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Rent Regulations 2007 (Statutory Instrument 32 of 2007)

Statutory Instrument 32 of 2007.

Rent Regulations 2007

SI 32/2007

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PRELIMINARY

Section

PART I

BOARDS

  1. Proceedings of boards.
  2. Representation of parties.
  3. Powers of board to call for information, etcetera.
  4. Privileges of witnesses.
  5. Offence to fail to render return or comply with notice.
  6. Offences of witnesses.
  7. Misbehaviour during proceedings.
  8. Powers of entry and inspection.

PART II

ORDERS

  1. Procedure on receipt of application.
  2. Power of board to issue order or require hearing.
  3. Determination of fair rent.
  4. Variation of rent order.
  5. Revocation of rent order or variation.
  6. Validity of orders and variations.
  7. Notification to parties of issue of orders, et cetera.
  8. Report of board’s reasons.
  9. Copies of orders for other persons.
  10. Notice of order or standard rent to subsequent lessor. PART III

PROHIBITEDPAYMENTS

  1. Excessive rent.
  2. Payments on grant, continuation or renewal of lease.
  3. Recovery of payments made in contravention of section 26 or 27.

PART IV

RESTRICTIONS REGARDING EJECTMENTANDREFUSALTOLEASE

  1. Limitation on ejectment of lessees.
  2. Rights and duties of statutory tenant.
  3. Board may grant certificate pending ejectment.
  4. Illegal removal of property by lessor or obstruction in use of dwelling.
  5. Occupation by children on ground for refusal to leas or ejectment.

PART V

APPEALS AGAINSTDECISIONSOF BOARDS

  1. Noting of appeal.
  2. Preparation for appeal.
  3. Powers of Administrative Court.

PART VI

GENERAL

  1. Notice by lessor.
  2. Lease agreements, rent books or cards.
  3. Agreement to evade regulations void.
  4. Threats prohibited.
  5. Evasion of regulations prohibited.
  6. The serving of notice by post.
  7. Repeals and savings.

SCHEDULES

First Schedule : Particulars. Second Schedule : Repeal.

IT is hereby notified that the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development has, in terms of sections 23 and 24 of the Housing and Building Act [Chapter 22:07] made the following regulations:—

PRELIMINARY

  1. Title

These regulations may be cited as the Rent Regulations, 2007.

2. Application

(1) Subject to subsection (2), these regulations shall apply only to dwellings situated within— (a) an area for which a municipal or town council has been established;

  • any part of the area of a Rural District Council which is a designated area in terms of the Rural District Councils Act [Chapter 29:13];
  • an area set aside or deemed to have been set aside as a township in terms of the Communal Land Act [Chapter 20:04];
  • a local Government area, as defined in the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15];

(2) These regulations shall not apply to—

  • the letting of a dwelling by the State or a local authority;
  • the letting of a dwelling by any authority, board, commission, council or other like body, having corporate personality and established for public purposes directly by an Act of Parliament;
  • the letting and hiring of a dwelling during the absence of the lessor for a period not exceeding six months for holiday, business, health or other like reasons;
  • the letting of new rental dwelling constructed after the date of commencement of these regulations. New rental dwellings shall be registered with the Rent Board, and the rentals being charged for such dwellings shall not be controlled for a period of ten years.

3. Interpretation

In these regulations—

“appropriate board”, in relation to a dwelling, means the board within the area of jurisdiction of which the dwelling is situated;

“authorised rent” in relation to a dwelling means the rent fixed by a board and is the sum of the standard rent and the permitted increases;

“board” means a rent board established by the Minister in terms of section 23 of the Act;

“dwelling” means any room, flat, apartment, house or other immovable property occupied as a human habitation under a lease, and includes the grounds, parking space, garages, outside rooms, workers’ quarters and other improvements let therewith or provided therewith for the convenience of the lessee, but does not include a human habitation which is let at a rent which includes any payment in respect of a meal;

“lease” means a written lease agreement signed by both parties;

“lessee”, in relation to a dwelling, includes— (a)         any sub lessee thereof; or

  • the widow or widower of a lessee who was living with the lessee therein at the time of the lessee’s death; or
  • a lodger; but excludes a person who occupies a dwelling as part of his or her contract of employment;

“lessor”, in relation to a dwelling, includes the owner thereof, the person to whom the rent therefore is normally paid, and a lessee who has sublet the dwelling or part thereof and any agent of the lessor;

“lodger” means a person who hires a room, rooms or portion thereof for personal habitation;

“owner”, in relation to a dwelling, includes—

  • where the dwelling is subject to an exclusive right of occupation by reason of a share-holding in the company owning the dwelling, the person entitled to occupy the dwelling;
  • where the dwelling is subject to an exclusive right of occupation registered in accordance with the provisions of section 25A of the Deeds Registries Act [Chapter 20:05], the registered holder of that right;
  • where the dwelling is the subject of a deed of sale and registered in terms of section 62 of the Deeds Registries Act [Chapter 20:05], the beneficial owner thereof;

“permitted increases” in relation to a dwelling include moneys which the lessee pays to or on behalf of the lessor in respect of amenities, facilities, services and other things provided therewith by the lessor;

“recurrent expenditure” means expenditure, which the board, in all the circumstances of the case, considers to be reasonable, regard being had to any or all of the following:—

  • the amount expended by the lessor in supplying electric current, water, fuel, sanitary or other ser vices and amenities, and in meeting the cost of rates in respect of the dwelling;
  • the amount expended by the lessor in meeting the cost of insurance premiums in respect of the dwelling, its equipment, furniture and other contents;
  • the cost to the lessor in respect of maintenance and cleaning of the dwelling, its equipment, furniture and other contents;
  • the amount of collection charges;
  • the cost to the lessor in respect of caretaking of the dwelling, its equipment and contents, and the upkeep of the grounds; and
  • any amount expended by the lessor on the provision of furniture and equipment.

