What you need to know so that you are not evicted from your apartment for housing and communal services debts

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In Russian legislation, the grounds for eviction of tenants and apartment owners are very different..

Grounds for eviction of tenants

The Housing Code states that eviction from an apartment of people living in them under a social employment contract is possible only after a delay in payment of utility bills for 6 months. At the same time, the state is obliged to provide the evicted person with other housing according to the norms of the hostel (6 meters per person).

Grounds for eviction of apartment owners

If the apartment, for which there is a large debt for utilities, is the only residence of a Russian, he cannot be evicted at all. This is expressly prohibited by Article 446 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This prohibition does not apply to owners of several apartments..

How not to lose an apartment for non-payment of utilities

The code says that people living in social housing can be evicted after 6 months of non-payment, but there is no mention of any linking of eviction to the amount of debt in the housing estate. It is enough for the employer to pay monthly utility bills for any, even the smallest amount (for example, 100 rubles) to avoid eviction.

Eviction from the apartment takes place only by a court decision. To avoid the loss of an apartment, during the trial, you can refer to valid reasons that did not allow timely payment of utility bills. These include:

  • long delay in wages;
  • the presence of dependent minor children;
  • dismissal from work;
  • difficult financial situation.

The court will certainly heed the arguments of the debtor, because decisions to evict tenants from an apartment for debts are made very rarely in Russia. According to the Housing Committee, out of 30,000 lawsuits to terminate a social employment agreement filed in 2014 in Russian courts, only 7 were satisfied..

The procedure for collecting debts from home owners

Of course, it is impossible to evict the owner from the apartment, provided that he has no other housing, but this does not mean that non-payment of utilities does not threaten him. At the moment in Russia most of the houses are on the balance sheet of management companies. Therefore, if there are large debts for utilities, the management company sends a letter to the owner of the home demanding to pay off the debt. If the tenant makes contact, the management company can agree with him on an installment plan or other preferential payment terms, if the tenant flatly refuses to pay, the parties meet already in court.

If a decision is made to collect a debt, the employees of the management company receive a writ of execution and hand it over to bailiffs who begin work to collect the debt. The executors, of course, cannot seize the debtor’s only property, but this prohibition does not apply to other property. Arrest can be imposed on:

  • household appliances;
  • car;
  • other movable property of the debtor.

The seized property is sold at auction, due to which the debt is paid off. The debt can also be written off from the debtor’s bank account.

This method of paying off the debt will cost the apartment owner much more than the usual payment for housing and communal services, because another 7% is added to the amount of debt (payment for bailiffs). Do not forget about the payment of interest, which accumulates during the delay in payment, and also about the fact that after collecting utility bills through the court, the likelihood of obtaining a loan from the bank decreases.

How to apply for a subsidy

At the beginning of 2015, one of the collection agencies in Moscow conducted a study of the economic condition of defaulters of housing and communal services in one of the city’s districts. The results were amazing: more than half of the hard-core non-payers are quite wealthy people. The reason for their growing debt for housing and communal services is usually the reluctance to pay for services that they do not use, banal forgetfulness or change of place of residence (when the owner of a share in an apartment moves, but debts for housing and communal services continue to be charged in his name).

But often the non-payers of housing and communal services are also unemployed or poor Russians. The reason for their growing debt is usually one – a banal lack of funds. To reduce the amount of payment for housing for low-income citizens, the Russian government proposes to issue a subsidy that compensates for part of payments for housing and communal services.

To whom the subsidy is issued

According to the Housing Code, it can be received by both apartment owners and people living in them under a social contract. The level of income that allows you to qualify for a subsidy depends on regional standards for the cost of housing and communal services, established by each subject of the Russian Federation.

Amount and term of payments

The amount of state aid differs depending on the level of income, the number of family members and the cost of housing and communal services. For example, in Samara, the amount of subsidy for one unemployed person, provided that he spends about 5 thousand rubles on utility bills, is 2,729 rubles a month. Payments are made within 6 months.

Registration procedure

To receive a subsidy, you must contact the district office of the Unified Settlement Center. There, in addition to an application for a subsidy, you must submit the following documents:

  • identity documents;
  • documents confirming the right to own or use the apartment;
  • document confirming payment for utility services for the last month;
  • document on the presence or absence of debt for utilities;
  • certificate of income for the last 6 months;
  • details and bank account number for transferring the subsidy.

The decision to grant a subsidy is made within 10 days after the submission of documents.

The statute of limitations myth

There is a widespread belief that utility bills can be easily avoided. It is enough not to pay for three years and after that the statute of limitations comes, so the debt can no longer be collected.

Indeed, the general statute of limitations under Russian law is three years. And when tenants paid for utilities directly to organizations supplying utilities, this way of getting rid of debt was quite possible. The lawyers of city water utilities or gorgaz simply did not have time to file claims against all debtors.

But in today’s reality, you should not pin your hopes on the statute of limitations: more and more houses are transferred to the balance of management companies (MC). In some constituent entities of the Russian Federation, 100% of apartment buildings are already listed under the Criminal Code.

Contracts for payment of utility bills are usually concluded between the management company of the house and utility providers, and any delay in the residents of the building with payment for housing and utilities leads to losses for the management company. Therefore, you should not think that the lawyers of the Criminal Code will wait three years to file a claim for debt collection..

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