FOLLOWING the increased uptake of Covid-19 vaccination across the province, some landlords are no longer letting out their properties to unvaccinated tenants, The Manica Post has learnt.
A survey conducted by this publication this week revealed that a number of landlords have taken it upon themselves to lead the vaccination crusade by not allowing unvaccinated tenants to lease their properties.
For those accommodated, most landlords are not allowing them to receive visitors.
In Mutare, Chikanga now has an area commonly referred as ‘‘PaRight Turn’’ or ‘‘Pamalandlords’’. The area was christened ‘‘Pamalandlords’’ because of the property owners’ strict rules and steep rentals.
In an interview, one of the landlords, Ms Chipo Mushati said the move sought to protect lives as well as attaining the nation’s herd immunity.
“The moment we achieve home herd immunity, the country will achieve its set target too. I honestly wonder why some people are shocked. I am not only stopping my tenants’ unvaccinated visitors from coming, but my own visitors as well. We are trying to keep ourselves safe. We are vaccinated and it is only fair that our friends and relatives are also vaccinated if they want to visit us,” she said.
Another landlord who requested anonymity said they could only entertain this reporter if she was vaccinated.
“Government has ordered churches to open to vaccinated congregants and at some workplaces unvaccinated employees are being turned away, so we are just following suit to keep ourselves safe. I have three tenants who are all vaccinated. They abide by all laid down conditions of their stay here, a reason why we are co-existing,” she said.
Asked whether she was not afraid that her employed tenants would bring the virus from their workplaces, the woman, said: “They are cautious just like me. This virus is killing and it is not a joke. I lost three siblings in three months and I don’t want to throw caution to the wind.”
Mutare lawyer, Mrs Tracy Mutowekuziva-Mafa said no laws are being breached as property owners have the right to admit whoever they want and turn away those they do not want from their properties.
“The rights of the tenant are limited to what s/he agreed on with the property owner when s/he moved in. So if they agreed that visitors’ entrance into the property is reserved, they are bound by that agreement.
“However, in this case, let us say there was no agreement done before the tenant moved in, the landlords still have the right to exert what they want on their properties. It is a private property and the landlord has the final say. Had it been a public property like Government offices, then it would have been a different issue.
“At the end of the day, they have the right to say what they want on their property and if the tenants do not agree with that, then they have no other option, but to move out after the expiry of the three months’ notice,” she said.
She, however, said vaccination should not be used to discriminate people as that is an offence.
Director of Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association (MURRA), Mr David Mutambirwa said while property owners have a right to say what they want on their properties; they should know that they are human first.
“As residents’ associations, we stand for both landlords and tenants and it is not fair to discriminate people. If the tenants and visitors are not comfortable to share information of their health with other people, they should not be forced to do so. Landlords should have a human face. We should be tolerant. However, on the other hand, the landlord has a right to say what they want pertaining to who enters their property and who does not,” he said.
Mr Mutambirwa also said that there should be a balance between all the avenues so that there is harmony between the tenants, their visitors and the property owner.
Ward 16 councillor, Councillor Sekai Mukodza urged residents to get vaccinated to enable the country to reach herd immunity.
“I haven’t come across a case where landlords are not offering their properties to unvaccinated individuals. However, no council by-laws would have been breached as it is private property. As councillors, however, we are urging people to get vaccinated and ignore social media myths,” she said.
A tenant who only identified herself as Mai Delight for fear of being victimised by her landlord, said she was looking for alternative accommodation as her friends are being stopped from visiting her.
“I am breastfeeding and l am yet to get the jab, although I am now ready to get vaccinated. My landlord, however, has failed to understand why I delayed getting the vaccine and has since stopped my friends from visiting me. She says we are exposing her family to Covid-19,” said Mai Delight.