Selling an apartment without leaving home — digital signature not to save from a visit to Rosreestr

Russia has banned real estate transactions with the help of digital signature to protect against fraudsters: pros, cons and exceptions

The bill protecting citizens from real estate fraud with the help of electronic digital signature has recently come into force in Russia. Transactions with the use of digital signature without the written consent of its owner have been banned. What is more, the seller of property must pre-notify the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr) in advance with this consent. How the new bill will affect the market, whether it is able to solve the problem of fraud and how often attackers forge the digital signature for real estate scams — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

What is going to change in electronic transactions?

Russia has changed the order of use of the electronic digital signature in the execution of real estate transactions. Now, if a citizen is planning an operation with the digital signature, he or she must submit a corresponding application to Rosreestr — in paper form and with a personal signature. By the way, the owner can submit an application authorizing to conduct transactions with the digital signature both in respect of one and all objects belonging to him. The relevant record will be registered in the Unified State Register of Real Estate (EGRN) no later than five working days.

That is, if there is no record in the EGRN of the possibility of registering the transfer of ownership of real estate on the basis of the owner's application in electronic form, it will be impossible to conduct the transaction remotely.

What are exceptions?

Let us note that the new bill has several exceptions: for example, it does not apply to digital mortgages. Also, a written application is not required when the digital signature is issued by the certifying centre of the Federal Cadastral Chamber and if the transaction is conducted with the participation of notaries or authorities that interact with Rosreestrin electronic form.

Why has the procedure been complicated?

According to Deputy Head of the Department of Rosreestr in the Republic of Tatarstan Ada Zaydullina, in Russia there were cases when criminals sold somebody’s apartments using the electronic digital signature of the owner. This has become the reason for the new bill.

“The legislator reacted quickly and rigidly. Such cases were isolated, nevertheless, such draft law has been created. According to it, in order to be able to conduct transactions only using the electronic digital signature, you must initially give your consent to transactions with real estate. First, a person applies to us with a statement that he or she agrees to make a transaction in electronic form, and only after receipt of this document, the transactions in electronic form are conducted. Personal attendance will be needed. The specialist, who is responsible, takes the ID card and the statement,” Ada Zaydullina comments on the reason for the new bill.


“In my opinion, this will completely block the possibility of fraud with fake electronic digital signatures. These amendments were caused by the increasing number of real estate frauds with fake digital signatures. It turns out that now the seller cannot avoid going to Rosreestr, there is no need to use the digital signature,” Anastasia Gizatova, the director of Schasliviy Dom real estate agency, believes.

Speaking of fraud, I would like to add that many experts tend to blame the verification centres found all over the country for such scams: fake documents are often issued through a small private verification centre. The state has also drawn attention to this area and has already prepared a bill regulating the activities of verification centres and toughening requirements for them. However, Rosreestr noted that such cases of fraud have not yet been registered in Tatarstan.

Will the digital signature have a sense?

Another expert, Director General of Flat real estate agency Ruslan Khabibrakhmanov, also cannot remember anything like that.

“I do not know any cases of fraud with the digital signature and real estate. All this is very strictly controlled by law enforcement agencies. I heard a story of a Moscow citizen, but it is not clear where it came from, because by and large, those who do such operations automatically become responsible — it immediately becomes clear who did it,” the expert believes. “As for the bill, earlier people simply ordered the digital signature and made transactions, but now, it turns out that to conduct a transaction the person has to go, issue the statement and only then conduct the transaction. The meaning is lost. It is easier to just go to a registration chamber.”

Managing partner Kazan Legal Centre Dzhaudat Latypov shared his experience in the conducting of transactions using the digital signature with Realnoe Vremya.

“I am often involved in transactions related to the acquisition of real estate in different cities, and it is very convenient for me to use the electronic digital signature. It often happens that the owner is in Moscow, the object is in Tyumen, and we are in Kazan. For us, the electronic form is convenient. But then I began to think about how I myself can protect the assets from the fact that someone somewhere will make the digital signature using a copy of my passport. If I put a ban on all the objects, it will be inconvenient to be engaged in further sale and so on for myself,” the lawyer argues.

The interlocutor of the edition advises: “If you're worried, you can go and write a statement saying that “only with personal submission, physical presence”.

By Lina Sarimova