Collectors were forbidden to poke their noses into social housing apartments

Professional hairstylist cutting and styling client's hair in modern salon

Коллекторам запретили совать нос в квартиры соцнайма

Since May 3 of this year, the ban on the transfer of debt collectors of citizens for housing and utilities has been expanded. What will change?

Recall that since 2019, the law has prohibited management companies, HOA, energy suppliers and regional garbage management operators from involving collection agencies in debt repayment. From now on, local governments – landlords of housing under a social loan agreement – are prohibited from assigning the right to claim debts for housing and communal services to collectors and third parties.

Of course, it is wonderful that since May 3, another loophole has been closed for “professional knockers”: if suddenly some municipality sells to collectors the “communal” debts of a person living in a social loan apartment (in other words, in non-privatized housing), such a transaction will be considered void (invalid). In other words, any call from collectors, a personal meeting or other events that were previously practiced, from May 3, automatically turned into illegal. It is also impossible to issue a power of attorney to collectors for debt collection.

What happens? Did it take parliamentarians five whole years to amend Article 155 of the Housing Code of the Russian Federation prohibiting local authorities from assigning citizens’ debts for housing and communal services to collectors? For private housing, such a ban has been in effect since 2019, and municipalities, as if nothing had happened, could have terrified residents of the social housing stock by sending professional collectors to them? Was it an accidental oversight of the deputies or did they intentionally leave preferences to local authorities?

Vera Moskvina, Executive Director of the Moscow City Housing and Communal Services Control Association, commented on the innovation: “Restrictions imposed at the legislative level will protect citizens from excessive measures applied by collectors. This is an important step in innovative consumer protection.” It’s great, of course, that they will protect, and consumer rights will be already innovatively (?) protected, but it would be even more innovative if legislators did not pull the rubber for five years, because we are talking about not the most well-off citizens.

No one likes communicating with collectors. But if the borrower most often commits debts on loans and loans through his own fault (buys something unnecessary, takes more money than he can give, does not read into the terms of the contract), then everything is different with debts for communal services. Tariffs are rising, and elderly people with a small pension after buying medicines have nothing to pay for gas or heating, or a family with children has a difficult financial situation, dad is not paid a salary or someone loses their job… A delay in payments can happen to anyone. Tariffs and regulations cannot be influenced, and some residents spend half of their income on utilities. And now such people, and even those living in apartments of the social housing fund, have been favored. I bow low, gentlemen deputies, but next time be faster in making decisions if you really care about the people.

We add that neither the amendments of 2019 nor the changes of 2024 regarding the work of collection agencies with debts for housing and communal services do not mean that such debts do not need to be repaid. Residents of both privatized apartments and social ones must pay for gas, water, major repairs, light and garbage collection. If, for some reason, debts still appeared, then management companies, owners’ associations, housing cooperatives and landlords of social housing, resource organizations have the right to recover them through the court in a simplified manner and with the help of bailiffs. If collectors still bother you, complain to the bailiff service, the collectors association, and the prosecutor’s office. For one such violation, the agency may be excluded from the register, and it will not be able to work even on loans.

Elena Kazantseva.

Photo: AdobeStock


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