GENERICO.ruEconomicsRussians were offered a new article in the housing and communal services payment system: will they have to pay...

Russians were offered a new article in the housing and communal services payment system: will they have to pay more?

“The work may take a long time to complete, may not be completed in full, or may cost too much.”

Residents of apartment buildings can expect new utility innovations. The State Duma proposed adding a new line to housing and communal services bills. According to the authors of the idea, if now “routine repairs” are included in the “maintenance of common property” item, then in the future these services may be divided. Will this increase the transparency of payments or will unscrupulous management companies (MCs) continue to spend Russians’ money at their own discretion? MK looked into it.

“Management organizations will be obliged to report literally to the ruble to residents for the work carried out. Now money for current repairs is collected as part of general funds for the maintenance of the house. And people often don't understand what they pay for. The bill is aimed at transparency of legal relations and real, not mythical, work,” said Sergei Pakhomov, head of the State Duma Committee on Construction and Housing and Public Utilities, one of the authors of the innovation.

The project to allocate fees for current repairs as a separate payment was submitted to the lower house of parliament by a group of deputies from United Russia, which automatically makes the chances of its adoption very high. Experts spoke about the future of the MK document.

“The initiative is caused by the lack of transparency in the work of companies that manage residential real estate. Deputies propose that part of the work related to “routine repairs” be considered separately, and not as part of the general task of maintaining common property. The disadvantage of the bill is that it does not define the concept of “current repairs” and its relationship with major repairs. And this could become a serious obstacle to the passage of the bill. In addition, the initiative has other pitfalls – it is proposed to retain uncollected debts for current repairs for previous management companies and new apartment owners. Today, unfulfilled obligations to pay for repairs, on the contrary, are transferred to the new management company and remain with the old residents. Such changes are subject to serious discussion in order to detail how the new rules could work in practice.”

“It is clear that the initiative will not protect against unscrupulous managers of management companies and homeowners associations. If someone wants to use these funds for other purposes, through shell companies, contractors and similar schemes, they will find a way to do it. However, when citizens look at the payment slip and see what the money should be used for, they have the right to demand from the Criminal Code a report on where exactly these funds were spent. There will also be a justification for why funds are currently being collected in this particular volume and not another. I believe that there is every reason for this law to be adopted.”

“Lawmakers want to solve the problem when housing and communal services bills have only one line – maintenance of the common property of an apartment building. Apartment owners who pay monthly fees under this column do not see how much money is required for current needs (replacing light bulbs in hallways, for example), and how much is needed for roof repairs, painting walls or replacing an elevator. It is for this purpose that changes are proposed: so that residents can see what funds will be sent where exactly. This will make the process of maintaining houses more transparent and understandable for people. The responsibility on the part of management companies will also increase, and the possibility of misuse of money collected from residents will be reduced.

Most likely, this proposal will be accepted, since in recent years the state has been deliberately strengthening control over the housing and communal services sector, creating various standards and tightening requirements for management companies. This is also necessary for people who require high responsibility on the part of the management company.”

“Current management companies charge a single line fee – both for conditional cleaning of floors in the entrance and for home repairs. With this approach, of course, it is difficult to take into account the amounts that go specifically to current repairs. As a result, work may take a long time to complete, may not be completed in full, or may be too expensive. In my opinion, it is precisely to eliminate this “gray zone” that the authors of the initiative propose to create a separate line in receipts for housing and communal services for payments for current repairs. It is important to note here: these are not “new extortions”; the price tag on the payment order will not increase. It’s just that management companies will be required to write separately what part of the total amount a person pays specifically for current repairs. And they will report once a quarter about how much money is in this column and what exactly was spent on. In my opinion, the norm is completely justified – it will make the work of management companies better and more transparent.”


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