HARARE – Landlords have been stopped from evicting tenants on both residential and commercial properties after the government decreed that the payment of rentals for the month of April and the duration of the coronavirus lockdown can be deferred.
The decision, which does not stop landlords from demanding the deferred rentals after the end of the lockdown, was announced following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
“Cabinet resolved that unpaid rentals from April to the end of the lockdown can be paid in equal instalments after the declaration of the end of the lockdown period, together with rentals due for those months,” government spokesman Ndavaningi Mangwana said.
Ministers also resolved that the rent deferrals “will be free of any interest charges or penalties of whatever nature.”
“Landlords and homeowners who have mortgages to pay for which repayments depend on deferred rentals shall also be entitled to the same relief their tenants got in terms of deferrals,” Mangwana added.
Zimbabwe, joining its regional neighbours, announced a 35-day coronavirus lockdown starting March 30 in a bid to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than three million people in the world.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to announce before the lockdown expires on May 3 if it would be extended.
The lockdown has been devastating for most Zimbabweans who are self-employing in a highly informalised economy. The opposition has been critical of the government’s relief efforts which have left many families with a choice of staying at home and starving or venturing out on their daily hustle at the risk of arrest and possible infection.