Zimbabwe: Coping With Surge in Accommodation Costs

16 October 2019

Tenants are finding it difficult to cope with ever-rising accommodation costs in all residential areas across the country as prices of goods and services continue to increase on a daily basis.

To worsen their plight, many landlords are now demanding rentals in United States dollars.

Without rent stabilisation in place, residents fear that at some point, they will have to migrate to cheaper lodgings as a coping mechanism.

Tracy Chivhima, who resides in Glendale, said she is considering sending her family to the rural areas because she no longer affords to pay rent in the area.

She used to pay $200 for the four rooms that she uses. Now her landlady demands US$70, which she is not able to pay.

University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students have expressed how the increase in accommodation fees is straining them as they do not have money.

In St Kilda Street, Mount Pleasant, rentals are going for US$100 per head in a room that accommodates six people.

The room has six beds and students use communal bathrooms and a kitchen.

In some boarding houses, UZ students give away US$85 in places where rentals are cheaper, while they share a single room in fours. Accommodation costs have gone up almost 10 fold compared to $100 which was paid in recent years.

Another student Rutendo Machingura said she no longer affords to stay in Mt Pleasant.

Her parents are farmers who also need to take care of her little brothers and sisters; hence she now stays in a high density suburb.

"My parents are finding it difficult to pay those large amounts for rent; hence I have started living in Tafara where it is quite cheaper. I pay $100 per month, while I use the Zupco bus to and from campus, which I have realised is cheap and I can manage."

In Ruvimbo residential area, Chinhoyi, rentals have gone from $30 to $120 in a space of a year. A resident who only identified himself as Trevor, who resides in the area with his family said they do not afford four rooms they used in previous years.

A mechanic by profession, he is now using two rooms which he can afford.

He uses one room as his bedroom and the other one d as a kitchen, dining room and the children's bedroom.

Some residents in Budiriro, Stoneridge and Southlea Park have started living on their residential stands because they no longer afford rent as prices are rising every day.

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