Unauthorised Structures: Regulatory Changes

12.10.2018

Legal Update No. 654

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP presents the third update on the August 2018 legal developments. In this edition, we focus on regulatory changes introduced for unauthorised structures under Federal Laws Nos. 339-FZ and 340-FZ of 3 August 2018.

The most significant developments include:

1) “Unauthorised structure” is now defined more specifically. For instance, breached permitted use of a land plot or any violated requirements for consents or permits to be obtained and/or any town-planning or construction rules and regulations must be identified when erection or construction of an unauthorised structure is launched and must still apply when the structure is detected. Facilities built or erected in breach of the statutory restrictions on using land plots do not amount to “unauthorised structures” if their owners did not know and could not have known that these restrictions applied to their land plots.

2) It is now possible not only to pass a traditional decision on demolishing an unauthorised structure but also one on bringing it in line with the requirements (i.e., the characteristics prescribed by the land use and development rules, territorial planning documents or mandatory construction parameters). In other words, in certain circumstances, owners of unauthorised structures may now, for instance, re-construct them.

3) Government actions to identify signs of unauthorised structures are now regulated much more stringently. Specifically, if state supervision and control authorities detect any signs of unauthorised structures (revealed, for instance, by state construction, state land supervision or municipal land oversight inspections), they must report them to the local government at the land plot’s location. Then, within twenty days, the latter must:

a) choose to demolish the structure or to make it compliant; or

b) lodge a law suit for it to be either knocked down or made compliant; or

c) disagree with these signs of an unauthorised structure;

4) The list of administrative actions in response to unauthorised structures has been extended significantly. For instance, in certain cases, local governments may now decide to demolish unauthorised structures or to make them compliant if they are built on a land plot for which no title documents or construction permits have been issued.

5) In fact, under the revised legislation, government authorities may now allow sale or purchase of land plots accommodating unauthorised structures. Such land plots may, for instance, be put up for tender, then the winner will have to ensure that the unauthorised structure is either knocked down or made compliant. In doing so, the winner will apparently be driven by the prospect of building its own facilities on the land.

To sum up, on the one hand, these legal developments have, in many respects, incorporated the judicial opinions rendered over the last few years and, on the other, substantially extended the government’s powers to respond to unauthorised structures without recourse to the courts.

Next week, we will cover the key regulatory changes in construction permission documentation.

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