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‘High property prices cannot be justified’

Paul Nyakazeya

THE shortage of rental properties has led landlords to let out properties to the highest bidders.

Ailse Properties MD Andrew Chifamba told businessdigsest on Tuesday that the shortage of properties to rent was compelling some landlords to settle for the tenant with the highest bid.

“All that glitters is not gold and a desperate person or highest bidders are not consistent. Finding a tenant is now more of an auction. Proper valuations should be done in order to charge justified rentals,” he said.

Chifamba said those who offer high bids were not consistent with paying rentals on time and utility bills.

He said such a scenario happened in Zimbabwe during the hyperinflationary time but people seem not to learn.

“People do not learn from history because they memorise dates instead of lessons,” said Chifamba.

“Landlords should desist from the practice of pegging their rentals from those advertised in newspapers. Research has shown that prices displayed in newspapers’ classified sections were far more than what is eventually settled for in the end,” Chifamba said.

Chifamba said rentals had stabilised during the second and third quarter of last year saying there was no justification for increasing rentals at the present moment unless there were significant improvements on the property.

“For most properties there is no justification for the increases especially in medium densities. There now seems to be no defined rental pattern on various types of properties and their locations,” Chifamba said.

Property analysts said the past three months had also seen an increase in the number of buyers due to increased mortgages being advanced by building societies and an increase in trade-ins.

However a number of potential buyers had fallen prey to “bogus landlords and estate agents”.

Property experts said there has been a good number of literature in the media aimed at buyers in order to protect them from falling prey to bogus estate agents as well as sellers.

Paradise homes director, Collen Marambe told businessdigest on Wednesday that buyers should take such priceless information very seriously as a lot of people are being duped of their hard earned money by fraudsters.

“Cheap things are expensive in real estate at times. This fraud is not only perpetrated by bogus estate agents but of late, legitimate estate agents have also fallen victim to unscrupulous sellers who pretend to own the properties that they give to the estate agents to sell. So to fellow estate agents, we should be vigilant and weed out these unscrupulous sellers who threaten to bring our good profession into disrepute,” he said

Marambe said there was a lot of activity on the lower end of the market and stands.

“There has been a lot of demand in property in the range of between US$20 000 to US$80 000. Stands have had their fair share of interest as a number of people opting for them with the introduction of building loans,” he said.

He said flats have also been in great demand due to the attractive rental returns that is associated with them.

Property analyst, Dumisani Manokore said being a landlord was a great responsibility because one deals with different characters.

“There are many tenants. I mean those who do not want to pay rent are careless with the rented premises, do not pay bills, who sublet without permission or claim ownership of the property if they stay too long,” he said.

Manokore said such tenants should be warned as there were several bad landlords as well “who charge unreasonable rent, increase rentals whenever they want to, who do not respect their obligation and do not give tenants even the slightest freedom of the property”.

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