Rates out of thin air: how management companies are cashing in on tenants

Rates out of thin air: how management companies are cashing in on tenants

The housing sector and construction have traditionally headed the list of leaders in the number of violations of the law, told reporters the Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika 25 APR 2017. talking to lawyers and human rights organizations that work with citizens ‘ complaints on managing companies in the housing sector, and find out what kind of loopholes used by managers for more, not always legitimate income.

Have management companies there are many opportunities to literally ransack the house, inflating the prices of fares, due to the carelessness of tenants, indicates the Executive Director of the Association “housing Control” Vera Moskvina. At costs citizens are, paradoxically, as a result of their own passive position, said the expert of the Fund “Institute for urban Economics” Dmitry Gordeyev. Tariffs on household services prescribed in the management contract, which typically is for a term of from two to five years and is negotiated between the tenants and the management company. understand what you should pay attention to avoid excessive cost of IHC.

Methods of weaning

According to the government decree on the minimum list of services that should provide the control of the company, the primary duty of the criminal code consists in regular inspection of the houses and the correction of identified deficiencies. This document contains requirements for the valuation of such inspections, but he does not reglamentary their frequency, as well as the volume of repair works, says Gordeev from the “Institute for urban Economics”. This allows management companies to identify “unforeseen work” in the course of inspections and to take them for an additional fee from tenants. Because of the uniqueness of each individual home and inadequate regulation have management companies there are a wide range of opportunities for overstating the cost of services, the expert said. He even shared a case from his own practice, when auditors found in the list of repair works offered one of the criminal code, repeat procedures and unnecessary materials. After negotiations with the management company the cost of repairing the house was reduced by almost 30%.

But one of the most common ways of obtaining profits enjoyed by the operating companies, is the inclusion in the contract monthly fee per square meter. According to Gordeyev from the “Institute for urban Economics”, the tariff with reference to a square meter indicates the opacity of the pricing policies and is a sure sign of the overpayment. While tenants often do not confuse these rates at the stage of conclusion of the contract, because they had become accustomed to such pricing in the Soviet times. “We have still preserved the Soviet stereotype that the fee shall be fixed per square meter. But if the owner will spend time and contemplate, it turns out that everything is overpriced in terms of the cost of specific services”, — Gordeyev explains. Experts advise on contracts with the UK the cost is not for the meter, namely for services.

Photo: Alexander Ryumin / TASS

This practice management companies allows them to inflate the cost and of repairs. According to the law on capital repairs (act No. 271 “About modification of the Housing code of the Russian Federation”), tenants have the right to delegate the collection of contributions for the repair of their management companies, like the partner of the legal company Orient Partners Kseniya Kazakova. However, the President of the Guild of lawyers real estate market Oleg Sukhov notes that even if the collection of funds for capital repairs deals UK, the decision on the amount of contribution accepted by the tenants themselves. “The owners of a building who decided to open a special account which will be credited the funds for the repair, can at a General meeting determine the amount of the monthly fee. However, the fee cannot be less than the established regional authorities of minimum,” — adds the lawyer. In Moscow the minimum contribution rate from 29 Dec 2014 is 15 rubles. per square meter, from July 1 this year it will be increased to 17 rubles.

Partner of the law Bureau A2 Michael Kurgaev adds that the UK usually use more sophisticated ways of maximizing profit rather than overstatement of contributions for capital repairs. “Sometimes the UK can be included in General rates fees for trivial services. When the contract is consistent with tenants and regulatory authorities, they may not ask about the pricing of certain fares. And if they see some absurd expenditure made in the list separately, you can ask questions”, — cites the example of the lawyer. A leading expert on housing law and housing organization “For human rights” Viktor Fedoruk gives an example of such a global pricing practices. We are talking about a payment for maintenance counters, which management companies are also often include, for example, in a more General article maintenance fees in-house systems of water supply and sanitation. No regulations for this service no, says the expert. “Tenants give for 50 $ per month for maintenance of meters, but works nobody holds. Management companies just wipe the dust of them!” — outraged human rights activist.

Not only fares

Management companies are not limited to fraud rates. As pointed out by Viktor Fedoruk, it has recently been approached by several citizens who consider themselves victims of a conspiracy SSO cents settlement and management companies. According to them, the management companies took lists of people receiving subsidies for payment of housing and communal services, and using the right to suspend grants due to debt, asked his colleagues from the estimated centers to send “victims” of debt receipts reported on the debt since the end of the last decade. That is, people actually attributed to fictitious debts, emphasizes Fedoruk.

The expert adds that to protect their right to subsidies for victims in court. The problem is that litigation is costly and citizens is often easier to agree with the UK requirement to pay non-existent debt to keep the subsidy. It is noteworthy that, according to Khvedaruk, in this particular case, the law would be entirely on the side of the plaintiffs, even if the debt was real. The fact that inclusion in the receipt warning about duty, staff uniform control centers have grossly violated the government’s decree No. 491, directly against it. To avoid fraud with a non-existent debt, Fedoruk advised to save receipts for payment of utility bills from banks.

How to defend your rights

To avoid excessive payments, tenants first need to carefully monitor the activities of the criminal code, believes the Executive Director of the Association “housing Control” Vera Moskvina. The most effective way of monitoring the quality of service is an organization of homeowners associations (HOA).

For proper functioning of TSZH it is necessary to correctly draw up a contract with the management company. “It is necessary to register not only the services but also the procedure for changing the contract” — said Gordeev. Moskvina, in turn, warns that the agreement with the UK is for a term of up to five years, so if the company is trying to make it indefinite, then it is a direct violation.

If the management company will include in bills cause issues tariffs that have not been negotiated at the stage of signing the contract, tenants should raise the minutes of the meetings of the HOA and to request clarification from the UK. If the rate really were not agreed upon during the signing of the contract, then you need to file a complaint in the municipal housing inspection, says partner of the law office A2 Michael Gurjev.

When the management company is entrusted to collect funds for the repair, at the time homeowners can hire third-party experts to verify the spending plan, reminiscent of the interviewed experts. However, the tenants themselves need to know set by the authorities the minimum threshold for contributions for the repair and size agreed with the criminal code of the payment specifies the senior lawyer of the law office of Maria Ponamoreva A2.

With the participation of Dmitry Kryukov