RENT control for residential properties is no longer the answer to a reduction of rents, says Real Estate Industry of Zimbabwe (REIZ) president Abraham Sadomba.
“If rent control is removed, you are most likely to see an increase in the supply of houses as some companies will find it attractive to build a housing scheme for their employees and others,” Sadomba said. “An increased supply of houses to rent will eventually cause a reduction in rents. It must always be borne in mind that not everyone needs a house to own. A number of people will prefer to rent.”
There has been a tug-of-war between landlords and tenants on the regular and sometimes sudden rent increases.
Bulawayo-based tenants, riled by the regular rent increases, brought in the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) to try and solve the issue, much to the dismay of REIZ members who said the matter was economic and should not be handled by politicians.
Recommendations were then made that increases be done quarterly, something tenants rejected.
Sadomba said renting was a viable proposition as long as there was an adequate supply.
He said there was no need for rent control for residential, industrial and commercial properties as there was adequate legislation in place to deal with any unfair or unjust rental demands.
“As an institute, our members are quite free to advise their clients and indeed members of the public of their right in the event that an agent makes rental proposals which are unacceptable,” Sadomba said.
“Our industry is generally geared to work with the monetary authorities in their quest to get inflation down. The issues surrounding complaints from industry and commerce have to be studied and addressed in a manner that will not affect the viability of the construction industry.”
Knight Frank meanwhile said the residential leasing market had seen substantial rental growth above the rate of inflation over the last two years as the availability of leasing stock has declined significantly.