Changes on the federal level
Federal law of 2 April 2014 No. 65-FZ “On amending articles 48 and 51 of the Town- Planning Code of the Russian Federation”
As of 2 April 2014, for purposes of expediting the construction of federally significant transportation infrastructure facilities, it has become possible to complete the architectural and construction design of such facilities and their parts before the land plot is provided to the developer if the siting of such facilities is envisaged in the site planning documentation.
In addition, amendments were also made requiring a decision of the general meeting of the owners of a multi-unit apartment building prior to issuing a permit for its reconstruction. The decision must be made by a two-thirds majority of the owners. If such reconstruction will result in a decrease in the area of the building’s common property, a unanimous decision of all premises owners is required.
Federal Law of 20 April 2014 No. 80-FZ “On amending articles 2 and 6 of the Town- Planning Code of the Russian Federation”
As of 21 April 2014, amendments came into force pursuant to which the RF Government will approve lists of procedures in the sphere of construction, taking into account the specifics of town-planning activity on the territory of RF constituent subjects and municipal units, make changes to such lists, and establish a procedure for maintaining the register for descriptions of the procedures in such lists.
Also included within the purview of RF state executive authorities in the sphere of town-planning activity is approval of exhaustive lists of procedures for legal entities and individuals involved in town-planning relations to prepare site planning documentation and carry out architectural and construction design, construction and reconstruction of permanent structures. The authorities are also to approve the procedure for maintaining the register of descriptions of procedures enumerated in these lists.
It is not permitted for authorities, individual entrepreneurs, or organizations to require individuals or legal entities to perform procedures not set forth on such lists with respect to the creation by legal entities and individuals involved in town-planning relations of site planning documents and performance of architectural and construction design, construction, or reconstruction of permanent structures.
Federal Law of 5 May 2014 No. 131-FZ “On amending the Town-Planning Code of the Russian Federation”
As of 5 May 2014, amendments to town-planning legislation establishing requirements to the content of local and regional town-planning design standards came into force. In part, the RF Town-Planning Code now includes the concept of “town-planning design regulations”, divided into regional and local (municipal units, settlements, city districts) regulations.
Regional and local town-planning design regulations must contain the minimum number of regionally and locally significant facilities for serving the population, as well as the maximum distance such facilities can be from the populace of RF constituent subjects and municipal units.
Regional town-planning regulations must be taken into account when preparing draft RF constituent subject territory planning plans.
Also, preparing draft general plans for the cities of federal significance, Moscow and S. Petersburg, is to be done taking into account the town-planning design regulations for the respective cities.
Federal Law of 20 April 2014 No. 83-FZ “On amending article 23.2 FZ ‘On electric power’”
Federal legislation continues its course in implementing a number of “road maps” to improve the investment climate in the Russian Federation. This federal law has obviously been adopted as a measure aimed at implementing the “Increasing access to the electric power infrastructure” road map (RF Government Decree of 30 June 2012 No.1144-r; RF Government Decree of 9 August 2013 No. 1400-r).
As of 1 October 2015, the size of the investment component included in the payment for the technological connection of power receiving equipment with a maximum capacity of less than 150 kW for covering expenses for the construction of power grid facilities (from existing facilities to power receiving equipment being connected or to electric power facilities) cannot comprise more than 50% of such expenses;
As of 1 October 2017, it will not be permitted to include the investment component described above as part of the payment for the technological connection of power receiving equipment with a maximum capacity of less than 150 kW.
We presume that such changes are being made in order to gradually decrease the cost of technological connection of power receiving equipment with a maximum capacity of less than 150 kW.
Federal Law of 2 April 2014 No. 61-FZ “On amending article 8.6 of the Russian Federation Administrative Violations Code”
As of 13 April 2014 administrative liability for contamination of land will increase.
