Evgeny Zverev’s comments in the article “Be on time to take your dwelling”

24 January 2013
The epic twenty years privatization of dwelling in Russia will be ended in about a month. Today, 14 percent of flats in Saint Petersburg are state property. The people stand in large queues to the governmental agencies and sly agents provide speed-up services for tens of thousands rubles. However, lawyers and officials are not confident that even the ones who have sent applications in January could privatize their flats. Still many Petersburgers believe that the period of privatization would be prolonged.

The Law on Privatization came into force in July, 1991. This Law regulated paid privatization of flats for citizens of the Soviet Union. Only one year and a half later the state declared free but only one time transfer of dwelling. Today, there are more than 1.3 mln private flats and rooms.

Hot winter of 2013.

The Law on Privatization is effective till the March 1st, 2013. However, there is no consensus on the procedure the one wants to privatize a flat should execute. This is due to the fact privatization consists of some stages: submission of documents and expertise of these documents (the so-called formation of a privatization case), deciding of the authorized body (the Dwelling committee of Saint Petersburg) and conclusion of an agreement, transfer of these documents to the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography and state registration of ownership. Herewith only a first stage takes up to two months.
Some lawyers say according to the Law the one should complete all the stages before March, 1st.

According to Vera Ryabova, real estate practice lawyer of the “Rightmark Group” company, if a person filed all the documents before the end of February the governmental body would probably conclude a privatization agreement with him and the ownership of a flat would be registered.

However, Evgeny Zverev, Senior Lawyer, Head of Real Estate/Construction/Land Practice in the S&K Vertical, suppose that a privatization agreement should be concluded before March, 1st. He says, “The authorized body would have no right to conclude this agreement after the X-day. The previous stages are meaningless. People whose applications were not considered before March, 1st may bring a court action. Today, there is a privatization rush already. That is why it is important for the competent authorities to clarify the procedure on how they will process on the last moment submitted documents“.

However, authorities do not have a consensus as well. Alexander Volkov, the head of privatization department of “Gorzhilobmen”, commented to reporter of “Fontanka”, “The one should file all the documents to the central office of “Gorzhilobmen” of to a multifunctional centre up to March, 1st. However, the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography takes different position. According to Margarita Gutsu, the head of Petrogradsky district department of this organization, there should be an agreement with the Dwelling committee up to March, 1st. “It is possible to file all the documents to the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography at any time after” – she says.

Everybody runs. .

Uncertainty makes people to come down with money. It takes two months for “Gorzhilobmen” to form privatization case for free, after all. So if the latter position would be proven, people who filed application in the end of January could not privatize their flat. Moreover, according to Alexandra Volkova, multifunctional centres take documents for state service of privatization which takes up to 60 days.

The only way for avoiding the risk is to take paid services. The “Gorzhilobmen” rate for formation of privatization case is 4500 rubles for a one-month term and 6800 rubles for a 3-weeks term. However, tenant paid this rate should submit a lot of documents. For instance, it is a cadastral certificate of the flat. It costs 770 rubles for drawing up a cadastral certificate of 55 to 100 square meters flat in 10 days and 1540 in 3 days if there is no alteration of the flat. If not every tenant has intention to privatize the flat there should be a notary certificated refusal of every person refused. It costs 1000 rubles per a person. If there are registered underage tenants the documents from competent authorities are required.

According to privatization participants, taking all documents and services costs at least 20 thousand rubles. Rush and uncertainty make tenants who want to privatize their flats to go for agents. These agents price their services at 30-40 thousand rubles.

If you do not have the home.

The Bill on prolongation of privatization period up to 2018 was already brought to the State Duma. Its authors, group of deputies, believe that the X-hour restricts the rights of people living in dangerous buildings and waiting for resettlement. However, this initiative has not been endorsed even in the first reading.

Many of the Petersburgers haven’t applied for privatization not because they were hoping for prolongation. There is one more reason – the taxation of property still remains uncertain. Taxation of real estate is estimated according to the assessed value determined in 1969. That is why a tax for eight room flat front to Nevsky Prospect is less than 10 thousand rubles per year. However, it is expected that the real estate tax would be estimated according to the market value of property since 2014 or 2015. Every owner will due to pay this tax (including retirees who have privileges today). Perhaps, it will be burdensome for many owners.

Moreover, the issues of real estate obligatory insurance and civil responsibility of flat owners have been discussed for some years. Capital repair fee is established in this year. All these factors do not stimulate to privatize state property.


Free privatization started in 1991 in Russia. The period of privatization was supposed to end first in 2004, than in 2007 and 2010. According to some sources, 80 percent of flats in Russia are privatized. In terms of dwelling volume, our country is far ahead of mature economies. The Government takes steps to develop rental market but it fails to sort out the mess in this sphere.

Pavel Netupsky

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