Information about Russian Housing and Accommodation

A guide to useful words and terms plus other information related to property in Russia...

Traditionally in Russia, floors (etazh / этаж) are counted up from the ground starting at one. Therefore, the European “ground floor” is the Russian “floor one” (pervyi etazh / первый этаж), first floor is “floor two” (vtoroj etazh / второй этаж) and so on. This is the case for most buildings, but in recent years, some newly built houses and civic buildings with lifts use the European system.

Whereas in other countries bedrooms are counted separately to other rooms in the house or flat, in Russia all rooms are counted. Therefore a one-bedroom flat is a two-room flat in Russia, while a studio apartment is a one-room flat. Furthermore, Russian bedrooms are multi-purpose rooms that can be used as living/dining rooms and studies during the day, and as bedrooms at night. Depending on the furniture available or bought by the tenant; foldout beds, divans or sofas may be used for both seating and sleeping.

Balconies may be “glassed” (fully enclosed) or not. This depends on the owner of the flat, as well as the kind of materials used to shield the balcony space, either plastic or wood.

Mailboxes are usually located in the lift area on the ground floor of apartment buildings.

Garbage can be taken to a rubbish chute located either by the staircase or by the lift. Large items including bottles and boxes must be taken to the designated garbage area in the street, where it is collected daily. Presently, citizens are not required to recycle bottles or paper, or to separate waste.

The law officially prohibits noise between 23:00-08:00. This normally includes drilling, hoovering, playing loud music, shouting and dogs barking. However, in St Petersburg, amendments were recently adopted to now also prohibit the “stomping of cats” and making loud moans and groans.

Due to an influx of immigrants from the former Soviet republics, apartment blocks may include other tenants from countries such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, some of whom practise religious rites and services at home, including during Eid.

A concierge service is available mostly at “elite” houses. In other houses, such services may be organised by residents. In both cases, this may involve an additional payment that will be included in the rent.

Many houses and apartment blocks will have “leaders” who carry out certain administrative and organisational duties. Likely to take interest in new residents, they will probably use it as an opportunity to get the newcomer involved in the “life of the house”. This is not obligatory and is entirely up to the individual how to respond to such requests.