Shopping mall owners in the Central Business District (CBD) have continued charging and demanding monthly payment of rentals from their tenants despite the closure of the shops.
The owners say that their sector is independent of the invoked Statutory Instrument 96 (Temporary Measures) (Deferral of Rent and Mortgage Payments During National Lockdown) Regulations,2020, which was gazetted last month.
Under the law rent payments for residential property and mortgage payments can be deferred and be paid at the end of the lockdown.
Shopping mall owners and building owners have thus continued demanding payment of rentals despite their sector falling under the informal sector.
The informal sector is still prohibited from operating under Covid19 Level 2 regulations.
Speaking to Open Council some informal traders operating out of some malls such as Kwame Mall and Homegate Mall along Kwame Nkrumah Street said their landlords where requiring rents despite their shops not operating.
“It’s both very painful and unfair that I’m staying at home, not able to sell my goods at the mall but the landlord now wants his rent.
“Where or how am I supposed to get it when the shop is closed?’, queried one lady who only referred herself as Patricia.
Another trader in the CBD said there was need for government to intervene since the landlords are not listening to any complaints.
“A provision should be put in place to at least allow people to pay in instalments, acknowledging the abnormality of the situation.
“But the guys are hard-headed and are not listening they just want their money. Where do we get it when we are at home?’
“Government needs to come in and put order in all this”, he added.
Of late many informal traders have tried to restart their operations in the CBD, taking advantage of the relaxed Level 2 requirements.
This has resulted in an increased number of people in the CBD.
However officers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have been carrying out operations shutting down opened shops.