Posted 2 февраля 2023,, 08:47

Published 2 февраля 2023,, 08:47

Modified 2 февраля 2023,, 08:59

Updated 2 февраля 2023,, 08:59

Secrets of the new payment document: why communal needs becoming more expensive and how to deal with the impudence of the Criminal Code

Secrets of the new payment document: why communal needs becoming more expensive and how to deal with the impudence of the Criminal Code

2 февраля 2023, 08:47
Utility bills increased by 20%, Significantly raised the fee for communal needs. The maintenance of elevators, entrances, basements, courtyards is already half of the payment. Prices for the general economy fly outside the market, while the quality of services is far from market standards. How can tenants resist being ripped off?

Yulia Suntsova, Natalia Seibil

Federal and city authorities annually raise tariffs for housing and communal services.

In 2022, the "indexation" was carried out twice in Moscow – on July 1 (with the maximum level of tariff growth by 4-5%) and on December 1 (by 9%). In the first month of 2023, residents of the capital received updated bills, several lines in them were changed.

The total figure has increased due to the increase in tariffs for electricity and natural gas, and the so-called general household needs have also risen in price.

The payment for major repairs increased by 15%, for the maintenance of residential premises - by an average of 11%.

The Ministry of Economic Development explained: the increase in utility bills will help ensure the smooth operation of services in the future (?). They promised not to raise tariffs any more in the next year and a half.

In addition to the annual rise in the price of utilities, another issue has been maturing for a long time. A half share of the payment is expenses for the so–called general household needs. Let's take a January payment card from the Southern District of Moscow. Payment for an apartment with a total area of 49.1 sq.m., (living area of 33.8 sq. m.) with two residents and a modest expenditure of resources – 6045.51 + electricity, total on average 6.5 thousand rubles. Before the new year, an average of about 5.5 thousand rubles came out. Growth of almost 20%.

Half of the January payment – 3.094 rubles – are general household needs. This includes a fee for major repairs of 1911.23 rubles (if, for example, it is planned in 10 years, then the current owner may never find it), yard cleaning, heating and electricity in the entrance and cleaning in it.

At the same time, for example, according to the standards of the service organization GBU "Zhilishchnik", wet cleaning on each floor is planned only once a month, once a week – wet sweeping, cleaning of the first floor and porch – every day.

Thus, for example, only one entrance of a 9-storey building with four apartments in the stairwell pays about 120 thousand rubles a month for general household needs, and the whole house, if it has, say, 10 entrances – 1 million 200 thousand rubles. Once again: 1 million 200 thousand rubles a month for the maintenance of common property. 

The quality of services - especially cleaning of entrances and maintenance - always raise a lot of questions. But to this was added another problem.

Many residents of the MKD complain that they have to pay more for their communal needs than for their own apartments.

Until 2014, the share of household expenses did not exceed 3-10%, experts say, and this was quite enough for the salaries of janitors, cleaners, and dump trucks for garbage removal and batteries and light bulbs for entrances. To date, the costs of household needs are 4-5 times higher than their cost, and the upward trend does not seem to change without taking measures at the legislative level. 

Article 165 of the Housing Code of the Russian Federation provides for recalculation of resource consumption for general household needs, based on the actual difference in the readings of the general household accounting unit and the amount of resource consumption in apartments, the monetary difference should be returned to the account. However, common counters are not always the way out, says Gleb Gilinsky, head of the Association "Management Personnel of Urban Economy".

"In homes with severely worn-out communications, the installation of common metering devices can simply lead to the irretrievable destruction of these networks.

And in houses with old, ever-flowing pipes, outdated incandescent lamps in the ceiling instead of LED lamps, the installation of such common metering devices will only increase the line of ODN. It is reasonable to install meters in new houses or in houses that have undergone major repairs.

Rampant spending on communal needs is a direct consequence of the introduction of monopolistic intermediaries into the management of apartment buildings.

No one disputes that elevators, garbage chutes, attics, basements with pumps, washing floors in entrances, cleaning yards does not work on naked enthusiasm, and heat and light in entrances do not grow on trees. But the problem is that the actual payment for this farm exceeds the market by several times", - says Alexander Tolmachev, a public figure, deputy chairman of the Union of Lawyers of Moscow:

"In 2014, monopolism entered the house management system.

Our legislators have pushed through amendments to housing legislation. Instead of utilities, we are now being sold services for the provision of utilities. Many did not notice the substitution, and if they noticed, they did not understand the difference. But as soon as the word "services" appears in contracts, especially those provided by a commercial organization, these contracts become unilateral. If before that residents could influence tariffs through a general meeting, now we have a sale of services instead of selling resources, and monopolist companies dictate their unilateral order. Like it or not, be patient ...", – Tolmachev explains.

