News2023.04.28 17:14

Vilnius residents receive bills for flags on national holidays

Residents of apartments managed by Mano Būstas, the largest administrator of housing blocks in Vilnius, have been asked to pay a fee for the mandatory flag hoisting on their buildings during national holidays. The fee is to be paid three times a year, on February 16, March 11, and July 6.

"For an average apartment block of about 2,500 square metres, for a 60 square metre flat, the price would start at 25 cents,” says Paul Ugianskis, communications manager at Mano Būstas.

When contacted, several other administrators of apartment blocks in the capital said they do not charge a flag-raising fee.

Meanwhile, residents of the apartment buildings have raised questions about whether the charge is legal.

The Vilnius municipality, which has recently received complaints about the fee, said it was not in a position to answer, as the housing administrators are obliged to provide the service, but it’s not clear at whose expense.

Mano Būstas said it did not charge fees before, but claimed that the service has become too expensive. "The administration rate in Vilnius, which is set by the municipality, has not changed for 17 years,” said Ugianskis, a representative of Mano Būstas.

Some residents interviewed by LRT say they could hoist the flag themselves.

According to Ugianskis, this is not the case. "In our long-term practice, there are only a few people, active residents, who are willing to hoist the flat at 7:00 on holidays, then take it down, and store it somewhere,” he said.

The Environment Ministry is now looking into whether the tax is valid. According to Aistė Žilinskienė, adviser to the Environment Minister Simonas Gentvilas, there seems to be “no legal basis” for the fee.

LRT has been certified according to the Journalism Trust Initiative Programme

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