Resettled women will not pay utility bills for abandoned and war-damaged housing
Publication date: June 19, 2023
In the conditions of war and forced evacuation, IDPs face many problems, one of which is paying utilities for the houses they had to leave. It was in such two situations that the lawyers of the NGO “Cherkasy Human Rights Center” helped women from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
Iryna*, a resettled woman from Kostiantynivka, Donetsk oblast, applied to the NGO “Cherkasy Human Rights Center” in early May 2023. She left her native home in Kostyantynivka a long time ago, but only recently found out that she had been charged for unused utility services all this time.
- At the utility company, where Iryna applied for information, she was refused a recalculation for the services consumed. Then her acquaintance advised the woman to seek legal help from the Cherkasy Human Rights Center, – explains Maryna Kuprykova, a lawyer of the organization, who undertook to help the woman.
She made a written application for Iryna, addressed to the service provider, to which all that remained was to add documents proving that the displaced woman is temporarily not living in the housing for which utilities were charged.
- In Iryna’s case, it was a certificate of registration as an IDP. Already at the beginning of June, the woman reported that she had been recalculated for the services she had consumed and stopped charging them further, says Maryna Kuprykova.
The lawyer adds that such requests are not unique. For example, lawyers recently helped a displaced woman from the Luhansk region, whose home was destroyed during hostilities, but she also continued to be charged for utility services. The lawyers advised the woman to collect evidence of the destruction of the house, to notify the utility workers and provide the collected evidence, and also helped to prepare an application for the recalculation of utility services. In this case, the accrual was also stopped.
According to the Law of Ukraine “On Housing and Utility Services”, the consumer of housing and utility services is obliged to pay for the provided housing and utility services according to the tariffs established in accordance with the legislation, within the terms specified in the relevant contracts for the provision of the specified services, and in case of late payment, pay penalty.
However, the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dated March 5, 2022 No. 206 prohibited the charging and collection of penalties for debts incurred due to untimely and/or incomplete payment by the population of fees for housing and utility services and inflation assessments.
Also, the consumer has the right not to pay for utility services in the event of their non-use (provided there are no metering devices) during the period of temporary absence from the residential premises of the consumer and other persons, which lasts more than 30 calendar days, provided that documentary confirmation is provided in accordance with the terms of the contracts on provision of utility services.
It should be noted that this right does not apply to payment for the supply of thermal energy and services for the management of an apartment building.
*Name has been changed for ethical reasons.
The material was created with the support of the international charity platform GlobalGiving and the Legal Empowerment Fund (Fund for Global Human Rights program) and the Legal Development Network. The content of the publication is solely the responsibility of the Legal Development Network and does not necessarily reflect the views of the previously mentioned organizations.
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