THERE is currently a serious problem relating to lift maintenance in buildings countrywide, Real Estate Industry of Zimbabwe (REIZ) president Abraham Sadomba has said.
Sadomba says before the new monetary policy statement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono last year, the problem was generally accepted as shortage of foreign currency which was needed by lift maintenance companies to buy spares.
“We understand foreign currency for spare parts has been provided and yet the situation regarding lift maintenance continues to deteriorate,” he said. “We understand part of the problem is that a lot of the more qualified and experienced technicians have left lift maintenance companies for ‘greener pastures’ in the diaspora where they are doing the same work or sweeping the streets.”
Sadomba said he believes despite the availability of foreign currency to purchase spares the quality of lift maintenance would continue to deteriorate.
“The same applies to air conditioning maintenance and other plants relied upon by general industry,” he said. “While efforts are being made to get as much foreign currency as possible from those of our nationals working in the diaspora, equal effort should be made towards attracting our artisans back home. The government spent a lot of money on training these people over the years and it is very necessary that some of them are attracted back home to train others. I must hasten to say that the entire construction industry has a serious shortage of artisans at various levels.”
Zimbabwe is facing a severe shortage of professionals in all sectors of the economy.
Individuals have left the country for the diaspora due to economic and political uncertainty.
Sadomba said lack of confidence had also creeped into his sector.
He said while there was a huge demand for industrial, commercial and residential properties, no one was building.
“Institutional investors, public property companies, companies and individuals are all waiting for the right economic environment, at which they shall start developing,” he said. “The construction industry needs a careful study to see how the monetary authorities can assist in getting the various actors in the industry to start developing industrial and commercial buildings. We believe removal of the rent control legislation for residential properties will open the door for all players to build residential properties.”
There has been a tiff between estate agents and tenants over rent increases.
Tenants say landlords are now increasing rent almost every month at a time when the economic situation is extremely tough for citizens.
They have called upon government to regulate the rent increases.
“Rent control for residential properties is no longer the answer to reduction of rents,” Sadomba said. “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. An increased supply of houses to rent will eventually cause a reduction in rents.”
He said it must always be borne in mind that not everyone needs a house to own.
“A number of people will prefer to rent,” Sadomba said. “Renting is a viable proposition as long as there is an adequate supply. In short there is no need for rent control for residential, industrial and commercial properties as there is adequate legislation in place to deal with any unfair or unjust rental demands.”