How to pay less for a communal apartment: Lawyer Yemelyanov listed ways to reduce utility costs

“Article 155 of the Housing Code of the Russian Federation explicitly states that the owner is not exempted from paying for housing and communal services if he does not live in his apartment,” lawyer Dmitry Yemelyanov explained to Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

He clarifies that for the owners of the utility bill, the housing and communal services will consist of several types of expenses:

– payments for consumed communal resources (electricity, water, heating, sewerage, waste disposal);

– monthly installments for overhaul;

– general house expenses distributed among all owners of residential premises (lighting of general-purpose premises and adjacent territory, heating, etc.).

“In accordance with Article 157 of the Housing Code of the Russian Federation, the final payment for housing and communal services is formed based on the readings of metering devices. If there are none, the payment will be determined in accordance with the consumption standards established in a particular region,” the lawyer adds.

At the same time, there are quite legitimate ways to save on utility bills. There are a number of options available to significantly reduce your housing costs.

1. Installation of individual and smart meters. Payment will be made only on the basis of meter readings. If the owner plans not to be in the apartment for a long time, sealing the meters is allowed. This can be done provided that there are no debts for housing and communal services.

2. Control over the number of registered persons. Some types of payments are charged based on the number of registered in the apartment. If you write out from the dwelling of those citizens who are not related to it, the amount for housing and communal services can significantly decrease.

3. Benefits and subsidies. According to Russian law, all low-income citizens of the Russian Federation are eligible to apply for subsidies. This is a kind of cashback, which the state returns to all citizens who pay their utility bills in a timely manner. Beneficial categories of citizens can reduce their spending on housing and communal services by a significant amount.

4. Cancellation of unused services. In many apartments, a significant expense item is the payment for a city telephone, a collective antenna or a radio point. If the owner does not live in his apartment, he may well refuse these services.

5. Recalculation. If the owner does not live in the apartment, he may require the management company to recalculate. This is possible in situations where there are no metering devices in the dwelling, and the owner himself is absent for more than 5 days (but not more than 6 months). To take advantage of this opportunity, you need to visit the Criminal Code and write a corresponding application, attach documentation confirming the actual absence from the apartment.

“Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 354 “Rules for the provision of public services” from the moment of adoption assumed the possibility of recalculation. However, in practice this was not applied, since there was no specific mechanism for recalculation. That is why on November 16, 2022 2023, all citizens of the Russian Federation can exercise the right to recalculation in the event of a temporary absence from their homes,” the specialist added.

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