30 Years of Housing Privatization in Russia: Have We Managed to Bring Up Responsible Owners?
Keywords:sociology of housing, housing and utilities, housing literacy, apartment building, owner of premises, general meeting, common property
The privatization of housing in Russia started almost 30 years ago and led to the emergence of a new social class — the owners of common property in apartment buildings who, through participation in general meetings, manage this property and make decisions about its use. The paper presents the findings revealed within a sociological survey concerning the outcomes of one of the main directions of the "Strategy for the Development of Housing and Communal Services in the Russian Federation for the Period until 2020", which is the formation of active and responsible owners of premises in apartment buildings. The survey was conducted online, and its sample consisted of 675 residents of Novosibirsk, recruited with the local river sampling technique. Basing on its results, the author concludes that the reform of housing and communal services in Russia has not yet been fully implemented. More than a third of owners never take part in general meetings because they do not see any reason in this process and/or do not allocate time for it. More than half of the apartment buildings have not elected a house council. The level of housing literacy is quite low among owners: they do not fully understand their rights and obligations, and do not realise common property as a subject of law. The correlation analysis shows that factors such as age, education, knowledge of housing legislation, acquaintance with neighbors and participation in public events, as well as the desire to have an apartment in a particular building and the presence of an elected building council affect the degree of owners’ activity in managing an apartment building through participation in general meetings. The study allows composing the profile of a responsible owner and the image of an apartment building where such owners live. In conclusion, the author formulates the recommendations for the housing policy and housing legislation of the Russian Federation aimed at increasing housing literacy.
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