Citizens should assert their rights over communal charges arrears
Human rights defenders in Kharkiv advise members of the public to be more active in asserting their interests in disputes with the communal services. This includes cases where the debt for communal charges is being extracted through the courts.
During certain times of the year the number of claims by the communal services against people who have fallen into arrears escalates, as accordingly does the number of appeals by members of the public to human rights groups. They complain of a lack of expert assessments in the courts of how the debt came about, what the real amount is, and whether, perhaps, there is no debt at all.
According to Ludmila Klochko, Head of the KHPG Advice Centre, it is normal for such civil legal disputes to be resolved in the court. She points out, however: “Unfortunately it works out that the communal services act as both the claimants and the expert. The documents they present are accepted by the court as a priori correct. You cant therefore speak of equality of arms in the case”. Ludmila Klochko therefore advises people to not procrastinate but to turn to the courts and defend their interests.