“rent”, in relation to a dwelling, means the sum of money payable in terms of the lease agreement; “rent order” means a rent order issued or deemed to have been issued in terms of section 16 or 17;

“room” means—

  • a portion of a dwelling enclosed by walls or partitions; or
  • a veranda or porch or similar portion of a dwelling; or (c) an outbuilding:

Provided that, where any part of a dwelling has been divided up or partitioned or extended otherwise than in accordance with plans and specifications approved by the local authority concerned, the whole of that part of the dwelling which has been so divided up or extended shall be regarded as a single room;

“standard rent” in relation to a dwelling means—

  • rent recommended in a current valuation by a registered valuer and approved by the appropriate board with the concurrence of the Government Chief Valuation and Estates Officer or his or her representative; or
  • where there is no current valuation of a dwelling, rent determined as being fair by the appropriate board with the concurrence of the Government Chief Valuation and Estates Officer or his or her representative;

“value” means such value fixed by the board with the concurrence of the Government Chief Valuation and Estates Officer.

PART I

BOARDS

4. Proceedings of boards

  • The procedure followed by a board shall be as simple and informal as possible, and a board shall act in such a manner and on such principles as it deems best fitted to do substantial justice and to carry out the objects and provisions of these regulations.
  • The chairperson and one member shall form a quorum in any proceedings of a board.
  • All questions on matters requiring to be decided by a board shall be decided by a majority, and, in the event of an equality of votes, the chairperson shall have a casting vote, in addition to a deliberative vote:

Provided that any matter of law arising for a decision at any sitting of a board, and any question arising as to whether a matter for decision is a matter of fact or a matter of law, shall be decided by the chairperson, and no other member of the board shall have a voice in the decision of that matter or question.

  • The chairperson shall cause to be maintained such records of the proceedings of the board as he or she considers appropriate, and those records shall be kept and filed in the office of the secretary of the board.

5. Representation of parties

(1) Subject to subsection (3), in the hearing of any matter by a board, any party thereto may—

  • appear in person; or
  • be represented by—
    • a legal practitioner; or
    • any other person duly appointed, in writing in that behalf by the party; or
  • make written representations to the board, in which case such party shall serve a copy thereof on the other party.
  • The appointment of a representative for the purposes of subsection (l)(b) may be made at the time of the hearing in question or at any time prior thereto.
  • If, at the time of the hearing, the lessor or lessee in question is absent from Zimbabwe, a board may permit any person who satisfies it that he or she represents the lessor or lessee to appear on behalf of the lessor or lessee, although he or she has not been duly appointed in writing as required by subsection (1).

6. Evidence

  • In the hearing of any matter by a board, evidence may be given on oath, either orally or by affidavit:

Provided that the maker of an affidavit may be required to attend in person if a party to a hearing requires the maker to give oral evidence before the board.

  • Any copy or extract of a valuation roll, rate-book, record, plan or document of a local authority, which purports to be certified as a true copy or extract by the person having custody of such valuation roll, rate-book, record, plan or document, shall be received in evidence before a board on its mere production by any person, and shall be prima facie proof of its contents.

7. Powers of board to call for information, et cetera

(1) A board may, of its own motion or at the request of a party to an application, by notice of not less than fourteen days given under the hand of its secretary, summon any person—

  • who, in its opinion, may be able to give information relevant to any matter which is to be the subject of a hearing by the board; or
  • who it suspects or believes has in his or her possession or custody or under his or her control any book, document or thing which is relevant to any matter to be decided by the board; to appear before it at a time and place specified in the notice, in order to be examined under oath or to produce that book, document or thing.
  • A board may call and, by its chairperson, administer an oath to any person present at a hearing of any matter who was, or might have been summoned in terms of sub-section (1) and examine him or her or require him or her to produce any book, document or thing in his or her possession or custody or under his or her control.
  • A board may employ a competent valuer or other technical advisor to assist it in connection with its functions in terms of these regulations, on such conditions as to remuneration and allowances as the Minister may, from time to time, determine.

8. Privileges of witnesses

Any person called upon to appear before a board and give evidence thereto, or to produce any book, document or thing, shall be entitled to the same privileges and immunities, as if he or she were subpoenaed to attend, or were giving evidence at a trial in a magistrate’s Court.

9. Offence to fail to render a return or comply with notice

(1) Any lessor who is required to render a return in terms of a notice issued in terms of section 7(1) and who—

  • fails, without reasonable cause, to render such return within the period specified in such notice;
  • renders an incomplete return; or
  • wilfully makes a false statement in the return in any material particular; shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) Where any person is charged with a contravention of subsection (1)(a), it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proven, that he or she had knowledge of the terms of the notice concerned.

10. Offences of witnesses

Any person who, after being called upon to appear before a board—

  • to be examined or to produce any book, document or thing fails, without sufficient cause, to attend at the time and place specified in the notice to him or her to do so; or;
  • fails to remain in attendance until excused by such board; or
  • fails to produce any book, document or thing in his or her possession or custody or under his or her control when lawfully required to do so; or
  • refuses, without sufficient cause, the onus of proof whereof rests upon him or her, to be sworn or affirmed as a witness; or
  • fails to answer fully and satisfactorily, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, any question lawfully put to him or her; or
  • makes any false statement, knowing it to be false or not reasonably believing it to be true; shall subject to section 8, be guilty of an offence.

11. Misbehaviour during proceedings

Any person who, in any hearing before a board, wilfully insults any member of such board, or wilfully interrupts the proceedings or otherwise misbehaves, shall be guilty of an offence.

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