The maximum fine for destroying a layer of topsoil, as well as for the contamination of land by violating rules regarding the use of pesticides, agrochemicals, and other dangerous substances, has been increased from 2,000 to 5,000 rubles for individuals, from 4,000 to 30,000 rubles for officials of an organization, and from 40,000 to 80,000 rubles for legal entities. For individual entrepreneurs this fine has risen from 4,000 to 40,000 rubles.
The maximum fine for unauthorized removal or relocation of a layer of topsoil has been increased from 1,500 to 3,000 rubles for individuals, from 3,000 to 10,000 rubles for officials of an organization, and from 30,000 to 50,000 for legal entities.
Orders of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia of 8 November 2013 No. 662 and 29 November 2013 No. 723
As of 30 June 2014, new rules have come into force regarding submission of documents for cadastral inventory and electronic state registration of rights.
In particular, these rules regulate aspects of the procedure for submitting documents to the authorized body and the procedure for signing electronic applications, and also establish document format requirements.
Orders of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia of 25 February 2014 Nos. 86 and 87
As of 30 June 2014, the requirements to the form of technical plans for buildings (Order No. 86) and premises (Order No. 87) will change. The changes include:
New requirements to the form and content of the technical plans for buildings and structures, as well as to preparation of these documents.
The possibility of creating a technical plan with respect to part of a premises or a number of premises (including those on different floors but with direct access to one another).
Expansion of the list of cases that do not require a separate technical plan for each created object (for example, when a premises and part thereof are modified at the same time).
These changes may be useful for individualizing parts of premises to be leased separately.
Changes at the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast levels
St. Petersburg Law of 26 June 2014 No. 417-65 “On adding to and amending St. Petersburg law ‘On the borders of cultural heritage site protection zones in St. Petersburg and land use regimes within such zones, and on amending St. Petersburg law “On the General Plan of St. Petersburg and the borders of cultural heritage site protection zones in St. Petersburg”’”
To understand the significance of this law, we remind you that on 16 March 2011, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation issued Ruling No. 78-G11-13, which upheld St. Petersburg City Court Ruling of 20 December 2010 in case No. 3-311/10, invalidating a number of provisions of the St. Petersburg Land Use and Development Rules (“PZZ”), including clause 8 article 2 chapter 1 of annex 1 of the PZZ regarding land plots within the borders of cultural heritage site protection zones, as being in violation of the procedure set forth in federal legislation for approval of the borders of such zones. As a result, town-planning activity within these cultural heritage site protection zones was effectively suspended since the town-planning regulations established in the PZZ could not be applied to them.
The law of 26 June 2014 was prepared on the basis of a new draft of the protection zones developed by the Committee on State Control, Use, and Protection of Historical and Cultural Landmarks in 2014, having undergone state historical and cultural expert review and having been approved by the RF Ministry of Culture on 19 May 2014.
We presume that as of the date of the law’s entrance into force (13 July 2014), the problem of construction within the borders of cultural heritage site protection zones that has existed for more than 3 years can be considered resolved, and investors can again depend on the town-planning regulations and the PZZ established for all of St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg Government Resolution of 11 March 2014, No. 131 “On St. Petersburg state executive authorities exercising the property owners’ rights with respect to state unitary enterprises of St. Petersburg”
On 11 March 2014, a new resolution entered into force regarding the exercise by St. Petersburg state executive authorities of property owners’ rights with respect to state unitary enterprises of St. Petersburg.
In particular, pursuant to this resolution, transactions of enterprises with respect to the property of which the Government of St. Petersburg has taken a decision to privatize cannot be approved prior to the state registration of the created OJSC or LLC (with the exception of approval by St. Petersburg state executive authorities of transactions performed by its subordinate enterprises that are considered major transactions), nor can other transactions that, pursuant to the charters of the enterprises, cannot be performed without approval from the owners of the enterprise’s property.
The property owner rights exercised on behalf of St. Petersburg by the competent authorities with respect to St. Petersburg state unitary enterprises subordinate to them and by the City Property Management Committee were defined, and matters of transaction approval were regulated.
