Russian real estate is highly valued these days and investing in it is extremely profitable. In some regions the price of real state is growing on a daily basis. Russians and non-Russians alike with money to spare are readily investing in the real estate market.
“Rossiskaya Gazeta” published an announcement of the Federal Registration Service (FRS) regulating the order of registration of property rights and realty operations for foreigners, non-citizens, and foreign legal entities.
Unfortunately there are no official statistics that show the share of property owned by foreigners in Russia. It is known that, in Moscow, foreign companies and citizens own a great deal of real estate. Certain buildings have proved to be quite lucrative, bringing their owners several hundred million dollars each year. Among the owners are not only our neighbors from the former Soviet Union but also businesses hailing from the West.
Apartments, houses, factories and plots of land are being purchased by foreigners also in other not so well-off regions. And not always with the purpose of making money. For many, Russia has become a second home, a place to find a worthy job and a peaceful life. Some are drawn by the exoticism of life in Russia. There have been known cases of foreign citizens purchasing houses in remote and dying villages.
FRS states that foreigners and non-citizens are not permitted to purchase all kinds of property anywhere within in Russia. First of all, they are not permitted to be sold land used for farming. The federal law on the “Use of Agricultural Land” allows foreign investors leasing opportunities only. Unavailable to foreigners, and also for foreign companies with over half of their capital owned by foreigners and non-citizens, are lands near borders and so-called special territories. As for the rest of the cases, they are described not only by laws, but also by recommendations of FRS.
Different regions had different requirements until recently. This created conflicts of legal interests and, as a result, complaints towards the employees of registration offices. Now, according to officials, document requirements will be the same for all of the RF and the registration procedure will be clear and comprehensible.
The published document has one more purpose. Now prior to receiving documents from an applicant, state registration officials will turn their attention to whether foreigners and non-citizens reside in Russia legally. It means that now, before coming to FRS, they will have to officially obtain Russian visa, get officially registered with the Federal Migration Services (FMS) or have a residence permit. So, illegal immigrants have no chance of becoming lucky owners of an apartment or a plot of land.
FRS has also warned those foreign citizens who prefer to register property rights under the names of Russian citizens. There have been cases in which legal heirs of deceased foreign owners have not received anything because ownership rights were registered to other people.
Among the recommendations included in the FRS announcement there is a requirement to include a Russian translation for any documents drawn in foreign language being presented to the registration office. The translation must be notarized. The requirement also applies for constituent documents of legal entities.
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