The municipality provides communal apartments to those who are unable to buy or rent their own housing. Often the condition of these apartments is very deplorable and, of course, most of their tenants are thinking about making repairs in them. What obstacles may arise on the way to realize this desire and how they can be overcome, we will try to understand in this article. You will also learn who should pay for repairs in a communal apartment, what the landlord and the tenant pay, and what permits or approvals need to be obtained in order to legally repair communal property. All of these questions will be answered by the experts at Euromed Bud.

Is it possible to get back the money you invested in the apartment?

The most important question that arises for tenants of municipal housing, and whether they can get back the money spent on the repair of communal apartment? Situations can be different: the tenants may move into their own apartment or the apartment may be taken away from them for some reason. How to get compensation for repairs made in it and is it possible in principle?

When you receive communal housing is necessarily signed a lease agreement. Lawyers argue that you can get compensation for repairs made in a communal apartment only if this contract has a clause reimbursing the costs incurred for repairs, and it is terminated at the request of the landlord.

In practice, it looks as follows. The landlord, i.e. the utility, for example, wants to demolish a building with communal apartments, it notifies the tenants of this. If the tenant has improved the condition of the apartment at his own expense – replaced windows, door frames, insulated rooms, etc., then he calls an appraiser. The appraiser records all of the work done, and if their cost has increased the value of the communal property, the communal must return the difference to the tenant.

Where to report communal apartment repairs?

A communal apartment is the property of the municipality, so any alterations and improvements to the premises must be reported to the city administration. Each city council has its own regulations, which specify the rules for repairs in communal apartments.

The tenant of the apartment must necessarily inform the City Council in writing of their decision to renovate the premises. He must also provide proper documentation, which will list all types of planned work. The answer from the municipality must wait about 30 days.

It is important to understand that City Council approval is not enough if the overall structure of the building will be disturbed during the renovation. In this case, a notice or building permit is required. Thus, if the tenant wants to cut an additional window in a load-bearing wall, it can be considered a reconstruction, which, in accordance with Article 3, Paragraph 7a, of the Building Law leads to a change in the functional or technical parameters of the existing structure. This means that he has to inform the head of the district where the dwelling is located, or another competent person with the rights of the district, about the planned work. The repair work can only begin after the building permit has been obtained.

Do I need the consent of the municipality to carry out repairs to a communal apartment?

If you are renting a communal apartment for renovations, you should familiarize yourself with the municipality’s regulations regarding renovations in such premises before you begin them. In most cases, the municipality – the owner of the apartment – must give its consent to the repairs. To get consent, you need to submit a request in writing to the city council. The request should be accompanied by all the necessary documents with a detailed description of the planned work in the event that the parameters of supporting structures will be changed. The answer to the request should come in maximum one month.

Apartment renovation and building permit

The Building Act stipulates that a building permit must be obtained for certain repairs. For example, when the repair involves cutting out a new window in a load-bearing wall, it is necessary to bring to the local building authority documents made by a licensed designer, which detail all the planned changes. You should be prepared for the fact that the competent authority may also require other documents provided for in the building law. Only when a final permit of repair has been issued, and the building administration has been notified, can repairs begin in the communal flat.

Duties of the landlord of the flat

A detailed list of repairs that the owner of a communal apartment must carry out is presented in Art. 6a of the Law on the Protection of Tenants’ Rights. According to it, all installations and systems supplying the building with electricity, water, gas and heat must be repaired at the expense of the municipality. In addition, if the previous tenant has worn out parts of the above systems in the communal apartment, the municipality must also repair or replace them at its own expense. According to the law, the municipality, as the landlord, has the following responsibilities:

  1. Maintain the communally owned building itself, the equipment used by all tenants, and the grounds surrounding the building in a clean and proper manner.
  2. Repair the structure, equipment, and common areas. The landlord must repair all malfunctions and damage and restore the building to its original condition, regardless of the reason why it occurred. If the damage is the fault of the tenant, the tenant is obligated to reimburse the municipality for the losses incurred.
  3. Repair internal water and gas piping systems, repair and replace internal plumbing, central heating, electrical wiring, and collective antennae.
  4. Replace heating furnaces, windows, doors, floors, flooring and plastering.

All of this work is paid for and done by the municipality. The tenant may carry them out on their own with reimbursement of all costs incurred, but this must be agreed upon in advance with the municipality. The amount of compensation is determined by the municipality before the start of repairs. After its completion, the city council convenes a commission, which accepts the work performed.

Repairs and maintenance at the expense of the tenant

Not only the municipality, but also the tenant himself has to make repairs to the communal apartment. It is his or her responsibility to keep all the living rooms and utility rooms he or she uses in good technical and hygienic condition. The tenant must prevent intentional damage to the common areas – elevators, stairwells, corridors and the area surrounding the building. The following elements of the communal building shall be repaired and maintained at the tenant’s expense:

  • floors and flooring of different materials;
  • window and door units;
  • built-in furniture;
  • Kitchen stoves, water heaters, bathtubs, shower tubs, toilets, sinks, siphons, taps;
  • electrical wiring except for the replacement of wires and repair of collective antenna;
  • central heating (repair and replacement);
  • sewer pipes to central risers. Immediate elimination of blockages is also the tenant’s responsibility.

