Lockdown misery as Govt-owned building increases rentals

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GOVERNMENT owned Zimdef building has increased rentals by 90 percent citing “the current economic environment” even as Cabinet has imposed a moratorium on evictions of tenants delaying rent payments during the lockdown.

In a letter to tenants gleaned by Zim Morning Post, one Engineer D Maringa acting on behalf of Estates, Engineering Works and Projects Manager for CEO Zimdef House, notified that rentals had been increased upwards effective May 1.

“This letter serves to advise that due to the current economic environment and in terms of clause 7.1.4 of the Lease Agreement your landlord regrets to advise that your monthly rent has been reviewed with effect from 1 May 2020,” the letter reads.

Tenants who spoke to Zim Morning Post said they returned to work after the partial lifting of lockdown regulations to discover rental review letters slipped underneath their doors.

“They are pestering us for payments of hiked rentals despite president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s moratorium,” said one tenant who requested anonymity fearing reprisal.

“Some companies have not opened because of the lockdown but they are being called to come and pay the new rental fees,” the tenant added.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa last month told a post Cabinet briefing that government had moved to bring relief to tenants during the lockdown.

“Further measures taken include the following, that His Excellency the president consider promulgation of Presidential Regulations to give relief to both tenants and landlords during the lockdown period. That both residential and commercial properties be afforded a moratorium on evictions in respect of applicable lease obligations due for the period from April to the end of the lockdown including payment of rentals due for those months,” Mutsvangwa said.

“Rent deferrals should be free of any interest or penalties of whatever nature,” continued the recommendation.

Zimbabwe has been under a coronavirus lockdown since March 30.

As at 18 May 2020, Zimbabwe had 46 confirmed cases, including 18 recoveries and four deaths.

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