The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) wants the Government to allow property owners to defer payment of local authority rates, water and electricity bills on the same terms as the deferment of rent by their tenants.
According to temporary regulations made by President Mnangagwa, payments for rent of residential accommodation and mortgage payments can be deferred during the lockdown, but become due in the month following the end of the lockdown, although the back payments can then be spread over three months for each month of lockdown.
Evictions and legal action over late mortgage payments are barred, but if tenants and mortgage holders do not meet the schedule for back payments then legal action can be taken in the normal way.
While welcoming the decision on residential rents, the Law Society feels that property owners need more than just deferred mortgage payments for the system to be fair.
Owners normally have other bills to pay out of their rent income.
In a statement yesterday, the Law Society wants public service providers such as the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, local authorities and Zesa to defer their charges in line with the rent deferments.
“The Law Society of Zimbabwe believes Government could have approached this issue in a more holistic manner to reduce the burden of Covid-19 effects on the populace,” said the Law Society in a statement.