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Simplifying Property Registration, Improving Public Service Delivery in Russia

January 12, 2016

The video was produced in cooperation with the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography of Russia.

World Bank Group

In Russia, the process of registering legal rights for immovable property has greatly improved in recent years, thanks to the development of standardized, clear, and more efficient registration procedures, as well as the introduction of an improved information management system for real estate rights and cadastre registration services.

These necessary improvements have come about through the Russian Federation Registration Project, which is managed through effective cooperation between The Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr), the Ministry of Economy and Development, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Bank. To date, the project has received a total funding of US$ 32.2 million.

Easier registration of property is part of a wider effort to improve public service delivery and guarantee legal certainty of property rights for individuals and business alike in Russia.

Improving the business environment for all levels of entrepreneurs – from small, even micro, to big business – is, of course, the most important part of the investment climate in the country,” says Igor Vasiliev, Head of Rosreestr. “Rosreestr plays a special role, as the agency engages in the registration of property rights, which is precisely the key point for investors.”

Russian citizens are benefitting in several ways. For example, they are no longer required to submit to Rosreestr documents issued by other government or municipal institutions. Rosreestr has taken over the function of collecting all documents, using its connection to the Interdepartmental Electronic Interaction system, and regularly exchanges information in digital format with 40 Federal Ministries and Agencies, including regional and municipal authorities.

The time it takes to register property has decreased from 30 to 8 working days – less than the 10 days required by law. Less complex cases are often completed in 1 day. Information requests are now processed within 3 days and those submitted electronically through the Portal of Public Services are processed in 1 day.

Some 19,534,295 digital extracts were issued in 2014, 55% of them requested online, while transactional services requested online represented about 35% of the total number of applications processed by Rosreestr.

Multi-functional centres, which provide federal, regional and municipal services using the principle of a “one-stop-shop” are spread widely across Russia. Rosreestr services are among the most popular services provided by these centres.

One of the priority initiatives of Rosreestr was the creation of call centres, which currently operate in 9 time zones and in several languages. By phoning an in-house call centre, a person can make an appointment with an office that provides Rosreestr services. The first of these call centres was opened in Kursk in September 2011, and the second one in Kazan in March 2014.

" I have a plot of land in a village. I wanted to rent it to a farmer, but I didn’t know how to formalize it legally. I called the telephone hotline of Rosreestr. An operator politely and thoroughly explained how to find a cadastral engineer, or a surveyor, and what document that person is supposed to provide. "

Lyudmila Tur

Resident of Kazan

Rosreestr has introduced a better storage system for documents that are received by their offices, and plans to build 8 centralized document archive facilities nationwide by 2019, with the first one to be built in Kaluga.

Within the framework of the Registration project, the FAO is also supporting the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, which is the new international standard for land governance, negotiated by all UN Member States and enforced by the Committee on Food Security in May 2012.

While the need for improvement varies significantly from one country to another, there is a general need for all countries to keep a focus on governance of tenure. In Russia, much progress has been achieved to date in improving the governance of tenure of land.

Transparency and the reduction of corruption are central to good governance. As such, Rosreestr data is freely available online: citizens can track the status of their applications at any time on the Rosreestr website. Another example of improved tenure security is the establishment of the central paper and digital archives, which are also accessible to the general public.

Civic participation is another important principle of good governance. Public councils have been set-up in each of Russia’s oblasts to bring together Rosreestr staff, citizens, academia, the private sector, and civil society – to discuss what works well and what could be done better.

“This is the result of good policy and broad public participation, creation of efficient organizational structure, putting in place modern laws and simplified procedures, innovation, implementation of the biggest unified cadastre and registration IT system in the world, enormous efforts to build capacity to deliver better services and ensure monitoring of the progress,” says Rumyana Tonchovska, a Senior Land Administration Officer at the FAO.

Implementation of the Registration Project also serves to support the Russian Government’s broader efforts to improve the country’s position in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business rating in the area of registration of rights to real estate. And it has helped raise public awareness of Rosreestr and its services.

Russia is now among the top countries in the world in terms of ease of real property registration, according to Doing Business. In the Doing Business Registering Property Index, Rosreestr moved up from 51st place in 2011 to 12th place in 2015, and to 8th place in the 2016 rating.

“We have seen in many countries that building a modern real property registration takes years to accomplish, and Russia has just done that,” according to Andras Horvai, World Bank Country Director for the Russian Federation. “In fact, Russia is now among the top countries in the world in terms of the ease of real property registration, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business report. The ranking is important, but only to the extent that it compares Russia and its efforts with all of other countries. Most important is that citizens and businessmen can now rely on a registration service that is fast and efficient.”