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The very term housing and communal services (housing and communal services) has a Soviet origin. In a broad sense, it means all the infrastructure that allows people to live or stay comfortably in buildings. This includes energy supply, water supply, ventilation, elevators, garbage disposal, and much more.
In the Soviet years, the state was involved in all this. But now people got the opportunity to unite and independently arrange their life. Someone does it well, while someone is mired in papers, laws, court hearings.
They constantly talk about the crisis in the housing sector, and it arose largely due to numerous myths. People simply do not understand what they are facing, what their rights and obligations are.
It is not at all necessary to choose the method of home control. This myth debunks the Housing Code of the Russian Federation in article 161, paragraph 2. It says that the owners of both residential and non-residential premises in an apartment building not only have to choose the way to manage their house, but even have to do it. These functions can be taken over by the management company, HOA, or you can leave direct management.
The voice of one tenant does not decide anything. With regard to an apartment building, all decisions are made at general meetings of the owners. Every vote is important, it can become decisive and tip the scales towards this or that decision. People think that nothing can be changed in the housing and communal services system. However, you can influence the controls. If you do nothing, then nothing will change.
Management companies and housing departments are engaged in raising tariffs. The Government of the Russian Federation sets and regulates water tariffs. There is the Federal Tariff Service, which determines the retail cost of electricity and gas for resource suppliers. Above this level, resource supplying companies cannot set a price for their goods. Housing department and management company are only intermediaries between service providers and end users. By law, these organizations cannot receive financial profit at the same time. In fact, they are the ones that are closest along the chain to the consumer. And all the price increases seem to come from these organizations. In fact, they often just broadcast the changes from above. These organizations are not interested in changing tariffs.
The organization of homeowners' associations will lead to an increase in utility rates. For this very reason, many owners are afraid to form a HOA, fearing an increase in tariffs. But, as mentioned above, tariffs are set higher and regulated by the Government. Local self-government bodies act in accordance with the established norms. In this regard, the HOA can only act within the framework of strict rules.
The residents themselves must change the lights in the entrance. The rules state that all minor repairs to common areas must be carried out by the management company. We are talking about replacing those same light bulbs, as well as mailboxes, broken windows, door handles, handrails and door closers. It is not necessary for the tenant to maintain the house at their own expense and constantly engage in minor repairs. The management company already receives payment from him. She is in charge of the elimination of a variety of malfunctions related to electrical engineering. This is not only a change of light bulbs, but the replacement of plug sockets, switches, circuit breakers and automatic machines, minor repairs of electrical wiring and so on. All this also applies to auxiliary rooms.
If there is no partnership, then the city authorities should be responsible for the pipes in the basement. The pipes in the basement are considered common utilities. Consequently, the owners of the house are responsible for them. The Housing Code states that from the moment of privatization, the owner undertakes to maintain the common property in the house, to pay timely for its repair and maintenance.
Non-residential premises in an apartment building belong to common property. Residents can be mistaken, considering non-residential premises in their home as common property. But at the same time, annexes and built-in premises are for some reason considered personal property. Such non-residential premises can be independent objects owned by certain people. The construction of such premises can be envisaged even at the design stage of the house, and their purpose is in no way connected with the common property. So it may be the property of a very specific person.
The chairman of the HOA can issue a loan secured by apartments. Unscrupulous chairpersons may try to implement such an idea. However, enthusiasm will quickly fade - these people have no rights and powers to make such transactions. The decision to take out a loan can only be made on the basis of a general meeting of residents.
Residents must clean their landings on their own, in accordance with the established schedule. This belief has been nurtured in us over the years. Tired of waiting for some virtual housing office to clean the entrance, the tenants set the schedule themselves, remove the trash and wash the floors. Over the decades, everyone has become accustomed to this. However, legally, such a situation can develop only under one rare condition. Residents must monitor the condition of their entrance, if this is directly indicated in the service contract. It should be clearly stated that the HOA does not clean entrances and common areas. If the contract does not say this, then it must prescribe the frequency of cleaning and a list of places for it. And if this is not the case, then these parameters are taken from the "Rules for the provision of utilities to owners of apartment buildings", that is, the law comes to the rescue.
