Amendments to several articles of the Housing Code, which came into force on November 7, allow residents of the country to pay bills for housing and communal services in a new way and seek compensation for poor quality of their provision.
In theory, the Russians could have demanded recalculation for hot water and electricity earlier, but practice has shown that this was almost impossible to achieve. The tenant who suffered from the utilities had to go through all the circles of hell to figure out what the management company was responsible for, and what the resource supplying organization was responsible for and who would do the recalculation. Both of them traditionally shifted the blame on each other, so it was possible to achieve the truth only in those cases if the damage was obvious, for example, for several days no water was supplied or the heating was turned off.
Now the Housing Code contains the answer to the question: who exactly should be responsible for problems with housing and communal services. All disputes on compensation for damages to tenants for poor quality utilities will be resolved between resource and management companies.
“According to the new rules, tenants must demand recalculation from the organization with which they have signed a service contract. If with the management company, then with her. If directly with the resource supplying organization, then you need to contact it there. If the contract is concluded with the Criminal Code, the tenant writes there an application for recalculation. And it does not matter at all who is to blame for the poor-quality service. If the Criminal Code is not to blame, then it is still obliged to recalculate, and then independently deal with the resource-supplying organization and demand compensation from it, ”explains Svetlana Petrikova, partner of the law firm.
“For example, a house is supplied with quite high-quality water, but the pipes for which the management company is responsible are in an ugly state. Therefore, in the apartments, in fact, rust flows from the tap. Previously, residents could get knocked off their feet, running between resource workers and the management company and figuring out who was to blame. Now they may not even think about this topic. These organizations will sort it out among themselves, ”lawyer Mikhail Kolymagin confirms her words.
HOW TO RETURN THE MONEY
First, you need to collect evidence that there are problems with the delivery of services. It is better to immediately contact the housing inspection and call a specialist from there. If he sees deviations, he will draw up an appropriate act and hand it over to the applicant. It is with this document that you should go to the organization with which the service contract is concluded. Testimony, photos, video filming can be attached to the act.
In an emergency, you need to contact the emergency dispatch service. Specialists must arrive at the site and record the violation no later than two hours from the moment of receiving the message about the violation of the quality of the utility service. Upon verification, it is also necessary to draw up an act. If officials refuse to satisfy the request for recalculation, you should go to court.
According to lawyers, the new rules make it fairly easy to return money to consumer accounts. Previously, even if it was possible to achieve recalculation, the utilities did not give real money, but preferred to offset the overpayment in future bills. Now it will be easier to get your money back.
At the same time, the rule that the culprit of poor-quality provision of services must pay a fine to a specific affected resident has disappeared from the Housing Code. Experts say that fines were rarely used before and could not motivate resource workers to do good work.
“Most often, quality violations were associated with the lack of funds for the organizations necessary for repair and modernization. And in this case, the fines further worsened the financial situation of enterprises. In addition, the administrative costs associated with the payment of income tax on the amount of the fine could exceed it many times over, ”said Svetlana Razorotneva, executive director of the public organization Housing and Communal Services Control. True, if, due to problems with a communal apartment, a person has suffered losses or injured his health, then he can demand compensation. It happens that city dwellers even receive compensation for moral damage from utilities, but for this they will again have to file a lawsuit.
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