Muscovites urged to seek out unregistered residents

20 February 2013 

Source: (info)
Moscow city authorities have proposed that organizations managing apartment buildings should themselves identify unregistered residents, according to the “systematic recommendations on identifying individuals occupying residential accommodation ", published on the website of the Moscow City Department of Housing and Public Services.

The order was dated January 31, 2013. According to the website Home-and-Garden, the document appeared on the Internet as early as 6th February. The media, following the lead of newspaper Izvestiya, drew attention to it only on Tuesday, February 19. notes that the recommendations are published ostensibly to identify those tenants who avail themselves of public services, but who do not pay for them. This happens if the apartment is not equipped with individual water and heating meters, and there are more residents than are registered. In such cases, notes the statement, “the actual consumption of utilities used by the unregistered occupants leads to an above average usage of communal resources for the whole house.” 

As one means of dealing with these freeloaders, Moscow city administration recommends a general meeting of the owners of apartments to encourage other owners to report any increase in the number of occupants (despite the fact that, a few paragraphs earlier in the document, it is stated that the owners of those apartments which are not fitted with meters must inform the management company of any change in the number of persons dwelling in the property.) 

A general meeting of the owners of apartments should also give management agencies the authority to check the collected information on the number of residents in apartments and to audit this data.

In such cases, apartments should be raided twice a month. These will involve the participation of representatives of the management agencies, of the beat police officer, and at least two independent witnesses. 

Upon detecting a person who is living illegally in an apartment, the local police will have to bring charges for an administrative violation. If it is found that the owner lets out space for rent, the management agency will have to notify the tax inspectorate and the regional administration of the immigration service.

In the case of a management agency failing in its responsibilities of checking persons, its officials may be held administratively liable, as is stated at the end of the document (but it is not specified which article of the administrative code relates to this).

Particular attention has recently been paid in connection with the issue of residence registration to the discussion of the bill on so-called "rubber apartments.” This bill, which involves the introduction of criminal liability for violation of the rules of registration of place of residence, was proposed by President Vladimir Putin in early 2013 and by mid-February had already received its first reading in the Duma.

According to the authors of the bill, its passage is necessary in the first place in order to stop the situation where hundreds of people are registered in one apartment. Critics of the bill believe that Putin is actually bringing back the propiska system (of residential registration) that violates the constitutional right to freedom of movement.