The situation can be corrected only by a global restructuring of the house management system. The common economy should be handled by homeowners' associations, cooperatives, and not management companies that draw tariffs from the ceiling, the lawyer believes.

"All other attempts to shift responsibility from themselves to officials or management organizations provoke the appearance of parasitic intermediaries. In addition to the real cost of heat, water, electricity, they will certainly want to impose on you the "investment" costs of network modernization (which you will never wait for), bank fraud on loans taken for this modernization, the services of accountants, "unified settlement centers" and other "specialists". Now, three–quarters of all expenses for ONE are payments for the services of such intermediaries", - Tolmachev says.

The problem is that the law on housing and communal services does not have a single tariff for housing maintenance in an apartment building. Apartment buildings are not the same, and each has its own costs. Someone has, conditionally, one light bulb for the entire entrance, and someone has air conditioners in the lobby. The tenant of a high-rise building with a hectare of house territory will have to pay more for maintenance than the owner of an apartment in a five-story building with a small yard, explains the head of the legal group Alexander Budaragin.

The algorithm for calculating the monthly fee for general household needs:


- calculate the total annual cost of all planned repairs and maintenance of housing;

- the amount received is divided by the number of real estate owners, in proportion to their share in the common property;

- the amount received is divided by 12 to calculate the monthly payment of the owner in the MCD.

"In order to prevent inadequate tariffs, which are really very often overstated several times, it is necessary to constantly monitor legislation in the housing and utilities sector. It is not easy to do this without special education and experience, it is difficult for many owners, and there is no time to delve into it. It is good if there is a lawyer actively involved in house management in the house. Otherwise, houses probably need to hire another specialist for legal support, or at least once every six months to order a legal opinion on housing and communal services with an analysis of documents and recommendations. Otherwise, there will be many who want to earn extra money on tenants, on their ignorance of the mechanisms of accruals in the current housing and communal services system", - Budaragin emphasizes.

Galina Khovanskaya, politician, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Housing Policy and Housing and Communal Services (2011 — 2021):- "NI": Galina Petrovna, why is the payment for communal needs in apartment buildings growing uncontrollably and is already approaching half of the payment?

- Galina Khovanskaya:

In Moscow, nothing should have changed in this regard since January 2023, because an exception was made from the norm for the general house payment, which is in the Housing Code. Everything there was crammed into the norm, which we called "maintenance and current repairs", and continues to be crammed in. On closer inspection, these are actual housing services. Cleaning is a housing service provided to you by the Management Company or HOA. Housing services include maintenance and maintenance. A separate line prescribes a contribution for major repairs.

But the heating of the entrance, for example, is already a communal service. In Moscow payments there is no separate line for heating in the entrance, it is included in the line "content". Heating is calculated according to the standard, based on the area. What the word "tariff" is applied to means utilities. So, the management company can only change the payment for housing services, bringing it up for discussion at the general meeting of owners. If the general meeting does not make any decision, the city makes it for them (if we are talking about Moscow). Tariffs for utilities are not subject to change, they are set by the head of the subject of the Federation.

- "NI":

How can one understand that the payment for general needs is overstated and is it possible to influence it in any way?- G.H.: You need to compare your payment, based on the standards per square meter, with the city rate, which is reflected in the decree of the government of Moscow.

The parameters are changing. But you still need to compare, the only way to find out if your bid is higher or the same as the citywide Moscow one. If the rates are too high, you need to figure it out. In elite houses, for example, there are often not enough amounts that can be charged at the city rate. They accept their norm or the management company comes out with such an initiative. The main thing to remember here is that the Criminal Code can increase the norm only within the framework of a bilateral agreement with tenants with the mandatory holding of a general meeting and the attachment of an additional list of works for which the amounts taken in excess of the norm will be spent.

A mandatory list of works for all apartment buildings is established by the Ministry of Construction and Housing and Communal Services. You need to know the list of these mandatory jobs. If the Management Company offers additional services, they must be recorded and agreed with the tenants and should not be duplicated with the mandatory ones. It is also necessary not to lose sight of the features of the house itself and even the entrance. A house with an elevator or without an elevator? Is there a garbage chute or not? I had a man at my reception today who lives in a six-entrance house. There is a garbage chute in five entrances of this house, and there is no garbage chute in its entrance No. 6. But the Criminal Code charges him, like the rest of the residents of the house, a fee for the garbage chute. It's in such little things that the devil usually lies. Why not put money in your pocket for the maintenance of a garbage chute that does not exist?