Common pool or bank account? The experts discussed the problems in overhauling of apartment buildings

1 november 2013

“The terms and conditions of the new system of collecting money for the overhauling of apartment buildings are unreal, not only for the owners themselves, but also for the regions whose budgets cannot bear the additional burden”, said Galina Khovanskaya, Head of the State Duma Committee on Housing Policy at the round table entitled “Ensuring informed choice for owners of premises in apartment buildings in the methods of forming major repair funds”.

Participants emphasized that, before long, there may appear an additional monthly tax of 9–10 rubles per square meter on people’s residential tax bills. Total charges under the new scheme will reach about 200 billion rubles per year.

Maria Shilina, Head of Directorate for Housing and Communal Services at the Analytical Center, said that the Housing Code determined two methods of accumulation of money for repairs: on a special bank account or in one ‘common pool’ of the so-called regional operator. Which option to choose, residents of each building must decide at a general meeting.

Galina Khovanskaya said that, initially, in the field of payment for the overhaul of apartment buildings, there emerged the idea of ​​a general scheme for the creation of a common sum of money, the so-called “common pool”. This option, in her opinion, is “potentially corrupt and unfair to the owners of apartments in new buildings, or those which recently underwent a major renovation”. Later, based on the instructions of the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, it was decided to create a special account, which would be opened for each building separately. However, things are not all that simple, said the deputy: “If the owners do not have the time needed – two months – to go through all the necessary bureaucratic procedures, for the next two years the money is transferred to the common account. Thus the owners do not know exactly what they are paying for”.

There are other problems as well. According to the experts, 80% of the housing stock is the responsibility of organizations responsible for housing and communal services. Thus, in accordance with the Housing Code, they are included in the forbidden list of entities which cannot open special bank accounts. It has been said that the new system of insurance does not apply to “special” accounts, so no one will be protected from bankruptcy.

In particular, experts paid particular attention to the analysis of models involving the formation of overhaul funds in terms of their impact on the economy and social stability of the region, the creation of conditions to attract investments and conduct energy-efficient repairs.