The government’s moratorium about rentals ‘freeze’ has set tenants and landlords on a collision course due to the misunderstanding on what the law entails.
It was announced that as long as the lock-down is in place, no matter how long it takes. This effectively means all affected by the lock-down cannot pay rent until after the lock-down
Many had thought the rentals have been scrapped for the period and landlords are now having trouble receiving what is due to them even from those going to work.
This has prompted government to warn tenants in both residential and commercial properties to risk being thrown out should they not cooperate. For now, those who are not receiving any dues are not compelled to pay rent by landlords or an act by proceedings in a court of law
A house owner at South world in Bulawayo said he had a tough time in the hands of reluctant tenants: “They said they will stand by government directive that they should not pay rent but what is surprising most of them are working during lock-down, a clear explanation is needed because the fights won’t end”.
Mqondisi Mabhena who is a tenant in Emganwini insists rent should not be paid ” The world is on a standstill, everyone sees that and it is insane to ask about money in the midst of a crisis. Even those going to work should be spared now and forever. I am not willing to pay until things settle to normal” he firmly said.
However commercial law experts have warned like-minded individuals that they risk arrest.
Statutory Instrument 96 of 2020 Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) was put in place to protect mostly those who have lost source of income following cabinet recommendations.
Most Zimbabweans are in the informal sector that remains closed until the 17th of May or even more.
This decision has been criticised by many as a move by Governmemt to shift its responsibility to citizens who also rely on these rentals to get by .