AAG calls for rental regulations review
THE Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has called on the Government to amend rental regulations, which they claim give property owners the lee way to unilaterally hike charges.
AAG national vice president Mr Sam Ncube said the Rent Regulation Act was archaic taking into consideration the state of the economy where business performance is subdued.
“The commercial and rent board seems to protect the interest of the landlords or property owners and through the Rent Regulation Act the landlords are empowered to charge rentals they deem as “fair”.
“As AAG we are saying the Rent Regulation Act needs to be amended so that it does not only favour the interests of property owners. We will soon be writing to Government seeking amendment of the Act,” he said.
Mr Ncube said in light of the negative economic climate and subdued business, it was no longer feasible for a majority of the commercial tenants to meet their rental obligations all the time.
“We are also urging businesses not to enter into contracts that bind them to pay their rentals all the time because given the state of the economy it is no longer feasible for businesses to record positive performance throughout the year,” he said.
Mr Ncube said recently his office has been inundated with calls from businesspeople complaining over the closure of their business owing to failure to meet the rental obligation.
“As AAG, we have tried to reason with the property owners over the matter but they don’t want to reach common ground with us. In cases where we have tried to negotiate, the landlords have responded saying it is their place so nobody should come and tell them the rentals to charge,” he said.
Since 2009, a number of businesses once housed in buildings in Bulawayo’s Central Business District (CBD) have either closed down or relocated to suburban locations because of increasing rentals and lack of business.
The Estate Agents Council has said rentals in suburban locations were relatively lower than in the CBD. — @okazunga
Mr Sam Ncube