The tenant must also, at his or her own expense, paint the walls in the communal apartment, repair damaged plastered areas, glue wallpaper, paint doors, windows, built-in furniture, and any other equipment in the rented apartment.

Claims for repairs in court

Under the law, the tenant has the right to demand that the municipality reimburse him for repairs made to the communal property. To be reimbursed, he must write a request to the municipality, in which he lists and describes in detail all the work done at his expense. If there is no response to the written request, or if the owner of the communal apartment refuses to reimburse the costs, the tenant can sue in court.

The court evaluates each specific situation on a case-by-case basis and decides whether the repairs made were necessary. It is the court that makes the final determination as to who should be charged the cost of the repairs. If the court grants the tenant’s claim, the municipality will have to reimburse him or her for the costs listed in the court order.

What documents do you have to provide according to the rules?

Minor repairs to a communal apartment can be carried out on their own and without notifying the competent authorities. Usually, in accordance with the regulations of the management company current repairs do not require additional approvals and permits. As a rule, current repairs include only those actions that prevent the deterioration of the technical condition of the object and help it continue to be safe and purposeful use. Work that does not require permits may include bathroom or kitchen remodeling, painting walls, replacing tiles, installing air conditioning, an alarm system, or the Internet. All work associated with the renovation of public property, in which the functional and technical characteristics of the facility are changed, requires approval from the building inspectorate.

If repairs are to be carried out that require notification of the district mayor or the town government with the rights of the district, they may not begin until 30 days after the filing of the appropriate application. That is how long it takes the competent authorities to file objections or to require the tenant planning the repairs to make changes to the list of proposed works or to correct deficiencies in documentation.

If the renovation requires a building permit, the same proviant mayor needs to submit 4 copies of the construction project, all conclusions, agreements and permits thereon, as well as an application for the right to dispose of the communal property for construction purposes. The decision on this application is taken at least 2 months, and repairs can begin no sooner than 2 weeks after all the permits have been obtained, but no later than 3 years after that.

Thus, no notices or building permits are required for routine repairs. For repairs, registration or notification to the owner of the community property of the commencement of the repair work is required. And in the case of renovations, a building permit is required. If the tenant is unsure of whether he will end up doing repairs or reconstruction, it is better to submit an application to the municipality with a detailed description of the proposed work for greater certainty of his own actions. If there are no objections, then in a month you can begin repairs. If, however, the scope of work described in the application requires a building permit, the municipality will inform the tenant of this, and he can fulfill this condition even before the repair begins.

These rules should not be neglected, since any unapproved repairs may qualify as unauthorized construction. This can lead to the imposition of huge fines from the building control authorities. In addition, it will be necessary to restore the living space to its former state.

What repairs does the landlord and tenant have?

A list of all the rights and responsibilities that both the tenant and the owner of a communal apartment have is in the Tenant Protection Act, the communal regulations, and some provisions of the Civil Code. Under the law, many types of repairs must be done by the commune at its own expense or reimburse the tenant for the cost of doing them after the tenant has submitted the appropriate application. Such cooperation between the owner of the communal property and the tenant is only possible by prior agreement with the administration, which determines the amount of compensation even before the repair work begins.

The tenant is obligated to assume the costs of ongoing maintenance and repair of all systems in the apartment. At the same time, repairs with the replacement of certain elements are performed by the owner of the premises, i.e., the municipality. The landlord must also ensure the operation of all installations that supply the house with water, gas, heat and electricity. And the tenant must keep the premises in good technical condition and compensate for any damage caused to the municipality’s property through his fault. It is the tenant who must repair floors, flooring, windows, doors, built-in furniture, plumbing, electrical appliances, paint walls, doors, windows, wallpaper and other finishes at their own expense. To save yourself from conflicts with the owner of the communal apartment, the tenant is better to notify the municipality about the repairs, regardless of the planned repair work.


If you got a communal apartment for repair, do not rush to tear down the walls, change the wiring and repaper the wallpaper. Before you start improving your living conditions, familiarize yourself with the municipality’s regulations regarding repairs, make a detailed list of the work you would like to do in the apartment, and make sure that you can do it legally without additional approvals and building permits.

If it does turn out that you need additional approval, do not ignore this rule of law, but follow it. Notify the competent authorities or obtain a building permit when you begin renovations. This will allow you to avoid many problems in the future, including exorbitant fines and having to fix all the consequences of the repair. If you carry out repairs according to the letter of the law, you will be able to enjoy your new environment in a communal apartment without wasting extra money and nerves.

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