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Old utility debts: when they become obsolete and may not be paid

Old utility debts: when they become obsolete and may not be paid

CrimeaPRESS reports:

Utility organizations, portal experts note Legal subtleties, can issue an invoice for payment for their services, but they have no right to oblige the homeowner to pay for it. The issue of forced collection of utility debts is decided only by the court — and if at the time of filing the claim the debt is recognized as old (with an expired statute of limitations), even the court will not be able to collect money from the debtor.

How long does it take for utility debts to become obsolete for collection—and payment accordingly?

The law mentions two types of terms in this regard: 3 years and 6 months.

The general statute of limitations for utility debts is 3 years (Articles 196, 200 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation).

Taking into account the clarifications of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, it is counted for each monthly payment separately — from the day when the deadline for its payment arrives (clause 24 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation dated September 29, 2015 No. 43).

Unless otherwise provided by the agreement with the utility organization, the last day for payment of housing and communal services is considered to be the 10th day of the next month (Article 155 of the Housing Code of the Russian Federation) — which means that 3 years are counted from the 11th day of the next month.

For example: the payment period for housing and communal services for August 2020 begins on September 11, 2020 — and expires, accordingly, on September 11, 2023.

The problem is that the rule about missing the limitation period applies only if the debtor declares it in court (Article 199 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation).

But since utility debts are now collected by court order (without the participation of the parties), the debtor does not have the opportunity to declare a missed deadline. First, he needs to cancel the court order, after which the utility organization can again go to court to collect the debt, but now only with a statement of claim.

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Then a court hearing will be scheduled, where the debtor will be able to declare that the deadline for collection has been missed (templates for an application to cancel the order and a petition to skip the statute of limitations are available to subscribers of my channel on the Boosty platform).

At the same time, another question arises: when does the statute of limitations expire if the debt was collected by a court order and then canceled? Here another deadline appears — 6 months.

The fact is that after the cancellation of the court order, the limitation period continues to run, which began before the claimant applied to the court for the issuance of the order. If the unexpired part of the period is less than 6 months, it is extended to these same 6 months (clause 18 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation dated September 29, 2015 No. 43).

For example, an application for a court order was filed on October 1, 2020, which means that within a 3-year period they could collect the debt, starting with the payment for September 2017 (overdue since October 11, 2017). On December 9, 2021, the court order was canceled at the request of the debtor.

We determine the period for which the statute of limitations was less than 6 months: for September 2017 and the next 5 months, i.e. for the period September 2017 — February 2018

We add 6 months to the date of cancellation of the court order (December 9, 2021) and we get that on June 8, 2022, the statute of limitations expired for collecting the debt for the period September 2017 — February 2018.

source: Legal subtleties

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