…as landlords demand rentals in forex
Tenants in Harare’s residential suburbs and surrounding cities are crying foul over the hiked cost of accommodation which has risen beyond what they can afford, State of the nation has learnt.
House owners popularly known as Landlords are demanding rentals in United States Dollars from tenants especially civil servants who get their salaries in the local RTGS Dollars.
State of the Nation discovered through a survey that it is now almost impossible to find accommodation in residential areas that are close to Harare Central Business District (CBD) being charged in Rtgs Dollars since it has now become a trend that rents are being pegged in US Dollars.
A tenant needs a minimum amount of Usd$50 to rent a room in low residential areas like Hillside, Eastlea, Belvedere, and Avondale while Usd$20 and $30 is the minimum for one to get a descent room in high residential areas like Sunningdale and Warren Park.
The amount required however varies with the state of the house and the owner.
State of the Nation News gathered that some tenants are parting ways with Usd$80 per room in the low residential areas while those with properties with good security and facilities like boreholes and solars in Sunningdale and Warren Park may demand US$35 to US$40.
Speaking to State of the Nation News, one of the tenants who identified himself as Tamuka said living in the capital city is now expensive as all his earnings are now being diverted towards rentals.
“I am a civil servant who earns his income in RTGS dollars. For me to pay rent in Usd dollars it means I have to buy it from the alternative market where the rates are very high and everything i earn end up going to rentals which leaves me incapacitated to afford other basic needs like food and transport to report to work daily” he said.
Another tenant identified as Mai John called upon relevant authorities to intervene in this mess saying that living in Harare has never been this difficult since the day she became a bread winner to her small family of 2 children due to the high accommodation costs she is incurring.
“My friend, living has never been this difficult. My landlord started demanding Usd$200 from me to occupy her house here in Hillside which is close to my work place and now I have to fork out RTGS $4 100 per month to pay rentals using the current exchange rate on the parallel market. I have tried to look for alternative accommodation in High density suburbs near town but they are also expensive because the landlords there are also demanding forex and I will also need to factor in transport costs to come to work.
“Relevant authorities need to intervene and assist us because the situation is now unbearable”, she said.
State of the Nation contacted an official from the Rent Board who only revealed herself as Mai Maingehama who advised this reporter to write questions to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to get a response on the matter.
Efforts to get a comment from the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Joseph Mhakayakora were fruitless as his phone was not reachable by the time of publishing.
The government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development introduced the Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 which makes the Zimbabwean dollar the sole legal tender for transactions in the country. Citizens however seem to be defying the this instrument as they continue to demand forex primarily the U.S dollar for rentals and in the purchase of other basic commodities.