Citizens complained to the Popular Front about the quality of work of management companies

Citizens complained to the Popular Front about the quality of work of management companies

Up to 60% of residents in Russia complain about housing and communal services problems due to the fault of management organizations, and approximately the same number say there are no positive changes in their home or a deterioration in its condition over the past year. This is evidenced by the results of a survey in 87 regions of the Russian Federation conducted by the Popular Front. At the same time, over 40% of respondents spend 10–20% of family income on utility bills. The State Duma Committee on Construction and Housing and Communal Services calls the management of apartment buildings “neglected,” admitting that residents “have virtually no levers to influence the situation.”

Popular Front experts surveyed about 15.9 thousand citizens in 87 constituent entities of the federation (in the format of an online survey) as part of comprehensive monitoring in the housing and communal services sector. It turned out that about 80% of respondents live in apartment buildings. At the same time, 60% of respondents reported that they had encountered problems in the field of public services, and “due to the fault of management organizations.” A quarter of survey participants had problems with water supply over the past year, and 23% of respondents had problems with heating. In 57% of cases, respondents cited network failures as the cause of outages. Among the problems with common property, 38% of respondents named the maintenance of entrances, elevators and courtyards, as well as “routine repairs”; another third mentioned “home structural maintenance.” 41% of citizens found the condition of their home to be satisfactory, poor, or not changing for the better, and 18% of respondents noticed a “significant deterioration.” Only 10% of respondents reported an improvement in the condition of the building. At the same time, more than 40% of respondents pay from 10% to 20% of family income for utilities, and up to 8% have debts for housing and communal services (explaining this by a decrease in income against the backdrop of “increasing costs of goods and services” and the emergence of difficult life situations).

The survey was conducted from September to November 2023, but its results have not yet been published, the Popular Front explained. Last winter, a number of regions experienced power outages. In January 2024, in the Tambov region, due to a break in the heating main in the city of Michurinsk, 25 houses were left without heating; in Kolchugino, Vladimir region, 102 apartment buildings were in a similar situation; in the Novosibirsk region - 104 residential buildings and 13 social institutions. People complained about heating shutdowns due to accidents in Pervouralsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl region, Volgograd and Yekaterinburg. The most widespread incidents were in the Moscow region: in Klimovsk, 174 apartment buildings, where 40 thousand people lived, were left without heating. After the accident, the authorities decided to nationalize the cartridge plant in Klimovsk, where the local boiler house was located. State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin appealed to prosecutors with a request to take control of the situation in the regions. The State Duma Committee on Construction and Housing and Public Utilities reminded that 40% of the country's municipal infrastructure requires immediate replacement. Mr. Volodin criticized concession agreements in the housing and communal services sector against the backdrop of accidents. Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Marat Khusnullin estimated that about 4.5 trillion rubles are required to restore order in the public utilities sector.

Popular Front expert Dmitry Tsvich says that among the reasons for poor maintenance of an apartment building, survey participants cited inaction of management companies, violation of building maintenance rules and misuse of funds. “Respondents proposed introducing personal liability for violations in the work of management organizations, as well as conducting inspections of their activities on a regular basis, and based on the results, obliging them to eliminate the identified shortcomings not only on paper, but also in practice,” explained Mr. Tsvich. Citizens also complained about poor communication with the management company, including the inability to contact it, for example, due to the lack of reports on repair work done. At the same time, the study generally notes “a low level of public awareness of housing management issues.”

“Of all housing and communal services, the sphere of management of apartment buildings is the most complex, neglected and critical. A tangle of problems has accumulated here,” Svetlana Razvorotneva (ER), deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Construction and Housing and Public Utilities, told Kommersant. She reminds that, by law, homeowners must be responsible for the maintenance of common property, determine the cost of its maintenance, hire management companies and change them if they fail: “But in fact, residents cannot do anything.” Conducting general meetings of owners (where such issues should be resolved.— “Kommersant”) is “paralyzed,” including due to restrictions on access to personal data and the inability to request a register of owners, Ms. Razvorotneva complains. The expert mentions a large number of forgeries of minutes of such meetings: “It is difficult for owners to fight them. They cannot obtain a report from the housing inspectorate in order to go to court with it, and the internal affairs bodies do not initiate cases in such cases.” Among the problems, the deputy mentions the lack of a method of calculating for the maintenance of the house and current repairs: “In a large number of cases, houses are underfunded, not properly maintained, and this leads to a deterioration in their condition. Residents have virtually no leverage to influence the situation.”

Alexander Voronov

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