With regard to the second reading of the draft Housing Code


On 1 December the Kharkiv Human Rights Group gave a press conference regarding the Verkhovna Rada’s second reading of the draft Housing Code.

The official Verkhovna Rada website has a text of the draft Housing Code prepared for the second reading, however neither journalists nor the public are aware of the main provisions of this code. It was not discussed in the media, hardly anyone knows about it at all, and yet the provisions of this Code concern each of us. We therefore feel it necessary to draw public attention to the Code.

The version, labelled “print run 05.11.2010” has many provisions which arouse questions regarding their application:

-  this is first and foremost expropriation of housing, with the number of grounds having been increased;

-  Legally fixed penalties for late payments for housing. The terms are not fixed in the Code, but set by the conditions of the control. It is most unlikely that such circumstances as late payment of wages or pension will be taken into consideration;

-  Questions also arise regarding the conditions for concluding rent agreements for housing within the State and municipal funds. The Code envisages agreements for a certain period, the refusal of the letter to extend the contract and early termination of the contract. The transitional provisions do not allow people who had received the flat earlier the right to an indefinite lease agreement, but only states that the force of this Code covers the housing legal relations which arise or continue after the Code comes into force;

-  Concern is also aroused by the procedure for moving people out during reconstruction of the housing. Nobody denies the urgent need to pass a new House Code and in our view it should have been done earlier. However the lack of transparency, haste with which laws of enormous importance for people are passed lead to social tension as has been seen with the Tax Code.

The quality of a law is dependent on its clarity so that the average citizen can plan their life in accordance with legislation. Yet the Code contains very many unclear points, references to laws as yet not passed, to “other powers”, thus making it impossible to foresee how the Code will be applied.

We are therefore calling for a discussion of the Housing Code in the media, as well as at parliamentary hearings and roundtables.

The press conference was given by members of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group – Inna Zakharova, Lyudmila Klochko and Mykhailo Hayevsky.

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