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Legal alerts / 16.8.2018

Amendments to the Russian Сivil Сode with regard to unauthorised constructions

On 4 August 2018, Federal Law No. 339-FZ dated 3 August 2018 “On amending Part I of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation and Article 22 of the Federal Law “On bringing Part I of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation into effect” came into force.

Amendments have been made to articles 222, 238 and 285 of the Russian Civil Code with regard to unauthorized constructions and land plots under them.

1. The definition of ‘unauthorized construction’ has been specified, with an explanation added of what does not amount to an unauthorized construction.

  • It is specified that a construction will be deemed to be an unauthorized construction if requirements for obtaining approvals and permissions (which were not actually obtained), the type of permitted use of a land plot, city planning and construction codes and standards, were in effect both at the time the construction was started and at the time the unauthorized construction was identified.
  • A construction built in violation of statutory restrictions on the use of a land plot is no longer an unauthorized construction if an owner of the construction did not know and could not have known that such restrictions were in force.

2. A direct prohibition on the use of an unauthorized construction has been introduced.

3. A new mechanism (different from having ownership title recognized under a judicial procedure) appeared for making an unauthorized construction legal.

It is now possible to bring an unauthorized construction into compliance with the established requirements. In addition, a court, or in certain cases a local government authority, will make a decision regarding whether an unauthorized construction is to be demolished or brought into compliance.
If an unauthorized construction is brought into compliance with statutory requirements, the ownership title to it may be acquired by a person who has the land plot:

  • by virtue of ownership title;
  • in lifetime ownership with the right of inheritance; or
  • in permanent (perpetual) use.

Further, ownership title to an unauthorised construction (after it is brought into compliance with the statutory requirements) may be acquired by a person to whom temporary ownership and use of the land plot was granted for construction purposes out of state or municipal property, provided this does not contradict the law or a contract.

4. The timeframes for the demolition and legalization of an unauthorized construction have been specified.

  • The timeframes for demolition are from 3 to 6 months;
  • The timeframes for legalization are from 6 months to 3 years.

5. The competence of local government authorities has been restricted with respect to decisions on unauthorized constructions.

It was specified that a local government authority CANNOT now independently pass a resolution that an unauthorized construction should be demolished or brought into compliance with the statutory requirements in the following cases:

  • if ownership title is registered in the Unified State Register of Real Estate;
  • if ownership title to a construction has been recognized by a court;
  • if a court has previously issued a judgment refusing to satisfy claims to have the construction demolished;
  • with respect to a multiple-apartment residential building, an individual house or a garden cottage;
  • where no documents of title to a land plot are available with respect to a facility which was built before the Russian Land Code came into force (i.e. before 30 October 2001); or
  • where no construction permit is available with respect to a facility built before 14 May 1998.

Only a court may issue a decision that a construction should be demolished or brought into compliance with the statutory requirements in the above cases.

6. Article 285 of the Russian Civil Code has been supplemented with the right to seize a land plot if an unauthorized construction is built on it.

A land plot may now be seized from its owner if an unauthorized construction has been built on it and if the person who constructed it failed to comply with its statutory obligations to demolish the construction or bring it into compliance with statutory requirements within the established timeframes.

7. Religious organizations may use unauthorized constructions related to property of religious nature if such constructions comply with the requirements established by the Russian Government.

If such unauthorized constructions do not meet the above requirements, religious organizations may use them until 2030.

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