Landlords cry foul as tenants fail to pay May rentals  

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By Makanaka Masenyama

AS the harsh economic situation takes a toll on tenants countrywide, landlords who survive on rentals from the same tenants have called on government to help them (landlords) with some basic commodities to ease hunger.

The government declared national lockdown period now set to stretch over seven weeks has cut many tenants off their sources of income.

The situation has seen them fail to pay their April rentals.

In interviews with weekend, some residential landlords said failure by tenants to pay their rentals has also exposed them to starvation.

“I am a pensioner and I live through money I get from my houses,” said one Lovemore Tembo who lives in Domboshava.

“I cannot afford basic commodities and some medication for my ailment.

“I feel government must fulfil its promises of assisting people who have been left exposed by the lockdown period.

“While we would want to stay in harmony with our tenants, the current situation is making it difficult because of rental issues.

“At least we have to meet halfway so that as landlords, we can also survive.”

Government recently barred any home evictions on tenants who failed to meet their rental obligations after they could not work during the ongoing lockdown period.

Some landlords feel this has led to some tenants taking advantage through failure to pay rent.

One Mary Gumbo, a widowed landlady residing in Harare’s Hatcliffe high density suburb, is another property owner who is feeling the effects of the crisis.

“My husband died in 1980 leaving me with our children,” she said.

“Now government has just made my life worse as I cannot collect money from my tenants who have delayed on rental payments claiming they were being protected by government.

“Government is failing to protect its people…hunger will kill us.”