Ukrainians owed billions for communal: the danger of a debtors register and what to do

In Ukraine the amount of debt for utility services reaches billion hryvnia. Heating for several years has risen in price almost twice. The government invites the Ukrainians to pay for heat in installments throughout the year. Those who ignore bills, you risk losing the property. The website “Segodnia” found that threatens the debtors and what to do if you do not have enough money to communal..

The worst pay in Ivano-Frankivsk and Kherson regions

With the beginning of the heating season, the amount in the payment for communal services increased on average by 70%. 2016/2017 heating season was a record expensive for Ukrainians. So, in Kiev, one Gcal of heat rose from 657,24 to 1416,96 hryvnia. On average, says energy auditor Sergei Svistun for heating two-bedroom apartments have to use 1.3 Gcal of heat. During the heating season 2015/2016 this amount of heat was worth 854 hryvnia, and at the moment – 1842 hryvnia.

According to the State statistics service, in October of last year the debt of Ukrainians for communal reached 16.7 billion hryvnia. Most debtors in Ivano-Frankivsk, Kherson and Sumy regions. The Ukrainians are paid only 59% of the assessed amount for communal. Most debts for heating and hot water 4.8 billion, in second place electricity – the amount of debt reached 3.1 billion hryvnia.

In a typical high-rise building utility bills are not closed every fifth apartment. Most often debts accumulate over the winter, and in summer to repay. “In Kiev from the total number of personal accounts about 20%, or about 170 thousand apartments have debts for “a communal flat”. Of these, about 30% is to delay payment for a month or two” – says the General Director of “Center of municipal services” Katerina Sarkisova.

Photo: archive

While not all debtors do not have the capacity to pay the bills. Many people simply ignore the bills, despite the relatively high level of income, experts say. “We have approximately 20% in each house do not pay for utilities, or pay bills part”, – says acting Director Ternovsky public utilities company Igor Zayarny.

This year the subsidy will have to obtain 9 out of 15 million families, that is, the majority of Ukrainians. The subsidy depends on the size of the apartment, level of income and number of people in the family. The average “discount utility” allows you to pay for services for about 15% of the total family income.

How to punish debtors: the penalty, the courts and registry

Debtors by a court decision can arrest apartment, car or any other property on account of debt. In the past year, says the lawyer Alexander Plahotnik in luck one of the debtors was arrested the apartment, and then sold it at a public auction. Homeowners do not pay for “communal” for many years. According to the law, said Alexander Plahotnik, to recover from the debtor can be “communal” in three years. The apartment has sold about 450 thousand hryvnia, 50 thousand took “office”, and the remaining amount was given to the owners of the sold apartments.

By the way, in Ukraine the simplified system of debt collection. Any housing office may apply to the court by the debtor, then the decision will be made within three days. The court order on collecting of the property is issued without hearing and without calling the parties.

At the moment, Parliament is considering the draft law “On housing and communal services”. The document must be taken for the work of the energy efficiency Fund. As noted by Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Zubko, the bill is under constant monitoring by international partners of Ukraine.

Photo: archive

As noted by Deputy Chairman of the parliamentary Committee on construction, urban development and housing and communal services Aliona Babak, the bill is a moot point – the Ukrainian debts for communal planning are required to pay a penalty. “In case of untimely payment for utility services the consumer is obliged to pay a penalty in the amount established in the contract, but not higher than 0.1% for each day of delay of debt”, – stated in the bill. So, the debt can increase by 36.5%. The maximum penalty cannot be more than 100% of the debt. There are penalties after the 20th of each month. So, if we defer payment for 10 days, you will have to pay only 1% more.

This year , the Ministry of justice has launched a registry of debtors. It was not only Ukrainians with debts for communal. “If it’s a loan, debt with it either, and against a citizen filed a lawsuit and won it, information about it will appear in the registry,” explains Plakhotnik.

Information can benefit the credit card companies, banks, developers. For example, the lawyer says that if the owner of the apartment you will find a housing applicant in this list, this may be a reason for refusal in the lease.

What to do if you can’t pay

Utilities are ready to abandon the claims in court, if the debtors agree to pay the bills. So, the debt can be restructured and to pay installments. In Kiev Center of municipal services (CCS) offers to pay the debt in 4 years: it is necessary to conclude the contract.

“From December 2015, the group has intensified its work with the debtors, we work with debt for heating, hot and cold water supply, drainage, which were provided to the population of July 1, 2014”, – quotes the press service of the Ministry Deputy General Director of CKS Valentina Dubovik.

According to the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ukrainians also had the opportunity to make installments and pay accumulated during the season the amount for the whole year. For this we need to write to the company that supplies heat for heating. According to the decree of the Cabinet of Ministers, the installment interest-free, and the entire assessed amount for the heating season will be divided in equal installments not six months (from October to April, when the batteries are hot) as it is now, but at 12. This will reduce the monthly payment by half.