Landlords in Masvingo have escalated boarding houses charges by up to 100 percent in a move that borders both on profiteering and a fair attempt to keep up with inflation.
Accommodation prices have been raised from last semester’s RTGS$600 per head to RTGS$1200 per head.
The rise in private boarding fees is said to be a response to Great Zimbabwe University (GZU)’s decision to hike on-campus accommodation fees from RTGS$300 for a room for two and RTGS$350 for a room for one to RTGS$500 for two and RTGS$600 for one at some campuses.
A landlord with a boarding house in Rhodene said he hiked charges to cushion himself against increases in the cost of electricity, Wi-Fi and water.
“The rentals per semester seem unreasonable to you but it is not that greedy but a fair response to the increase in the cost of everything else. We have to see to it that students have uninterrupted power, water and WI-Fi so there is no other way I can manage.
“It is also even difficult for landlords to come up with a cost structure for our services because the market is not stable. The fee might be fine for us this week but it may not be the same the following week due to inflation.
“Things are now expensive in the shops and it’s becoming worse every day. We need the money to renovate the walls, beds and everything so that the students can enjoy their stay,” he said.
Some landlords of other boarding houses are said to be charging their houses at US$120 per head per semester.