St. Petersburg Government Decree of 4 April 2003 No. 600-ra “On measures towards implementing federal law “On state and municipal unitary enterprises’” has ceased to be in force.
RF Supreme Court Ruling of 19 March 2014 No. AKPI14-79
The RF Supreme Court invalidated paragraph 4 of clause 10 of the Rules for Defining and Providing Technical Conditions, approved by RF Government Decree of 13 February 2006 No. 83, defining the period of validity of technical conditions as “not less than 2 years”. In particular, the court found that this provision contradicted part 7 article 48 of the RF Town-Planning Code, pursuant to which the period of validity of technical conditions is established as not less than three years.
Decree of the Presidium of the RF Supreme Arbitration Court of 4 March 2014 No. 17462/13
The Supreme State Arbitration Court made a decision on whether paying a resource supply organization for actually rendered utility services was the obligation of a property tenant or the owner/landlord.
In this case, according to the provisions of the lease, the tenant was supposed to have entered into an agreement with the resource supply organization and to have paid for the utility services, but did not do so. The owner also did not enter into an agreement with the resource supply organization, and also did not pay for the services. In this situation, unjustifiable enrichment was recovered from the owner in the amount of the cost of the utility services and interest for the use of others’ monetary funds.
The court argued as follows. If the tenant did not enter into an agreement with the resource supply organization on its own behalf, it is not obligated to pay the organization for the services, notwithstanding the fact that it was the consumer of the services. It is the property owner’s obligation to pay the resource supply organization for the services, even if there was no agreement for their rendering between them. A similar position was put forth by the Presidium of the RF Supreme State Arbitration Court in a Decree dated 21 May 2013 No. 13112/12 with respect to lease of non- residential premises in a multi-unit apartment building.
Decree of the Presidium of the RF Supreme Arbitration Court of 25 February 2014 No. 15534/13
The RF Supreme State Arbitration Court clarified at what point a regulated rent for public land changes after a change in one of the factors in its calculation.
In this case, the regulated rent was calculated in part on the basis of the cadastral value of the land plot. A new cadastral value was approved by a regional regulatory act, which accordingly would lead to a change in the rent. In this connection, the question arose of at what point the tenant would be obligated to start paying the new amount of rent – as of the entrance into force of the regulatory act approving the results of the cadastral assessment of the land, or as of the point which information on the new cadastral value is entered into the state real estate cadastre.
The RF Supreme State Arbitration Court came out in support of the first approach – the tenant must pay rent in the new amount prior to the point at which information on the new cadastral value is entered into the state real estate cadastre.
Decisions of the State Arbitration Court of the City of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast of 27 November 2013 in case No. A56-56228/2013 and of 27 November 2013 in case No. A56-56227/2013
Pursuant to the accepted practices of the St. Petersburg Office of Rosreestr, registration of long-term leases requires presentation of the cadastral passport containing an indication of the area of the premises. These requirements of Rosreestr were successfully disputed. The court ruled that the decision to refuse to register leases for premises in business centers was illegal, and compelled Rosreestr to register them.
The Court established that the landlord’s title to a disputed building had been registered in the Unified State Register of Rights. The building’s cadastral passport was included in the title document file. The lease agreement contained a full textual description of the part of the building being leased. The boundaries of the areas being leased were indicated by the parties in the floor plan of the property, which was annexed to the agreement.
The court explained that if the rights to the real property had been previously registered to the landlord and the respective title document file contained the cadastral passport, a document signed by the parties containing a graphic and/or textual representation of that part of the real property to be used by the tenant (including data contained in the cadastral passport of the respective real property) could be presented for purposes of state registration of the lease agreement.
On the basis of the above, the court came to the conclusion that if the title to the building is registered in the Unified State Register of Rights and the title document file contains the cadastral passport, Rosreestr’s demand that a cadastral passport be provided for the subject of lease was illegal.
The Rosreestr Office attempted to appeal one of the cases, but the appeal was rejected by the court at the end of April 2014 in connection with lapse of the term for appeal.