Housing Law

Housing Law


the part of civil law that regulates the procedure for the allocation of housing and establishes the conditions for the use and management of housing and for changes in or the termination of its use.

In the USSR the provisions of housing law differ, depending on the state bureau that administers the housing space and on the form of ownership. There are several categories of housing: buildings belonging to the local Soviets; buildings belonging to state, cooperative (except housing construction cooperatives), or public organizations; buildings belonging to the housing construction cooperatives; buildings that are the personal property of citizens; and occupational housing. The right to living space in buildings belonging to local Soviets is based on the decision of the executive committee of the local soviet, with the participation of representatives of the public; in buildings belonging to state, cooperative, and public organizations, living space is allocated by a joint decision of the administration of the organization and the factory, plant, or shop trade union committee, approved by the executive committee of the respective soviet. In some instances—for example, if the construction of the living space was financed by funds for sociocultural and recreational activities or for housing construction—the apartments in the buildings belonging to state, cooperative, or public organizations are allocated by joint decision of the organization’s administration and the factory, plant, or shop trade union committee, with a subsequent report to the executive committee. In buildings belonging to the housing construction cooperatives the members of the cooperative are allocated living space on the basis of a decision at a general meeting. Occupational housing is allocated to workers in connection with the nature of their work either for residence at their places of work or in the building in which they work; occupational housing is also allocated to certain categories of workers—for example, janitors.

In buildings belonging to local Soviets the housing maintenance office is required to conclude a contract for lease of the premises specified in the housing warrant with the citizen in whose name the housing warrant has been issued. The term of the contract is established by the legislation of the respective Union republic (in the RSFSR, for example, a period of five years). The buildings belonging to citizens by right of personal ownership are managed by the owners.

Soviet housing law consolidated the equality of the rights and obligations of the lessee of housing and of the members of his family who live with him (spouse, children, and parents). Other relatives, as well as dependents who are unable to work, may be recognized as members of the lessee’s family if they live with him and belong to his house-hold. If they cease to be members of the lessee’s family but continue to live in the leased premises, they reserve their right to the living space.

Housing law establishes housing and public health standards, the right to additional space, the legal status of surplus living space, and the conditions and procedure for the exchange of housing. The rights and responsibilities of sublessees and temporary tenants are subject to special regulations, as well as the instances involving the right of temporarily absent persons to retain their living space and the reservation of living space. The procedure for evicting lessees judicially and administratively, with or without the allocation of living space, is also specified. As a rule, eviction is carried out through judicial proceedings and only if another suitable dwelling is allocated.

The provisions of housing law are contained in the Fundamental Principles of the Civil Legislation of the USSR and the Union republics (1961), in the civil codes of the Union republics, and in the decrees of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the Union republics, as well as in other legal acts. Interpretations of questions concerning the application of housing law in judicial practice are provided by the plenum of the Supreme Court of the USSR.


Zhilishchnye zakony: sbornik. Moscow, 1957.
Nauchno-prakticheskii kommentarii k osnovam grazhdanskogo zakonodatel’stva Soiuza SSR i soiuznykh respublik. Moscow, 1962. Pages 233–55.


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