Likbez: when the owner of an apartment can legally not let public utilities workers in
Employees of one or another communal organization periodically appear on the thresholds of our apartments, demanding that they be granted access to the living quarters for the next inspection or for some work to be carried out.
Moreover, as a rule, they are firmly convinced that the mere fact of their visit is enough for their demand to be immediately fulfilled.
Meanwhile, notes the portal
Accordingly, if such conditions are not met, the homeowner has every right to refuse to let unauthorized persons into his apartment.
As follows from the current Rules for the provision of public services (approved by the Government of the Russian Federation of May 6, 2011 No. 354), managing organizations and other public service providers have the right to require the owner of the apartment to provide them with admission to the dwelling, if necessary:
- conduct an inspection of the technical and sanitary condition of the in-house equipment, perform the necessary repairs and check the elimination of shortcomings in the provision of public services.
At the same time, the requirement for admission to the apartment can be declared as needed, but not more than 1 time in 3 months (except when it is necessary to eliminate the accident — then the request can be made at any time — clause 32 of Regulation No. 354);
- install an electricity meter when such an obligation is assigned to a supplier of last resort or a grid organization (clause 32 of Rules No. 354);
- check the utility meters located in the apartment, as well as the reliability of their readings (moreover, such a check can be carried out no more than 1 time in 3 months and at least 1 time per year — clauses 82, 83 of Rules No. 354),
- take meter readings if they are not transmitted for 6 consecutive months (the contractor is obliged, no later than 15 days from the expiration of the specified 6-month period, to check and take meter readings (clause 84 of Rules No. 354).
In all these cases, access to the premises is carried out at a time agreed with the consumer in advance (except for emergencies requiring emergency intervention).
If we are talking about checking meters, then Rule No. 354 expressly provides that the consumer must be notified of the date of the visit of the inspector no later than 14 days in advance.
At the same time, he can change the date of the check if he cannot provide access to the apartment on the appointed day — for this you need to send a message to the appropriate organization no later than 2 days before the date of the check (paragraph 85).
Thus, if the managing organization or other utility service cannot prove in court that the consumer was previously notified of the need to provide access to the apartment at a certain time, its requirements for the obligation of the owner to provide such access will be declared illegal.
For example, the managing organization filed a lawsuit against the owner of the apartment, which did not let workers in to repair the common house riser of cold water supply. At first, the company’s claim was satisfied and even recovered from the defendant 6,000 rubles of court costs in favor of the plaintiff.
But the court of appeal reviewed the case: the representative of the managing organization drew up an act on the lack of access to the apartment, but did not provide any evidence confirming that the owner of the apartment was really aware of the date of the repair.
In this regard, the court came to the conclusion that the fact of the defendant’s evasion from providing access to the living quarters was not proven — and dismissed the claim of the managing organization (ruling of the St. Petersburg City Court in case No. 33-9431/2021).
Please note that Regulation No. 354 provides for the right of the consumer to require the representative of the public utility, before letting him into his apartment, to confirm his identity and the authority to access the residential premises (i.e., present an official ID, as well as an attire, order, the employer’s task to send such a person for the purpose of conducting an inspection or another similar document — clause 33 of Regulation No. 354).
If the employee refuses to confirm these circumstances, the owner may refuse him admission to the premises.
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