Privatization of housing gets new rush in Belarus

"The house belonged to my grandfather who had built it. The house was demolished when they were constructing a road. Three families were registered in the house. Three apartments were provided: two three-bedroom aprtments and one one-bedroom apartment. The apartments were not privatized," recalls Kaciaryna from Minsk.

Her grandfather's house in Abuchauski zavulak was demolished in 1984. In thirty years, Kaciaryna will have to pay 130 million rubles in order to privatize her three-bedroom apartment, Euroradio has learned.

"We did not have it privatized when there was a possibiliy back then. Now everything has changed and they say we have no privileges during privatization, yet the house was built by my grandfather's hands. The executive committee calculated that 130 million rubles should be paid. 13 million as the first payment and the rest should be paid in the course of forty years," says Kaciaryna.

There are no privileges during privatization of such apartments, officials at Minsk's Central District administration told Euroradio. They insist there was enough time to privatize the apartment:

"Currently, privatization is on general terms. Under the previous Housing Code, there was time for free privatization, if the tenant of the apartment had owned the demolished house and no compensation for demolition was paid."

But under the new Housing Code, the demolished house was in private property, while the apartment is owned by the state.

"If the house was owned, then the apartment should also be rendered as a private property..."  officials at Minsk's Persamajski District administration seem to be stunned.

They also complain about the influx of people seeking to privatize their apartment. Their office is visited by 120 people daily!

"Last week on Monday there were 120 people. Just in one day!" officials add.

The head of the state is expected soon to review a decree draft the deals with the the transfer of state-owned apartments into commercial real estate.

The new Housing Code envisages fees for using the state-owned housing provided under the rental agreement. As of today, there are 392 thousand apartments like that in Belarus. There is only one year to privatize them.