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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

House Maintenance Fees Set for First Rise Since '30s

The City Duma has endorsed the first stage of a city government plan to raise housing maintenance fees for the first time since the 1930s, officials said Tuesday.

Under the plan, the tariffs will be increased in May or June to 24 rubles (about 1.3 cents) per square meter from 16.5 kopeks (0.0001 cent) partially to cover maintenance expenses, according to Irina Kvitko, a housing expert for the city finances department.

The government has also proposed raising the prices again to over 100 rubles per square meter one month after the first increase, but the revenues would still cover only about 10 percent of the expenses, Kvitko said.

The rest of the expenses will still be financed from the city budget, she said.

The increase of the fee is part of the federal government's scheme gradually to bring maintenance expenses in Russia to world levels, which in the plan is envisaged at about 15 percent of a person's income.

Previously, housing fees were so heavily subsidized that they were nearly non-existent.

The City Duma also ruled that the government should present a plan to improve the services that are being commercialized, which include repairing elevators, changing light bulbs, sweeping areas around buildings and other maintenance work, according to Nikolai Figurovsky, a spokesman for the Duma.