The board of a HOA can include either employees of the management company or representatives of local authorities. All members of the partnership, including the board, must be the owners of the premises in this house. It is the general meeting of such people that chooses its board on the basis of the rules of the Housing Code. So an outsider, not being the owner of the house, simply does not have the right to enter the board of the HOA, and even more so to become its chairman. Residents often think that the chairman and the entire board are crooks who just want to get rich at the expense of rent and high tariffs. However, it is worth remembering that these people were chosen by the owners themselves, and no one canceled the law. Any violations will be revealed at the first check.
Water and light may be intermittently absent. This situation cannot be considered normal. There are rules with prescribed maximum deadlines for the possible lack of services. If the time frame is exceeded, you can safely demand a recalculation. So, for example, cold water must be present around the clock. Electricity may not be available for a maximum of two hours. Loss of frequency or voltage is generally unacceptable. All these norms are determined by government decree No. 354 "On the provision of utilities to owners and users in apartment buildings." There, in the appendix, all the norms for gas, and for hot water, and for heating are spelled out. If there is a disconnection of some service, then this is not a problem for the tenant. The responsibility lies entirely with the management company.
You have to put up with a dark elevator with an unpleasant odor in it. From the point of view of logic, it is clear that this situation is not correct. Ideally, the elevator should have adequate lighting and be clean. There should be no urine odors in it. The management contract for an apartment building usually states that the elevator must be washed every day. It is forbidden to post ads, make inscriptions. All this employees of the management company should scrub and scrape off. You can't put up with the disgusting state of your elevator. You have to fight for your rights.
Rusty water may well flow from the tap, which is explainable by bad soil. According to the Federal Law "On Water Supply and Wastewater Disposal," organizations providing cold water supply on the basis of a centralized system are obliged to provide the end user with drinking water. Here, sanitary standards come into play, establishing standards for color, smell, turbidity and taste. Water cannot be rusty. Its undesirable color and odor indicate that it is time to change either indoor pipes or the city's water purification system. The soil clearly has nothing to do with it, but the management company has something to do.
No one is responsible for the living of outside residents, the rest must pay for them. The contractor, represented by the Criminal Code, the housing cooperative or the HOA, can obtain data on people temporarily residing in a residential building who are not permanently registered there. Then it is quite realistic to draw up an act establishing the number of such citizens. On its basis, the performer can control the number of people living in the dwelling. And if the room is not equipped with water and light metering devices, then draw up an act on the use of these resources by the established number of citizens. One copy is transferred to the owner and within three days the act is sent to the internal affairs bodies or to the sphere of migration control. Living at the place of stay without registration in accordance with the Code of the Russian Federation entails an administrative penalty. So it is possible and necessary to fight against numerous illegal immigrants who do not pay for utilities.
If you do not submit meter readings on time, then the fee will be charged in accordance with the standards. This is an obvious point of view, but it is only partially correct. Of course, it is better to submit testimony on time, as well as to make payments. If for the billing period (usually a month) the consumer does not give readings from his meter, then for the next six months the fee will be charged based on the average monthly consumption. And only then, if the readings do not appear, the fee will begin to be charged in accordance with the standards.
Home maintenance and maintenance are one and the same. The funds allocated for the maintenance of housing also include expenses for carrying out work to maintain the house in an appropriate condition, as well as expenses for eliminating emergency situations. Usually it concerns minor repairs with replacement of parts, cleaning, garbage disposal, basement sanitation, inspection of indoor equipment. The minimum list of such works and services is approved by a government decree. Current repairs provide for more serious work. This can be the replacement of the driveway, the renovation of the driveway, the installation of new beds in the basement.
A general house water meter is not needed, the water consumption does not depend on it in any way. If a common house meter is not installed in the house, then the house will be charged according to consumption standards. Today it is 250 liters per day per person. If property owners believe they are actually consuming less, then they should consider installing individual metering systems. But to achieve real savings, a common house meter is still needed. Its installation will allow resolving disputes that may arise between the management company and suppliers regarding consumption volumes. It is beneficial for owners to equip their premises and houses in general with accounting systems. They will not save on their own, but they will be able to motivate residents to efficiently consume resources.
The management company may charge additional payments for the renovation of the building without the prior consent of the tenants. Payments can be calculated only on the basis of a decision of the general meeting of tenants to carry out repairs. If 2/3 of them are against it, then no additional payments can be collected. But if we are not talking about ordinary cosmetic repairs, but the main life support systems, whose breakdown leads to a failure in the functionality of the building and a danger to the residents, then the owners are obliged at a general meeting to decide on the repair and the sources of its financing. The work will be carried out by the management company, indicating the volumes with an estimate.
