18 December 2017
Citizens should have the right to build houses on agricultural land that they own as property. This proposal was addressed by participants at the “Action Forum” of the All-Russian People’s Front (ONF): “Russia aspiring to the future”, as part of the theme “Territories of the Future: New Spaces”. At present, it is impossible to build a dwelling house on a plot of land zoned for agriculture. Neither the Land Code of Russia nor the law on the turnover of agricultural land provides for such an opportunity.
“Legislation only allows buildings associated with production to be constructed on a farm property. The Russian Land Code provides for the possibility of transferring a section of land from one category to another, but in practice this mechanism does not work. Therefore, many citizens are forced to build a house on their land but officially designate it to be a barn, a cow-shed, or another farm building which is not prohibited. It is high time to allow people to legalize these houses and allow agricultural producers, who spend most of the day on their own land, to provide housing for their families,” said ONF expert, coordinator of the Family Homestead project in the Saratov region, Marina Kopenkina.
The initiative to allow the construction of houses for citizens living and working on agricultural land was repeatedly supported by the Russian president and the leader of the All-Russian People’s Front, Vladimir Putin. At the same time, the head of state drew attention to the need to take into account all possible risks and urged a very competent and clear mechanism to ensure that such lands do not turn into, for example, “cottage villages”. The President also stressed that it is possible to authorize construction only on those lands that are listed in the relevant registers of agricultural producers.
“Until now, though, the government has not bothered to solve this problem. Due to the lack of clear legal regulations for farmers, citizens and families to construct dwelling houses on their own agricultural land, the development of rural areas has been significantly hampered. Citizens who built their houses as commercial buildings are in legally risky territory, and citizens who potentially want to live and work on the land lose their motivation because they do not have the opportunity to build a family house on their own land,” Kopenkina stressed.
To resolve this issue, experts of the ONF Working Group on “Fair and Effective Economy”, together with the Association of Farmer Farms and Agricultural Cooperatives of Russia (AKKOR) and the Russian Union of Rural Youth held a survey of agricultural producers in February-March 2017. It was attended by more than 500 respondents (heads of agricultural enterprises, cooperatives, farms) from 59 regions. The survey results showed that about 90% of respondents supported the proposal to remove restrictions on the construction of residential buildings on agricultural land. At the same time, according to 86% of respondents, permission to build a dwelling house should only be given to landowners with agricultural producer status, and the buildings themselves should be limited in area and number of storeys. As for the maximum area of plots allowed to be removed from agricultural circulation for the purposes of a residential house and its surrounding area, more often than not the proposal was heard – not less than 1 hectare.
Original article (in Russian):