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*Foreign Ownership* Russia In respect to foreigners, the Russian legislation does not provide for any exceptions to the national regulation of property ownership or real estate transactions established for Russian citizens. The only exception involves transactions with land. According to the Land Code of the Russian Federation, which came into force as of October 30, 2001, foreign citizens are not allowed to own land located near the frontier zones of the Russian Federation. *Land Registration* System Russia The basis for the system of land registration in the Russian Federation is determined by the Land Code of RF and the Federal law "On the State Land Cadastre". According to Article 70, the State land cadastre is a systematic set of documented information about objects of state cadastre registration, legal regulation for land sites in the Russian Federation, cadastre value, location, measurements of land sites and real properties fixed to them. The State land cadastre includes data on subjects of property rights for land sites. The State land cadastre is kept according to a single nation-wide system. The objects of the State cadastre registration are land sites and other real properties fixed to the sites. According to Article 8 of the Federal law "On the State Land Cadastre", which came into force in the middle of 2000, the information of the cadastre is open except data which belongs to the category of restricted access in accordance with the current legislation. The State land cadastre information about a certain land site is presented in the form of a statement issued locally where the land site was registered. The Russian legislation allows to keep the State land cadastre data in the electronic form. Also, the Federal law states that "the Unified State register of land sites and the cadastre files are to be stored infinitely; they cannot be destroyed or removed (Article 17). A federal body that is authorized to conduct activities related to the State land cadastre in the Russian Federation is the Federal Service of Land Cadastre of Russia (the Service is headed by Sergei Ivanovich Sai). Property Buying Information The first step towards buying in Russia is for the purchaser to sign a contract with the real estate agent and make a deposit, securing the property or land for acquisition. The agent will then make a down payment on the property with the seller or their representative, after reviewing all legal documents associated with the property. If the results of this review are negative, the buyer is refunded in full. When the date of the sale is finalised, the buyer must have the correct amount to purchase the property in cash ready, which is usually placed in a safe in a bank until the sale is completed with the bank operating as a third party, making sure each side sticks to the deal and that all documents etc are completed correctly. There are a number of fees associated, with one usually of around $60 being split by the buyer and seller to cover bank service charges. After the main contract has been sign and notarised there is a notary fee of 1.5 percent of the contract cost, paid for by the buyer. The contract is then sent for State registration, which involves another fee of around $20, which is again paid by the buyer. The seller then receives the cash for the property in three instalments – 50 percent when the State registry certificate is received, 40 percent after the cancellation of all tenants’ registration and the final 10 percent when the property handover act has been signed. Property Facts About The collapse of the Soviet Union and destabilisation of Russia as a whole left many legal loopholes – and whilst most problems have been sorted with the centralised government and improving economy, there are still a few remnants of laws from the days of Communism and de-centralisation. For example, there are rights for Russian citizens such as “an individual's local residency registration”, which basically means that a person may have a right to live in or on a property without actually owning it. This is called ‘propiska’. As always, any potential problems should be checked with a lawyer or real estate agent, as problems can come seemingly from nowhere. Common checks carried out when buying any property in Russia include the tenant’s rights to propiska, spousal approval of the sale, the owners history of the property, and whether children are registered as living in the property that have special issues related to moving them out – this rather complex regulation relates to Russia’s strong social laws. Foreigners have no restrictions placed on them whatsoever for purchasing property in Russia, and are covered by the same laws and regulations as all native citizens. Land ownership can prove to be more complex, due to the former Communist rule not allowing any one person to own property, though these cases have been sorted out in the majority. It should also be noted that a person cannot own a building until construction has finished completely, as buildings in progress are not considered private property, which is an issue off plan investors would have to tackle.
Property reference: russia_props-1
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