One of the questions we often get asked is how much it costs to rent a room in this or that suburb in Harare. We usually have the numbers for various suburbs at any given time but with the rising cost of rentals, we have been getting this question more often. So we have decided to do a series of articles on renting in Harare. Roughly half the people who live in Harare are lodgers so we hope they will find this information helpful. In the current article we will look at some of the rentals for a room.In the next article, we will look at some of the cheapest places to live in Harare.
How we gathered the data?
We recently did a survey of our own and used various methods to gather this data. We were so dedicated we posed as potential lodgers in some instances because a lot of landlords we met were not forthcoming in terms of what they wanted from lodgers. In some instances, we interviewed current tenants who were more than happy to share what they were paying for their current abodes or whether these amounts had recently changed in recent times. During the data gathering process, we noted that most agents, especially the unlicensed ones, are bogus. They often lure their marks using fake low rentals and demand subscriptions without ever delivering. The best way to get a house, room or cottage is through the community for example through announcements in church, friends at work or vendors who occupy street corners in most suburbs.
Rentals in various suburbs of Harare
Based on the data we gathered the average room of about 10-15 square metres will cost you the following per month:
- In Western Suburbs:
- In Highfields, the average room will cost you between US$45-US$55 per month including water and sometimes electricity. Other landlords only included water and other fees and demanded between US$10-US$20 on top of this for electricity. Most landlords do not allow tenants to cook using electricity. They have to buy LP Gas for that. In fact, this was the case in most room rental deals in other suburbs too.
- In Glen Nora and Glenview, the price of rental per room was the same as in Highfields although some landlords were asking for a mere US$30 if the tenant did not want to use electricity. This did not include water which costs tenants an additional US$5 per month.
- Rentals were a little cheaper in Budiriro with a room starting at US$35 including water. Electricity was charged separately. The chapter rentals are of course offset by the transport costs of commuting to Budiriro which is a little further away from the CBD
- In Harare South:
- Mbare had the highest rentals of any High-Density suburb. A tiny room in Mbare will set you an eyewatering US$90 including electricity. That seems a little steep until you consider that most houses had fixed mains electricity which means that landlords allow you to cook and do whatever you want with the power. The suburb is also within walking distance of the CBD, Lighton Industry and Siyaso where most of the tenants work.
- Houghton Park a middle-density suburb has rentals of between US$60 to US$90 per room with the higher figures reserved for large rooms. The electricity situation did not improve here either as landlords in most instances do not allow tenants to use ZESA to cook.
- In the other suburbs
- The rental ranges for Sunningdale, Masasa Park, Hatfield and Waterfalls were similar.
- Belvedere, Cranborne, Chadcombe and Queensdale were heavily influenced by proximity to the CBD and were as steep as US$140 per room.
- Newer suburbs like Southlea Park and Southlands have rentals of around US$25-US$45 per room although most areas had no electricity. These areas are a bit far from the CBD but are relatively well serviced by both formal commuter omnibuses, ZUPCO buses as well as pirate taxis. The rooms there, being newer tend to be in better condition compared to dilapidated council houses in Mbare for example.
- In Vainona, Borrowdale and other such suburbs one room accommodation is rare and it tends to be on the steep end. Rentals can go as high as US$200 per room. These areas are also not well serviced by public transport. It is wise to try and resolve this problem in advance before you start living there.
- Mt Pleasant was a little better in terms of availability of rooms but the landlords there are frankly exploitative and toxic for the most part. They prey on college students whom they charge per head instead of per room. They charge around US$50 per head which is frankly ridiculous.