Community Questions

Top Rental Questions

Q: Do rentals attract VAT?

Rentals only attract VAT when the lessor of a property is a company whose income is in excess of 5k per month. Such companies are vat registered and should produce an invoice with a vat number to prove it. The only other possibility is that VAT is charged in addition to the commission where an agent manages the property. This only applies took the lessor.

 

Muzakir Sumar, Kennan Properties ms@kennanpropertieskn.co.zw

 

Q: What rights does the property owner have when a tenant terminates the lease and leaves half way through the agreed period?

They are required to give you notice in terms of the lease or legally at least 2 months. If they do not you can keep the security deposit unless you replace the tenant immediately, then that must be refunded as you would not have suffered any prejudice.

 

Muzakir Sumar, Kennan Properties ms@kennanpropertieskn.co.zw

  

Q: Where do you go if your former landlord is not giving you back your deposit you made when you started staying at the property? Is it not its supposed to be paid back when you vacate?

As long as you have agreed that there are no damages and the property is in the condition it was when you first took occupation, then you are entitled to full deposit refund within 14 days otherwise contact the Rental Board.

 

Alistair Headicar, Action Properties alistairh.aps@gmail.com

   

Top Buyers Questions

Q: Should I use an Estate Agent?

Buying a home is a very large event in life.  It’s not something that should be done without the help of a trained real estate professional.  There are many things that a real estate agent is responsible for to ensure everything gets completed accurately and timely throughout the transaction. Ensuring a buyer has secured a pre-approval from a reputable lender, ensuring contract dates are being followed, and negotiating on the buyers behalf to get them the best price for a home are just a few items that a buyers real estate agent is responsible for!  Without this guidance, it’s very easy for a first time buyer to make a mistake that can cost thousands of dollars. Also make sure the agent you use is with an EAC (Estate Agents Council) registered agency, if in doubt the EAC's information is available through our Downloads Section.

 

Q: Should I talk to a bank before looking at property?

The answer to the question is YES!  There are tons of reasons why you should talk with a bank and get pre-approved before looking at homes.  First and foremost, talking with a bank before looking at homes can help you understand exactly how much you can afford.  There is no reason to look at homes that are listed for $300,000 if you can only afford up to $200,000.

 

Q: Can I purchase a rent to own property?

Almost like trying to find a needle in a haystack?  So you can, but the probability isn’t very high. The same can be said about a rent-to-own property.  A common question from property buyers is whether rent-to-own's exist or whether an owner would consider that option.  They are out there, but there are some things that you need to know before agreeing to a rent-to-own.

 

When an owner is offering “rent-to-own” as a possible financing option, they are taking on a high risk since in most cases, a rent-to-own buyer has a credit score that is not impeccable.  Since an owner is taking a higher risk the terms for a rent-to-own must be considerably favorable for the owner.  This often leads to less than favourable terms for a buyer.  When looking at a rent-to-own as an option you can expect to provide a considerable amount of money down and a higher interest rate than what a lender is currently offering.

 

Q: May I make any inspections on a property I wish to buy?

When buying a home, you have the option to perform several types of inspections.  The purchase offer you write can be contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection, pest inspection and many other types of inspections.  In most cases, it’s recommended that when buying a home, you at the bare minimum have one home inspection.

 

Q: Who is responsible for the agents fee's?

This is generally the seller who is responsible for paying the estate agent.

 

Q: I'm looking for a property to buy and the seller has asked for a non-refundable deposit so he may sign the agreement of sale. The balance of my funds will only be available in about 30 days though... Is this legal?

It is NOT illegal - see Zim Contractual Penalties Act. It is not unheard of in contracts of sale as a penalty in lieu of damages. The seller may be giving up another opportunity to hold on for you. It is not illegal. But, it is a case by case basis as to (i) whether you want to agree to that (not all contracts have it), (ii) as to when the balance is payable or any extension of payment date (last demand before you lose deposit) (make sure you can pay & don't lose the deposit). These things are all negotiable. You are not forced into agreeing with it, but if you do, it is NOT illegal. Again, see Zim Contractual Penalties Act for penalty in lieu of damages.

 

Q: What if my offer is rejected?

When a purchase offer is submitted to the seller there are generally four possible responses.  The first is an accepted offer, the second is a counter offer, the third is a rejected offer, and the final is an offer that is not responded to.  If your offer is rejected, meaning the seller says no and doesn’t counter, you have the right to place another offer.  It’s not very common for an offer to be not responded to, unless a seller is offended by a low-ball offer.

 

Q: Who is responsible for Capital Gains Tax?

Answer welcome.

 

Top Questions After Offer Has Been Accepted

Q: Do I need a final walk through?

As a buyer, you have the option to perform a final walk-through.  Although not a requirement it is recommended.  Generally when buying a home several weeks go by between when you last walked through your property.  Lots of things can change during that time so when doing a final walk through a few things you should check is that the geysers are working, the toilets are flushing properly, nothing has been removed that wasn't agreed upon or damaged that wasn't before.

 

Q: When can I move?

It’s important to understand that the closing date in the purchase offer is a target and not a guarantee.  Before you start moving and take time off from work, know that the closing date in the contract isn’t necessarily the date you will own your new home.  Many buyers will ask their agent this question, however, it isn’t up to the agent when the deal will be closed.  The attorney’s are the ones who have to set the closing date and time.

 

Top Home-Owner Questions

Q: What is the City of Harare law that no built structure permanent or otherwise can be put up against a dividing wall?

The distance from such wall is usually 3-5 metres and is called a servitude. This is usually because the designated areas are reserved for the provision maintenence and installation of essential services such as water sewage etc... It also prevents crowding and disputes between neighbours as a secondary purpose.

 

Muzakir Sumar, Kennan Properties ms@kennanpropertieskn.co.zw

  

Top General Questions

Q: Who governs the real estate sector?

The real estate sector is governed by the Estate Agents Council. The council falls under and reports directly to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs. The Estate Agents Council is made up of elected members and those appointed by the Minister.

 

Q: Who/What is The EAC?

The Estate Agents Council was formed through an act of Parliament and is the governing body of Estate Agents in Zimbabwe and guides Zimbabwean Estate Agents in the legal, ethical and professional adherance to the Estate Agents Act. To learn more please visit www.eac.co.zw

 

Q: Who/What is REIZ?

Established in 1944, the Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe (REIZ) is a unique, member driven organisation that aims to unite in one body all persons practicing various disciplines of the profession of real estate. REIZ offers to its members an unsurpassed level of experience, commitment and dedication to the real estate industry in Zimbabwe. REIZ members are governed by the Institute's Code of conduct to ensure that the Institute's values are upheld and a high standard of business practice is delivered. To learn more please visit www.reiz.ac.zw

 

Q: Please can someone tell me what defines a...cluster....townhouse and flat. What are the differences?

Cluster house- A subdivision technique where dwellings are grouped close together with a common area left for recreation. In effect residents have small yards but can enjoy the large common spaces.

Town house- A tall, narrow traditional terraced house, generally having two or more floors.

An apartment (in American English) or a flat (in British English) is a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building.

 

Q: What is a bogus agent?

Answer welcome