Tenant evicted despite ED’s rent reprieve
TOGARA Munemo (49), a civil servant is a dejected man. As he stands at the gate, the family man is not certain about what will become of him during this COVID-19 lockdown after he was ejected from his rented house by the new property owner.
His tale is that of many families who have been subjected to evictions by property owners despite the current lockdown rules and ravaging effects of the coronavirus. The civil servant and his family spent Friday night in the open after the new house owner, Mubaiwa Dzvuke allegedly chucked them out and moved in. Dzvuke is the MDC Alliance councillor for Nyameni high-density suburb. “We were given notice in February to leave the property and I complied,” Munemo said. “I then found another house and paid the rentals anticipating to move in by the end of this month. “However, the tenant living in the house I am to occupy did not relocate to Harare as planned due to the lockdown.
The new house owner did not take any of that into account and threw us out. We slept in the open.” When NewsDay visited the house, Munemo was still outside with his family and property. “I have been staying here for the past two years, but I am worried how I am going to secure another accommodation given the current situation. “My new landlord understood my issue and did let the outgoing tenant stay until this is over. I thought Dzvuke would understand the situation better as a policymaker, but that’s not it,” Munemo said. Munemo is currently sleeping in the open with his eight family members, among them children despite the cold nights often experienced in Marondera.
Dzvuke yesterday confirmed being the new owner and said Munemo refused to sleep in the house. “I bought the house in January and gave Munemo notice,” Dzvuke said. “He was not my tenant and I did not even ask for rentals. “He kept on saying he was set to occupy a house whose tenant is set to relocate to Harare. The deal was for them to move out on Workers Day.
“When I arrived at the house as per our agreement, Munemo’s wife started moving their property out. When her husband returned, he called an army official and told them their story. I even created two rooms for them to put their things and possibly sleep, but they refused,” Dzvuke said. In a bid to protect tenants whose source of income was affected by the lockdown, President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week deferred payment of rentals, ordering landlords to accept payment of rental arrears in instalments after the COVID-19 lockdown period. Evictions were also outlawed.
Statutory Instrument 97 2020 reads: “Any person who causes or forces or attempts to cause or force the eviction of any protected tenant or protected mortgagor for asserting or exercising any of his or her rights under these regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and such imprisonment.” However, Munemo’s case is a different one as it is not about rentals. For now, he will continue sleeping in the open until he secures new lodgings. Newsday