Buying a House or Property in Russia
What to expect from the property purchase process in Russia…
Who Can Buy a Property in Russia?
There are no restrictions on foreigners purchasing property in Russia. Some restrictions may apply in case of purchase of agricultural land; however, this article is mostly concerned with the issues of purchasing a residential property.
The Property Buying Process
Below is an overview of the steps involved in the property buying process in Russia.
Finding a property and checking the title
There are websites for finding properties, such as www.cian.ru; however, a foreigner in the Russian market is especially vulnerable to schemes to defraud and, as such, should be vigilant and use due precaution. Therefore, the best way to find a property is by way of a real estate agent.
The use of an attorney is crucial as they can help ensure that the buyer is adequately informed via a proper due diligence of the property and that their risks are minimised.
The requirement of registration (propiska) in Russia requires that individuals register the location of their residence with the state. Registration gives a right to such individuals to live in a place where they are registered even if they do not own it. It is important to ensure that all individuals registered in the property being purchased have de-registered from the property before signing a sale-purchase agreement.
Although sale of the property leads to loss of the propiska rights, if the registered individuals refuse to de-register voluntarily after the sale of the property, the new owner will have to seek an order of the court so as to de-register them.
There are also some categories of protected individuals, such as minors. The court will not de-register a minor child if their parents do not register them at a new location, which means that a minor child, if not de-registered, will have the right to occupy the property where they are registered until the age of majority, regardless of any subsequent sale of that property. Verification of this issue commences with an inspection of the litsevoj schjot (??????? ????) - a record of individuals registered in the apartment.
The following documents are required for registration of a property:
- Application signed by both parties
- Passports (in Russian, so a notarised translation shall be necessary for foreign nationals who do not possess a Russian passport)
- Power of attorney if represented by an agent
- The sales contract and transfer acceptance act
- Payment document confirming payment of state duty
- Document listing persons who have the right to live in the property
- If the seller is a minor, the guardian must sign, and permission from the state guardianship authorities is required
Contracting to buy
Until recently, the registration of both the sales contract and the new title were mandatory; however, as of the spring of 2013, only the new title shall be registered. Russian law has been undergoing a period of rapid change, based primarily on lessons learned from the first major rework of the system in the 90s, so at the moment the rules change frequently. Moreover, the law concerning property sales contracts and the proper transfer and registration of title can differ significantly from foreign jurisdictions. Thus, buyers are strongly urged to seek the advice and assistance of a qualified attorney.
The following information should be included in a property sales contract:
- Unambiguous identification of the property by address, size, and more as statutorily provided
- The price
- The terms of payment
- Procedure of transfer (can vary by the facts and circumstances of the particular transaction)
- The rights and obligations of the party in connection with the registration of title, for example who pays, who submits documents
- List of persons who have the right to live in the property
Financing the property
Russian banks can issue a loan to a foreign individual to buy a property in Russia; however, they need to prove financial stability - for example, local income and employment in Russia.
Fees and Taxes
Besides the purchase price, the buyer should expect to pay any fees incurred by use of a real estate agent in addition to a title registration fee of one thousand (1,000) RUR in the case of an individual, or fifteen thousand (15,000) RUR in the case of a legal entity.
Note: a foreign legal entity must follow a different procedure with different documentation standards and duties.
If the property was held for less than three years, residents must pay capital gains tax of 30 percent of the entire sale price.
- Find properties for sale or rent in your region on Angloinfo Property