Residents of five storey buildings due to be demolished will be able to vote on including their block of flats in the draft redevelopment programme from 15 May until 15 June, 2017, said Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin at the Moscow Government Presidium session.
Muscovites will be able to vote in two ways:
— online via the Active Citizen website;
— at any government services centre, My Documents, regardless of their place of residence.
“We’ll do our best to establish the identity of the voters to make sure they really are the proprietors or the lease tenants of these buildings to prevent any outsiders from voting for others,” the Moscow mayor said.
He added that, if they wished, property owners of the older rundown five storey buildings could hold a general meeting to decide whether they want to list their building in the redevelopment programme. The authorities went for this voting campaign based on the results of crowdsourcing research amongst proprietors and tenants of the old five storey buildings.
“It is entirely possible that despite our massive preparations, we have included some buildings into the list by mistake and their residents could be totally opposed to it,” said Mr Sobyanin. “They will have the opportunity to organise a proprietors’ meeting and decide against putting their building up for a vote and on the redevelopment programme.”
The five storey buildings on the voting list include blocks of flats where the majority of residents, usually over 70 percent, support redevelopment.
An online survey conducted by the Higher School of Economics suggests that most of the redevelopment supporters (64 percent) prefer to vote via the Active Citizen site. Sixty percent of these respondents are aged between 17 and 40.
More than half of those who prefer to vote at My Documents centres are 40 and over.
Redevelopment opponents have confessed they intend to express their disagreement at a general meeting of property owners.
Altogether, these measures will allow the majority of five storey building residents to express their opinion in the most suitable way.
Five storey building residents will be eligible to vote online via Active Citizen or at government services centres My Documents if they are either apartment owners, including shared apartments, or are tenants with social lease contracts.
Parents/guardians of underage children will be able to vote on their behalf.
Active Citizen website
Residents voting via the Active Citizen website will have to fill in their personal details such as their name and patronymic, passport number, individual insurance account in the pension insurance system, DOB, and also the tenant’s ledger account (from the single housing document).
My Documents centres
Residents who find it easier to vote at My Documents centres will have to present their passport, property ownership certificate or an excerpt from the Common State Register of Title to Real Estate.
Tenants with social lease contracts will have to provide their passport and the contract itself.
This way the authorities can identify residents and prevent outsiders from voting.
Residents can vote using their passport only, but in this case their vote will only be counted after additional verification procedures.
General meeting of property owners
The Housing Code of the Russian Federation sets the regulations, including the lineup and procedure, of holding a general meeting of property owners in a residential building. The final decision is laid down in a protocol.
Voting twice, in different ways
As the voting continues, residents can change their minds. In this case, the later vote will be considered the valid one. If the same resident votes via both Active Citizen and My Documents, the latter will be counted as the legitimate one.
The decision of the general meeting of property owners will undoubtedly carry more weight than any other forms of voting.
The results of the vote will be counted in two stages: individual residents’ votes and general meeting votes. “The Moscow Civic Chamber will supervise the vote count to rule out any doubts over the results,” Mr Sobyanin said. “Residents will be able to check whether their opinion had been taken into account on Active Citizen or at government services centres.”
He said buildings in programme will be considered after the federal law is passed, and then the programme will be finalised.
“We’ll use every opportunity to inform people about how and where they can cast their votes, and answer their questions about the programme,” said the Moscow mayor. “We’ll work with our State Duma colleagues on the relevant federal law with due account for all the questions we are asked, between the first and second readings, in order to heed the opinion of the public and the experts.”
If a flat is owned or leased by one person, then it is his/her vote that counts. If there are two or more owners, then each of them can take part in the vote, and the vote of the majority will be taken for the flat. If a flat has an equal amount of positive and negative votes, these votes will be excluded from the total vote count of the residential building.
It is not compulsory for all property owners and lease tenants to tick the boxes, but the outcome will only be based on the opinion of those who took part in the vote.
If none of the flat owners or tenants casts votes, their flat will automatically be considered a favourable vote.
It is standard legal practice in Russia to count non-voters as voting in favour. For example, this procedure is used in accumulative pension funds or thorough repair funds for residential buildings.
A block of flats will be put on the redevelopment list if the number of flats with positive votes, including non-voters, exceeds two thirds of the total number of flats in the building, minus the flats with cancelling votes.
The redevelopment programme includes five storey buildings where:
— residents agreed on a decision at a general meeting of property owners;
— over two thirds of flats, including non-voters’ flats, voted in favour via Active Citizen or My Documents.
The redevelopment programme will not include buildings where one third or more residents opposed the project.