It is impossible to prove the fact of providing public services of inadequate quality. The owners of residential premises are sometimes faced with a situation where they receive services of inadequate quality, and all their claims are ignored by the management company or HOA. In fact, the procedure for establishing the fact of the provision of low-quality utilities is simple and as specific as possible. The time for the inspection is set no later than 2 hours after receiving a complaint from the consumer. If the HOA or the Criminal Code do not check within the specified period, the consumer has the right to draw up his own act of checking the quality of the services provided in the absence of the contractor. The document is signed by two consumers and the chairman of the house council (if there is a Criminal Code) or the chairman of the HOA or cooperative.
The overhaul fee will be entered on a separate line. Nobody guarantees that this money will be used for its intended purpose. The funds received from the owners for the capital repair fund can be used only for these purposes. The use of money for other purposes, including for business expenses, labor remuneration is not allowed. Financial authorities control this. Articles 172 and 186 of the Housing Code define a control system for filling the capital repair fund. An important role is played by state supervision bodies, as well as councils of apartment buildings, boards of homeowners' associations, housing cooperatives, ZhK. Local authorities must control the use of funds, accept work by signing acts.
All tenants will contribute to the capital repair fund. As a result, housing costs will rise for everyone. Contributions for major repairs will not have to be paid by the owners of those premises that are recognized as emergency, in houses subject to demolition or reconstruction, in housing located on land in respect of which a decision was made to withdraw for state needs. Up to this point, the fee is assigned, and then it can be used for demolition or resettlement. The rest of the funds must be returned.
Doing house management is a simple task. This myth dates back to the 1920s and 1930s. It is believed that this occupation is unworthy of a real intellectual and professional. Some even believe that people are engaged in housing and communal services only because they cannot do anything else. However, many came to this area from other areas - from science, construction, army, medicine. Those techies and humanitarians who have worked in the HOA for at least a year are confidently debunking the myth. Managing an apartment building is not an easy task. The manager has to be both an economist and a psychologist, an engineer and a marketer, a lawyer and a estimator, a builder and a personnel officer. Are there so many versatile specialists who can cope with such a variety of tasks? How much do they have to pay then? Obviously less than the managers get.
You can make good money in real estate management. After reading several chapters of the Housing Code or Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 354 on the provision of utility services to residents of apartment buildings, the illusion of easy earnings will disappear. In addition, the manager will always be at the sight of the residents. Many will probably suspect him of theft - such is human nature. And recruiting agencies offer such a level of salaries that there are not many who wish.
Providing housing and communal services is a profitable business.It is worth remembering that this area is one of the most socially oriented. The authorities can be understood - it is impossible for housing and communal services to make up the bulk of the consumer basket. On the other hand, it turns out that most of the apartment buildings are served at municipal tariffs dictated from above and not always economically justified. And management companies have to work in market conditions, including paying for the work of contractors. The income level does little to stimulate business. When managing economy-class residential buildings, there is no need to talk about profitability.
The state compensates low-income citizens for high tariffs for housing and communal services. There is a law according to which the total payments for an apartment cannot exceed 22% of the total family income. Otherwise, the owners are entitled to a subsidy. In practice, getting it by collecting all the necessary documents is quite difficult. Especially elderly people suffer, who may not know their rights, and it is simply hard for them to stand in endless lines. They would rather eat worse, but pay their rent on time.
All issues are detailed in the housing legislation. The new Housing Code appeared in 2005. On the whole, it was a progressive document, which, however, did not avoid contradictions and errors. Almost every year the State Duma adopts amendments, but they not only do not eliminate the problem, but produce new questions. Each amendment is so incomprehensible that it hardly closes a hole in the Code. And given the general unsystematic nature of housing and communal services and domestic legislation, the emergence of such a specialization as a lawyer-housing worker is not surprising. An ordinary person can no longer understand laws, regulations and acts. Initially, the authorities tried to protect the interests of citizens, but everything turned out exactly the opposite. The latest regulations are so strict that law-abiding organizations simply cannot function normally. And insolent businessmen continue to ignore the law, ripping off the owners.