Photo: Maxim Grigoriev / TASS

The meaning of the word “apartment” is defined by the explanatory dictionary as follows: “a large front living room.” But in recent years, objects have appeared on the real estate market that in no way fall under this concept, but, nevertheless, are called apartments. Let’s try to figure out what it is, what are the pros and cons of owning such real estate.

Who first came up with the idea of ​​calling ordinary residential buildings in Russia apartments, history is silent, but the crisis of 2008 gave rise to this phenomenon. Office buildings built in the capital over a few “fat” years suddenly became useless, but there was a steady demand for housing. Then some developers decided to convert office centers into residential buildings. At first, huge business-class apartments entered the market, and their owners were not at all disturbed by the legal status of “non-residential premises”. But soon such a business model gained popularity among developers, and whole blocks of apartments appeared with apartments for every taste and budget. The fact is that it is much easier to build buildings with a similar status – there is no need to comply with strict standards for residential premises. Therefore, apartments often appear where an ordinary house would not be allowed to be built: in the depths of historical districts, next to green areas, in areas where infill development is prohibited. And, as a rule, this is the main attraction when buying them.

Apartments are often purchased by those who already have housing in the capital. Such buyers, as a rule, do not need a residence permit, they do not need to arrange a child for school or kindergarten. Some use apartments to invest money – such housing, especially if the house is located in the center or near the metro, is profitable to rent. Such apartments are a good choice for working parents with older children: leaving their old property to their son or daughter, dad and mom move into apartments. Young people are also among the buyers – many young people who are not burdened with a family and work intensively like to live in a designer house in the center of the capital, where they got an apartment relatively cheaply. But who better not look in the direction of apartments is families with children, people who have benefits and rely on subsidies, low-income pensioners.

If you need unique housing at an affordable price, there is a chance to find it among similar offers. But be careful, in a beautiful house in the center there may be a low-power electrical substation or problems with water supply. And given that the developer chooses the management company, you need to inquire in advance about the prices for additional services such as security and house maintenance. Another nuance: the amount of taxation. For non-residential premises, it can be up to 2% of the cadastral value. But if we take into account the difference in the price of such apartments, then the benefit from the purchase will still be maintained for several decades. In addition, the Moscow government has recently eased the burden on apartment owners by creating a special list of housing estates where apartments are taxed at a reduced rate of 0.5 percent.

Photo: Legion-media

Before signing the papers, it is worth checking the quality of the housing itself. Norms for non-residential premises are much more liberal to sound insulation and insolation. The first problem can be solved on your own during the repair process, but if all the windows of your new home are shaded by a neighboring building, nothing can be done about it. By the way, it is this standard that may make it impossible to transfer apartments to housing stock in the future. Yes, such a procedure, which eliminates many problems for buyers of such housing, exists. The owner, or a lawyer they trust, will need to put together an impressive package of documents, as well as prove that the apartment complies with residential building codes. The service is not cheap – from 400 thousand rubles, and the result is not always guaranteed. But there are quite a few precedents, in some residential complexes there are already hundreds of such apartments.

Buying a home is a serious matter. If the advantages of apartments outweigh the disadvantages for you, weigh the pros and cons again, chat with the owners of such apartments on the Internet and only then make a decision.


  • The cost of housing and communal services is higher by 10-15% compared to ordinary houses
  • You can’t change the management company, get a tax deduction and take advantage of benefits when buying an apartment
  • Property tax is higher than residential property
  • Can’t get permanent residency
  • The house may have unwanted neighbors – a retail outlet, a restaurant or a club
  • There may be difficulties when placing children in a kindergarten, school, attaching to a polyclinic
  • The apartments are subject to confiscation in the event of a court decision


  • Favorable location
  • Impressive modern architectural solutions
  • The price is 15-20% lower than ordinary apartments
  • Free layout
  • Investment attractiveness
  • It is possible to convert to the status of a residential building


By Yara

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