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Sergey Sobyanin Gave Control Over Condominium Partnerships to Moscow Housing Inspection: Experts Dread Abusive Practice

Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin said on Friday during the working meeting of the Moscow administration that the control over the activities of the house managing companies and Condominium Partnerships will be imposed on the Moscow Housing Inspection.

I am ordering to prepare a relevant draft resolution of Moscow administration on delegating the control over managing companies to the Moscow Housing Inspection”, — Sobyanin said at the working meeting in the Moscow municipality.

The mayor entrusted his deputy in housing and public utilities Petr Biryukov to prepare a relevant draft resolution of Moscow administration on assigning the functions of control over the managing companies prescribed by the federal law to the Moscow Housing Inspection.

Sergei Sobyanin also gave the order to consider the possible changes in the Moscow Housing Inspection structure and its staff list.

As the deputy head of the Moscow city council committee on municipal facilities and services Valeriy Skobinov says, under the newly adopted amendments to the Housing Code the control over the activities directed at apartment houses management is imposed on local authorities. According to the amendments the authorities are to assist citizens in choosing the way of house management, monitor the activities of Condominium Partnerships and managing companies and call them to account. In Moscow the Moscow Housing Inspection has been chosen to fight with phony Condominium Partnerships and dishonest managing companies.

The Moscow Housing Inspection which has been operating in the city for 20 years monitors the compliance with the quality standards as to technical maintenance of residential houses and engineering equipment as well as their safekeeping. Apart from that the inspection controls the quality of providing housing and communal services for people and grants planning permissions.

From now on the inspectors will also check the validity of Condominium Partnerships’ creation, the legality of their statutes and their managers’ elections.

The inspection itself refrains from any comments concerning its new functions until the publication of the order document by the City Council.

Come experts are prone to see in the innovation a danger for honest Condominium Partnerships.

“Replacing the control from the side of the apartment owners with the control exercised by the administrative establishment may have negative consequences” – the co-chairman of Housing Solidarity movement Dmitriy Kataev says. – This seemingly clever innovation may become a weapon against normal Condominium Partnerships, which do not permit stealing and against managing companies which are independent of the councils and public engineering service agencies. Now any foolish cavil on the part of the Moscow Housing Inspection can be the reason of closing down a normal Condominium Partnership. Already now they are cutting it too fat in Moscow – it has become practically impossible to organize a new Condominium Partnership.” In the expert’s opinion, the citizens who are ready to engage in self-administration work must not get another bureaucratic controlling structure, which activities are not subject to any control from outside, but real opportunities for house management.

The Housing Code of the Russian Federation which became operative since March 1 2005 introduced a notion of an apartment house as a subject to management and contains a treatment of legal relationship emerging in an apartment house. The Housing Code defines three ways of apartment house management: direct control of house owners, management by a Condominium Partnership and management by a managing company.

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