Land Registry in Russia

Land Registry in Russia

Updated on Thursday 16th April 2020

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When deciding to buy a real estate property in Russia, the first step is to sign a preliminary agreement that will present the details of the transaction. The sale transaction will always happen in a bank, where the buyer will deposit the full amount of the money. The money will be released to the seller once the property title has been registered under the buyer’s name.

Before the purchase is completed, an acceptance document that will attest the transfer of the property must be signed by the seller and the buyer. The registration process will take about 20 days.

You may contact our law firm in Russia, if you need information about the Russian Land Registry. You can rely on is for assistance in buying and registering properties with the Land Register in Russia.

The main functions of the Russian Land Register

The Land Register is one of the most important authorities in the country, as it holds important information on all the properties bought and sold in Russia. Moreover, all changes made in cities across the country are recorded with the specific office of the Land Registrar.
One of the main functions of the Land Register is to maintain updated records on all the properties and vacant land plots in Russia, then it is also the authority in charge with registering and changing information about the proprietorship and ownership over real estate and land parcels. The Land Register is also the safest routes for accurate real estate due diligence before buying a property in Russia.
Our law firm in Russia can assist with real estate due diligence services and legal verifications of residential and commercial properties.

Offices of the Land Registrar in Russia

Because Russia is very large country, the Land Register has several subdivisions in several large cities which serve the population in the area. Cities like Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg host offices of the Land Registry.
In order ease the procedure of buying and registering a property in Russia, the Land Register created two new branches: the Center of Geodesy, Cartography and Special Data Infrastructure and the Federal Bureau of Technical Inventory.

Foreigners buying real estate in Russia

Foreign citizens and companies are allowed to purchase various types of real estate in Russia; the only restriction is related to agricultural land. Foreigners are not allowed to buy agricultural properties, however, they can concession such land plots for longer periods of time.
Foreign citizens can buy residential properties which must be registered with the Land Registry in due time after the acquisition is completed. Foreign companies are also entitled to purchase office buildings and other commercial real estate in order to develop their activities.
The procedures for buying real estate in Russia are the same for residential and commercial properties, the only difference residing in the documents to be provided when signing the sale-purchase agreement in the case of commercial property purchases by foreign companies.
You can rely on our Russian lawyers for assistance in buying a property here and then registering it with the Land Registry.

Real estate due diligence with the Russian Land Registrar

As mentioned above, real estate due diligence is one of the actions that can be completed with the Land Register as part of buying a property in Russia. The following information can be found by the future owner:
  1. detailed information and history of all previous owners of the Russian property;
  2. information about the land parcels and commercial real estate to be bought;
  3. all the debts and encumbrances, as well as useful information on the value of the property;
  4. information about the surface and construction details, as well as the uses of the property;
  5. maps of the country with the division of land plots are also available with the Land Register.
The real estate due diligence procedure is quite complex which is why finding all available information, especially related to any debts associated with the property is very important. Also, third-party property rights can be found when checking a property with the Russian Land Register.
You can rely on our lawyers in Russia if you want to find out about the legal aspects related to buying a property in this country. You can also benefit from consulting services related to obtaining citizenship in Russia after settling here.

Selling real estate in Russia

Those who own properties in Russia and want to sell them do not need to complete too many formalities with the Land Register. However, they are required to verify if there are any unpaid taxes associated with the respective properties and clear any encumbrance before the sale is completed. If these debts are not paid, the risk is for the sale of the property to not be completed because of these debts. We remind property owners that they need to pay the VAT related to the real estate transaction. The rate of the VAT is 20%.
We offer various legal services, including drafting various types of contracts related to real estate transactions in Russia. We can also help foreign investors who want to open companies in the real estate industry in Russia.

Information provided by the Land Register in Russia

A different Land Registry is still kept and it contains basically the same information as the Land Book:
  • the registration number of the land parcel,
  • the address,
  • the surface,
  • the category and authorization for use depending on the purpose,
  • where its boundaries lie,
  • the registered owner,
  • if any encumbrances exist,
  • the value of plot is also mentioned,
  • the quality of the land and if any immovable property is on the plot.

The Russian Land Registry divides the land into agricultural land, populated land in the cities or the country side, industrial land, land used for public utilities - such as transport, communications - and land used for recreational purposes such as parks and land reserve.

At the Russian Land Registry, the buyer can verify if the land plot or building has any encumbrances that could cause difficulty or impossibility to purchase the property. All the information is available online. The buyer can also check the legal title of the seller.

Legislation related to buying a property in Russia

Foreign investors who want to purchase real estate in Russia must comply with the following laws:
  • the Land Act;
  • the Tax Law;
  • the Town Planning Code;
  • the Agricultural Land Transaction Law;
  • the State Registration Act;
  • the Mortgages Law.
In order ease the real estate registration process with the Land Register, in 2017 the authorities have begun testing blockchain technology with the purpose of speeding up the property registration procedure.

Registering a property with the Land Register in Russia

After buying a property, the main responsibility of the new owner is to register it with the Land Registry.
In order to register a property in Russia, the following documents must be presented:
  • an application form signed by seller and buyer;
  • identification documents (usually passports are required);
  • a power of attorney, if the parties are represented by an agent;
  • the sales contract and the acceptance document that will attest the transfer of the property,
  • a statement certifying the payment of a duty fee;
  • a list specifying the persons that will reside on the property.
There are also specific fees that need to be considered when buying a property in Russia. Among these, we mention the following:
  • the real estate agent’s fee which usually ranges between 2% and 5% of the value of the property;
  • the notary fee for drafting the sale-purchase agreement and which ranges between 0.7% and 1.5% of the value of the real estate;
  • the Land Register fee is also variable depending on the value of the property and it ranges between 0.01% and 1%;
  • the overall costs incurred by the buyer with the property apart from the price of the property range between 2.5% and 7.5%.

Short history of the Russian Land Register

According to a presidential decree issued in 1993, all lands had to be registered in the Land Book. The Unified State Register of the Real Estate Property or cadaster in Russia was the authority that kept all the information on the rights regarding a land plot or building, considering the Russian law makes a clear distinction between them.

However, in 1997, the law on “Registration of Rights to Immovable Property and Transaction Therewith” was adopted and it stated that a unique real estate register would be kept by the Ministry of Justice. This law stipulates that all the titles would be registered and receive a registration certificate.
If you want to purchase a property, please contact our Russian lawyers for legal advice about the registration process.