that you keep minutes once your association is incorporated. There are other statutory books that the association is required to keep and update. These are the member's register, register of directors and secretary; register of directors' interest and disclosures, register of directors' holdings. If these books are not kept and updated, every officer of the association is liable to a fine for each day that the default continues.

    Minutes keep track of issues of concern to the members of the association. They also ensure that members have a clear record of what the board and association have done.
  2. Compliance with the Companies Act: the Companies Act has extensive filing and other requirements that the association is required to comply with. The main ones are:

    1. the association is required to at least once in every year, deliver to the Registrar for registration, its annual returns. A company can do so within fourty-two (42) days after circulating the companies profit and loss account, balance sheet and reports. Annual returns include particulars of every member of the association and every beneficial owner of the association. If this return is not filed, the association and every officer in default would be liable to a fine not exceeding three hundred Ghana cedis for each day the default continues.
    2. the association must hold an annual general meeting each year, in addition to any other general meetings, at intervals not exceeding fifteen (15) months. If an annual general meeting is not held, the association and every officer in default will be subjected to a fine.
  3. Read your governing documents and follow them: The first thing that any director or unit owner of a condominium association should do is to read the sale and purchase agreement, the lease or deed of assignment, the bye-laws, the company regulations and any rules and regulations that make up the association's governing documents. A director and a unit owner's duty is to comply with and enforce the rules contained in these documents.
  4. Be aware of your community: Some people drive into their garage, walk from their car into their home and never wander beyond their unit. This should not be the case. Know your neighbours and residents. Look at the buildings. Examine the Balance Sheets and Financials. As a director and/or a unit owner, you have both a duty to yourself and the association to have a general awareness of the building(s), the community and the financial condition of your association.

6) I am buying from a developer, what do I look out for in all the documents?

Condo living is more complex than living in your own home. Thus, there are documents that govern how you can use the condo, and what you can and cannot do when you live in a condo. It is imperative that you review the agreements with your lawyer and do proper due diligence before you make a decision to buy a condo.

The main documents that you may encounter if you do purchase a condo are: the Byelaws, sale and purchase agreement, sublease or deed of assignment, regulations of the association, and rules and regulations (also called "House Rules", "Community Guidelines" etc.)

Byelaws: these contain greater detail about what a unit owner is required to do such as the right to vote, procedure for voting and the value of the unit owner's vote which is usually tied to the total percentage allocated to the unit owned by the unit owner.

In these byelaws look out for restrictions like the restrictions on pets. Now it is imperative that if a unit owner owns a pet he should come to terms on what happens to his pets when a pet ban has been enacted after he has purchased a home. In some jurisdictions if a pet ban is enacted after owners with pets have purchased a home, those owners will be exempt.

Look out for a provision restricting the renting or leasing on units. This is also called a "rental cap". Rental caps typically limit the percentage of rented units to between ten (10) and twenty-five (25) percent of all units. This is because owners are concerned that renters may not respect the community rules and take care of the property but this could affect a unit owner who is renting mainly for the cash flow.

Sale and purchase agreement/deed of assignment: these contain details about the payment terms, conditions that have to be fulfilled before full payment, representations and warranties.

The unit owner must ensure in the sale and purchase agreement that the developer is granting him everything he requires to perfect or register his interest in the unit. These things are: the strata plan (a site plan especially designed for condos, approved by the Director of Survey and endorsed with the Lands Commission's bar code at the back), a copy of a consent letter from the headlessor, a deed of assignment or sublease in which the oath of proof has been administered before the land registrar or a registrar of the High Court.

Without these documents, the unit owner cannot sell or mortgage the units to another.

Unit owners should look out for representations and warranties in the Sale and Purchase Agreement. A representation is an assertion as to a fact, true on the date the representation is made, that is given to induce the purchaser to enter into the contract but which do not become part of the contract. A representation which is false is called a misrepresentation and there are three (3) kinds of misrepresentations: fraudulent, negligent and innocent misrepresentation. Thus a buyer who was induced by a misrepresentation to enter into a contract can rescind it and may be entitled to claim damages if the misrepresentation is fraudulent or negligent, but not if it is innocent.

A warranty is a term of a contract which is not so vital as to effect a discharge of the contract. A breach of a warranty entitles the innocent party to sue for damages. For example as an inducement to a purchaser, the developer could represent and warrant that it has good title to the land, that it has full authority to enter into the agreement, that there is no litigation on the land, and that there are no bankruptcy proceedings against it.

Regulations of the body corporate: for our purposes, the regulations should state the objects of the company, the names of the first directors of the company, their powers, the extent of the member's liability and how unit owners can become members of the body corporate.

Rules and regulations also called "House Rules": these are the lowest level in the hierarchy of governing documents. These govern day to day living such as where you can park your car, when to observe quiet hours, what to do if you have a noisy neighbor and what the fines are if an owner does not obey the rules. These are meant to fill holes that are left in the byelaws and often changes overtime as the community changes.


This paper has summed up what you need to know about condominiums. As I stated earlier, buying and living in a condominium is more complicated than in a single family home. You must understand what you are purchasing by reviewing the relevant documents; and whether the lifestyle suits you and your family. Once you do the proper due diligence with the help of your lawyers and your documentation is in order, you will enjoy the condo without much hassle.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions