"Take what they give and don't ask questions": the real practice of Moscow renovation
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"Take what they give and don't ask questions": the real practice of Moscow renovation

5 November , 15:37City
The Moscow authorities have created conditions for the relocation of renovation participants to unequal apartments according to “secret” documents, which, in all likelihood, simply do not exist in nature.

Klim Likhachyov, a representative of the Moscow group for the protection of the rights of Muscovites, told about how the resettlement scheme works:

First of all, let's remember what an equivalent apartment is by the standards of a Moscow renovation. According to Art. 7.3 of the Law of the Russian Federation of 15.04.1993 No. 4802-1 "On the status of the capital of the Russian Federation" three criteria must be observed simultaneously: 1 - the living area and the number of rooms in the new apartment is not less than in the previous one, and its total area is larger; 2 - the new apartment complies with the landscaping standards established by the legislation of the city of Moscow, and also has an improved finish in accordance with the requirements established by the regulatory legal act of the city of Moscow, 3 - the apartment is located in an apartment building, which is located in the same area of the city of Moscow.

If everything is more or less clear with the first and last criteria, then the vaguely referential, hidden in the middle of the text, the second criterion gives wide scope for abuse by Moscow officials. Could you imagine that the "improvement standards" and "improved finishing" performed by Moscow renovators will be used to worsen your position as a basis for providing a much more illiquid apartment in a new building than even, exaggeratedly, the old apartment in the ruined "khrushchyovka" flat.

To launch the first wave of resettlement, the Moscow authorities had to find new launching sites or purchase ready-made or under construction houses for renovation.

I am convinced that the construction lobby originally conceived of the renovation even more predatory in relation to the townspeople than even its current antisocial implementation. Judging by how it all began, the original plan was simple: to free the expensive Moscow land occupied by five-story buildings, resettling people in illiquid multi-story candles without full-fledged courtyards and parking lots. However, I had to retreat a little, moderating my appetites, due to numerous parliamentary amendments and a large-scale protest from Muscovites.

The implementation was preceded by the preparatory stage of the Moscow scheme. In continuation of the federal law, the Moscow Government needed to develop a number of decrees in order to create a "money box" controlled by officials, into which budget resources could be drained, and at the same time shifted most of the responsibility for the implementation of the program onto someone else, to choose launch sites or try to realize the available multimillion-dollar resources of low-liquid housing, and before that decide on the Moscow standards for improved housing decoration. After all, it is impossible to build housing for the needs of renovation, in which it is impossible to fulfill the requirements for improved finishing, since this is one of the mandatory criteria for the equivalence of an apartment.

Now watch your hands: the sequence of these decisions, which confirms that everything was planned from the very beginning. On August 8, 2017, the first resolutions were adopted on the approval of the requirements for improved finishing of equivalent apartments No. 516 and the establishment of the Moscow Fund for the Renovation of Residential Development ("pods"), and only then, after a month and a half - on September 26, Resolution No. 708, which enshrined the list of launch sites and almost finished houses built as part of other investment programs, but suddenly intended for the resettlement of participants in the renovation of the first wave.

Most of the houses transferred for relocation for renovation within the first wave and determined by Resolution No. 708 did not meet the requirements for improved finishing and could not meet due to their design features, Moscow officials could not help but know, or they are simply unsuitable for professional purposes.

I think the officials knew that the housing they provided was not equivalent. That is why I pay attention to the dates and sequence of the adopted resolutions of the Moscow Government. And the numerous participants in the renovation, who voluntarily agreed to participate in the program, could not imagine that the apartments for resettlement offered by the Moscow City Property Department could be unequal. For example, a sufficient part of the residents of the Presnensky District completely "swallowed" the options they proposed for relocation to the 45-storey towers on Mukomolniy Proezd, 2. This house was not built for renovation, and the apartments in it do not meet the requirements of improved finishing, which means they are not equivalent ... In the immediate "proximity" to the towers of Moscow City, the settlers thought that they were as close as possible to the celestials living in glass skyscrapers, and did not notice at all that they did not have balconies ... Now there are a large number of announcements from this house, but the housing market in Moscow is oversaturated , and no one is in a hurry to buy apartments without their own parking, green zone, or their own yard surrounded by railways.

In different areas, different realities and the quality of unequal apartments also differ. Of course, many agreed to unequal options of their own free will, being conscientiously mistaken about the quality characteristics of the apartments provided, or believing that the next option would be even worse - the participants of the renovation themselves told about this. But there were hundreds of people who checked not only the number and area of rooms, but also the list of requirements for improved finishing, and, having identified inconsistencies, refused to move. The first cases of motivated refusals to move caused the suspension of the issuance of "warrants" to other neighbors. This stopped the resettlement of the first wave and created the phenomenon of partially resettled houses, which were not fully evicted, by 50-80 percent, while “refuseniks” continued to live in the remaining apartments. The fact is that in court they could be evicted only in case of refusal from the provided equivalent apartment.

Participants of the renovation program living in the Beskudnikovsky, Kuntsevo, Vernadsky Prospect districts have faced forced judicial eviction - and now the most notorious scandalous resettlement is going on here.

Among the numerous examples of the lack of improved finishes were situations with bath size. Imagine, almost 60 years ago, small apartments were built to accommodate barracks and communal apartments with "luxurious" baths 150 cm long at that time. And now, 60 years later, the Moscow authorities are developing new standards for housing renovation comfort with a bath length of at least 170 cm. Yes, only this remained in many cases "on paper", in fact, the length of the bath remained the same. The design features of a sufficient portion of the houses included in Resolution No. 708 simply did not provide for the new standards.

But the forced eviction took place. Almost a year after the first motivated refusals to relocate on November 11, 2019, the Moscow Government adopts a new Resolution No. 1465, which amends the Moscow Government Resolutions of August 8, 2017 N 516-PP and of August 8, 2017 N 517-PP. The Moscow government has actually endowed the Moscow Renovation Fund with the right to issue a normative legal act depriving an indefinite circle of persons, and these are thousands of Muscovites - participants in the renovation, the right to receive an equivalent apartment. Now the Fund, by its decisions, can determine whether a participant in the renovation program has the right to an improved finish or must go to illiquid apartments that officials need to sell, and the Moscow City Property Department was given the opportunity to forcibly evict renovation participants bypassing their legal requirements. At the same time, the authorities continue to declare that only a few are evicted in court, these people are presented to us as dissatisfied litigants, insolent grabbers.

I believe that the statistics of “forced” court evictions were underestimated. It can be said with some certainty that the courts could have had special instructions in this regard, for example, upon receipt of statements of claim from the DGI of Moscow for the eviction of renovation participants in the courts of general jurisdiction, various codes of the category of cases under consideration were assigned, which seriously complicates the collection of statistical data. This practice was recorded not only in different courts, but also when considering cases by one judge. In the Timiryazevskiy District Court, case No. 02-1115 / 2020 was assigned code 146 - "other disputes related to land use", in case No. 02-1298 / 2020, code 127 was assigned - "other housing disputes", in case No. 02-1281 / 2020 code 111 - "on eviction from a dwelling belonging to the right of ownership." The Nikulinsky District Court used code 129 - “on the recognition of ownership of garden plots and real estate objects” in case No. 02-0806 / 2020. In total, after the November ruling, only the Timiryazevsky, Kuntsevsky, Nikulinsky courts considered and "prepared" for eviction cases against 24 Moscow families. Considering that these families lived in 3 different districts, only to meet their needs it was necessary to build at least three apartment buildings with equivalent apartments, other residents - their neighbors, who had previously agreed to move and moved to unequal apartments, could declare their legal requirements. Then it would be necessary to demolish multi-storey buildings, previously built under the investment program, and build corresponding renovations in their place. You see, these are multi-billion dollar losses, possibly criminal cases for officials...

At the same time, the Moscow City Property Department, as well as officials from the Moscow town-planning bloc, “do not believe” that Muscovites have been relocated to unequal apartments. They actively use the wording introduced by Resolution No. 1465, calling the offered apartments “apartments with peculiarities of applying the Requirements for Improved Finishing of Equivalent Premises”. It is difficult to say exactly how many such cases in Moscow, as you can see, the courts also impede the collection of statistics.

Despite the fact that a resolution of the Moscow Government was adopted, which amended resolutions 516, 517, giving the Renovation Fund “freedom” to determine to which apartment building to apply the features of applying the Requirements for Improved Finishing, the eviction was not legal.

The Moscow City Property Department in none of the considered cases, acting as a plaintiff for judicial eviction, did not prove that such decisions were applied by the renovation fund. The relevant documents were not submitted to the court. I analyzed the court decisions that are in the public domain, here are the case numbers, you can easily verify this yourself: in the Timiryazevskiy court 02-1298 / 2020, 02-1288 / 2020, 02-1281 / 2020, 02-1138 / 2020 , 02-1115 / 2020, 02-1079 / 2020, 02-0765 / 2020, in Kuntsevsky 02-2083 / 2020, in Nikulinsky 02-3036 / 2020, 02-3032 / 2020, 02-3029 / 2020, 02-1329 / 2020, 02-1325 / 2020, 02-1322 / 2020, 02-1319 / 2020, 02-1317 / 2020, 02-1317 / 2020, 02-1316 / 2020, 02-0809 / 2020, 02-0803 / 2020 , 02-0806 / 2020, 02-0807 / 2020, 02-0804 / 2020...

This is definitely the grossest procedural violation. Each party must prove the circumstances to which it refers in support of its claims. This is the law, as a rule, this is the norm of the civil procedure. Having looked at the cited materials of civil cases, you will see that out of more than twenty cases, only one-fifth of the participants in the renovation, who were forcibly evicted in court, applied for legal assistance.

This suggests that the participants in the renovation, as a large category of Moscow residents, were unable to secure the assistance of a professional lawyer or took their defense lightly, perhaps they did not expect that the state itself, represented by Moscow officials, would do this to them, but the court will defend the unfair position of officials. The easiest way to impress such people is their rights. I looked at the cases in which the representatives took part in much more detail. Many representatives referred to Resolution 516 of the Government, declaring that it was inadmissible to move into apartments without improved finishing, I went a little further and immediately began to demand the submission of the relevant decisions of the Renovation Fund. I believe that the DGI of Moscow simply and without much effort, often without providing the relevant documents, won in court, without encountering serious resistance, until we met.

One of the cases No. 02-0808 / 2020 in the Nikulinsky District Court, where I defended the Smirnov family. Here is the same case with a bathtub less than 170 cm - below the prescribed minimum standard. The Smirnov family was one of the first in Moscow to announce its motivated refusal to move, and their story caused a public outcry thanks to the support of the Moscow Group for the Protection of the Rights of Muscovites in the implementation of the renovation program. At that time, a response was received from the management of the Moscow City Construction Department that, due to design features, it was impossible to install a bathtub with the minimum established requirements with a length of 170 cm in the house proposed by them for relocation. This is house number 58 on Prospekt Vernadsky Street.

The family was not touched for a whole year, but 2 weeks after the adoption of Resolution No. 1465, they filed a lawsuit for eviction. At that time I filed a petition for the submission of the Foundation's documents, and the court satisfied it, although the DGI of Moscow and the representative of the prosecutor actively objected. The first sessions were postponed, since the Moscow City Department of State did not find appropriate decisions in its department, then the court issued a ruling on their claim. DGI of Moscow continued to drag out the process, but did not provide the documents. First, he provided a simple certificate from the Renovation Fund that all decisions had been made, and although the house was without improved finishing, in this case the apartment could be considered equivalent.

Of course, this answer did not suit me and the court sent a second request. An indistinct extract on one of the decisions of the fund was provided, but only on this extract the court could not make out when this decision was made, who and when convened the meeting, who participated in making the decision. It seems to me that at this stage the "telephone" law has already begun to work - and on the basis of a frankly inappropriate extract, the claim was satisfied by the Nikulinsky court, and later the decision of the court was left unchanged by the Moscow City Court, and they want the Moscow City Court to determine the date of the meeting, who made the relevant decisions , but if the date of the decision and the personal composition of the participants who made the decision is not set, then there could be no decision.

I believe that the Moscow City Property Department and the Moscow Residential Development Fund did not provide the documents requested by the court for the reason that they simply do not exist. The officials decided again, conveniently for themselves, that everything would be good. After all, they adopted a resolution from Moscow, made changes, shifted all responsibility for the failure to provide equivalent apartments without improved finishing to some impersonal Renovation Fund, used budget money, sold low-liquid apartments, and even Muscovites were shoved into them, and most importantly, neither Sobyanin was involved in this nor his Government. But the Foundation is not faceless. Resolution No. 517, which established the Moscow Foundation for the Renovation of Housing Development, also approved the composition of the persons who make the fundamental decisions. Among them are the same Sobyanin S.S., Khusnullin M.Sh., Sergunina N.A. Rakova A.V. and other high-ranking officials of the Moscow Government and the Russian Government. It turns out that the officials of the Moscow Government, who have shifted all responsibility for failed decisions on renovation to the Fund, can nevertheless be drawn into another scandal over failure to fulfill the promises made and their own standards.

If the Moscow City Property Department had provided the documents requested by us at the first meeting on its own initiative, then the consideration of the case would have ended there without stretching from November 2019 to October 2020. Instead, the "representative" of the city demanded the immediate eviction of Muscovites from the apartment they owned by right of ownership without the right to appeal, claiming some losses that were allegedly caused by the refusal to voluntary resettlement. And, although the court granted such a groundless petition six months after its application together with the satisfaction of the plaintiff's claims, the city failed to enforce the forced eviction. We responded to the orders of execution already issued and the initiated enforcement proceedings with a ruling from the Moscow City Court to suspend enforcement actions.

Now, given that the decision of the court of first instance has been left unchanged by the appeal ruling, the Smirnovs will have to move to that unequal renovated apartment. This will be required by the bailiffs immediately after receiving the ruling of the Moscow City Court, since the enforcement actions were suspended pending consideration of our appeal. The Smirnovs agree to move voluntarily, but the voluntary order of resettlement cannot be fulfilled yet. In connection with the measures taken to combat the spread of coronavirus infection, the judicial offices do not receive citizens and do not issue court decisions. Despite the upcoming move to a poorly liquid, unequal apartment, the struggle for housing rights will continue, but it is too early to disclose a further protection strategy now, this could harm my clients. I can only say that we are still facing other lawsuits and it is possible that the renovated apartment will become an intermediate accommodation option until the Smirnovs are provided with a truly equivalent apartment.

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