Russian Federation: Land Legislation Amendments In 2015

January 2015 started with continuation of the phase-in introduction of amendments to Russian land legislation made by the Federal Law No.171-FZ of 23 June 2014 (here in after referred to as the Law). Some of the changes provided for by the Law became effective right upon official publication thereof in 2014. Those changes mainly touch upon country side ('dacha') projects and other issues related to individuals. Main changes however become effective in 2015.

On 1 January 2015 amendments to provisions dealing with land protection, control and agricultural lands came into force. Among others, in 2015 powers of respective state authorities in what relates to land monitoring and control are reshaped, aims and goals of land monitoring are revised.

The second batch of amendments will enter into force on 1 March 2015. As of the mentioned date definition of a land plot will be substantially specified. There after a land plot will be defined as a real estate object formed of a part of the land surface bearing characteristics allowing defining it as an individual thing.

The Law introducing new chapters to the Russian Land Code clarifies the procedure for formation, division and provision of land plots from among the lands owned by the state constituent units and municipalities. Chapter V.1 of the Land Code will from now on deal with various forms of use of land plots, from individual residential construction up to industrial construction and localization of nuclear waste depositories. Among others, situations where land plots owned by the state or municipalities are transferred to private parties with or without conduct of auctions, as well as situations where land plots are provided free of charge (depending on the goal of acquisition) are listed. Special chapters of the Land Code (V.2-V.6) are now devoted to land plots' (those owned by municipalities and privately owned ones) exchange, reallocation of lands, and creation of servitudes.

Amendments as to negotiability of land plots are introduced. Such new provisions deal with land plots designated for construction of infrastructure objects (sea transport, internal water transport, air transport, air and maritime navigation constructions, railroad infrastructure objects, as well as federal, regional and local motorways), in particular they relate to joint ownership of real estate and land plots underlying respective objects.

Starting from 2015, when formation of land plots is considered, it shall be kept in mind that boundary setting plans are acquiring particular significance. In certain cases such plan is the only document in accordance with which a land plot may be formed (i.a. in cases where integrated urban development, localization of planning elements of built-up areas, or localization of linear facilities is provided). Besides that, it shall be noted that, as a general rule, the Law bans formation of land plots if borders thereof cross borders of territorial zones, forestries, or city forests. This general rule does not apply to formation of land plots for geological survey of subsoil, development of mineral deposits, placement of linear objects, hydro-technical utilities, water storages, and other artificial water objects.

The list of grounds for termination of lease of land plots will now contain an additional item – termination of lease upon the lessor's request if a respective agreement on integrated urban development is terminated or if the contractual schedule for development of the territory at issue is breached.

Amendments introduced by the Law affect not only the Land Code but also a number of other legislative acts, including Civil Code, and Federal law on state registration of title to real estate objects and transactions therewith.

Changes to the Civil Code touch upon, i.a., alienation of unfinished constructions located on land plots owned by the state or municipalities due to termination of the lease of the said land plot.

With regard to the Federal law on state registration of title to real estate objects and transactions there with amendments dealing with supporting documents in course of state registration of title to land plots and persons entitled to apply for such registration shall be noted. For instance, application for state registration of title to forest land plots located within borders of forest reserve lands shall be filed by state authorities of RF constituent units if respective powers to provide such land plots have been transferred thereto by the Russian Federation.

In addition to the above, the Law amends Federal law on mortgage (pledge of real estate), Federal law on participation in joint construction of apartment blocks and other effective legislation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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