It is not always possible to work out your debts

Debtors, mainly those who rent, can work off the debt. That is, they will do a specific job for a housing cooperative and in return, the administration will reduce their debt. We translate when possible and when not.

It is estimated that even every fifth family does not pay for the apartment on time. Some, in fact, are in arrears for several days, but there are those who have not paid a dollar to the account of a cooperative, community or private building owner for the past few years. Requests for payment on many debtors have ceased to act like a bogey.

Similarly – court orders ordering eviction. Tenants-record holders have to pay for the rent alone for over USD 100,000, and the amount with interest increases. However, there is a way for the debtor tenant not to lose the right to housing and the cooperative to be satisfied.

Agreement with the debtor

Agreement with the debtor

About 10 years ago, selected housing cooperatives and municipal companies managing municipal premises began to create a new solution for residents who are in arrears for rent. They introduced internal regulations and offered them partial debt cancellation, but under certain conditions.

A tenant in debt must agree to make up for the debt by usually signing a work contract or a mandate contract. You can’t make him do it. A cooperative or a municipal company also has no right to demand from the debtor-tenant that he give up his current job in order to start work in the place indicated by them.

That’s the job ahead of you


The most common works include cleaning the staircases and grounds around the property, works on green areas belonging to the commune or cooperative, minor repairs, maintenance works, possibly guarding, and less often – help with office work.

The building manager, or in a broader sense – the municipality or cooperative – must provide the debtor with work clothing and tools required by the regulations. Such a person must also be supervised by a supervising employee.

It is not that the debtor works for the cooperative for free. Theoretically, he receives a salary. It is most often calculated based on the minimum wage or minimum hourly rate for work, with most cooperatives setting the rate at a minimum of USD 11 gross per hour. Practically, however, what the debtor earns is not transferred to his account or handed to him. The amount you earn is reduced by the debt.

Example: a tenant has worked 20 hours a month. Earlier, the parties, i.e. the cooperative and the debtor, agreed that each hour worked would be valued at USD 12. This means that the atypical employee earned USD 240. His debt will automatically be reduced by this amount. The money debtor will not see it.

Who can work off the debt, who can not

Who can work off the debt, who can not

Every municipality sets different criteria. One permits to work out the debt if it is not more than 50 thousand. USD, but not less than 20 USD. It allows you to work out a maximum of half of the liability, provided that the debtor agrees to pay the remaining amount of arrears in installments within the time limit specified by the cooperative.

Another commune states that only tenants of communal flats, and not social flats (i.e. flats with a lower standard, e.g. in barracks with shared kitchens and bathrooms) can take advantage of the chance to make up for their debts.

Another condition: the tenant can perform specific tasks for the cooperative, which will reduce the amount of debt, if, for example, other members of the housing community or its board agree.

It sometimes happens that the commune offers to pay off the debts of the tenant only when he was indebted for the first time. The next criterion: a tenant must have been occupying the place for at least 5 years, and debtors who have lived shorter cannot benefit from working out their debts.

Another condition: tenants who do not pay less than half a year are excluded from making up for their debts. Communes may consider that the debt is still small enough that if the debtor mobilizes or the commune mobilizes it, the debt will be repaid.

Rather, there are no tenants to make up for the rent arrears. a bad opinion, which, for example, had earlier let the building manager down when they were destroying the walls, notoriously littering the lawns around the block or having frequent alcohol libations during the silence.

An unbaked opinion about the tenant is required here. The commune is reluctant to entrust part of the works to the debtor who had conflicts with the law, even if he served a sentence for theft, burglary or proved that he was using domestic violence.

Family will help


Selected municipalities or cooperatives allow work to be carried out as compensation for the relatives of the debtor (main tenant) if they agree to carry out work in return for him. However, a specific reason must be given: the tenant-debtor is unable to work because it is prevented by a serious illness or a complicated family situation.

An example would be a situation where, on behalf of a single mother with three children, her brother’s debt is working off his debt, even though he does not live with his sister and her children. Or such a case: a sick, lonely pensioner is unable to work, so his nephew will take care of him.  

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