By Trevor Makonyonga
The government on Tuesday resolved that tenants in both commercial and residential areas be not evicted for non-payment of rentals during the lockdown period.
This was passed in a cabinet meeting which sat yesterday, 28 April 2020.
The cabinet agreed that during the lockdown, no one can be evicted over non-payment of rentals and that rent money would be paid up in instalments.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Nick Mangwana tweeted one of the resolutions, “Cabinet has resolved 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 the payment of rentals due for those months.”
The Cabinet also resolved “that any unpaid rentals due for the period from April to end of the lockdown be paid in equal instalments after the declaration of the end of the lockdown period together with the rental payments due for those months and that all rent deferrals shall be free of any interest charges or penalties of whatever nature.”
It was also resolved also that, “homeowners or landlords obliged to make repayments on their properties or on any other property to which the rent deferrals apply shall be entitled, in respect of their mortgage obligations, to similar relief mutatis mutandis which will apply to tenants as set out in sub-paragraphs, above in respect of their mortgage obligations; and that His Excellency the President will present a COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Stimulus package in due course.”
This decree comes at a critical time where the economy is largely informal and most landlords are pensioners who rely heavily on the rent money. It is as such critical also that the government intensifies relief programmes during this lockdown.