In our last instalment, we looked at the fact that a good part of Zimbabwe’s urban populace does not own the houses they live in. They instead live as tenants. It’s a fact that a lot of real estate platforms tend to ignore as they choose to instead focus on those looking to buy or sell homes. As promised in this series we will examine some of the burning issues that affect relationships between landlords (property owners) and those who rent from them i.e. tenants (often called lodgers).
An issue that often comes up when one is renting or renting out a property is that of improvements, alterations and maintenance of the premises. Who is responsible for making sure that the premises are kept in pristine or good condition? Is it the landlord or the tenant? This question has been at the heart of many disputes.
Before we answer this question the first thing you need to understand is to distinguish between three types of expenditure that might be incurred in such circumstances:
Now that you know the types of expenses involved in an arrangement between a landlord and their tenant it’s time to explain who is responsible for what in terms of the law. As an aside, it is important to note that one thing that makes the law between renters and landlords complex is that there are many types of laws in effect. You have laws that are made by the government through parliament in terms of Acts. One such act is the Urban Councils Act for example and this law gives Urban town councils the right to make laws that are known as bylaws which also govern how tenants and landlords interact. Then there are also laws resulting from court judgements passed whenever there is a dispute and tenants and landlords take each other to court. There are numerous such court judgements and some of them can be viewed here.
Anyway here are generally accepted rules when it comes to who is responsible for making certain payments:
I hope you find this information beneficial. See you in the next instalment.
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