Single Mother and Her Daughter to Become Homeless Because of Presidential Decree?

2007 2007-08-07T20:21:05+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Everyday Natallia Kastsianevich and her 12-year-old daughter Ania wake up with the thought that they soon can become homeless as the state takes away their two-room apartment in Pryshynskikh Street in Minsk.

‘Before this we lived in a privatized one-room apartment. There were three of us: my mother, my daughter and I,’ said N.Kastsianevich. ‘My mother was in a line for improvement of the dwelling conditions, both as a wheelchair disabled and a victim of repressions. Everything went on quite slowly, but we hoped for a miracle. Now I think that it would have been better if it had not happened.’ 

In 2004 the Kastsianevichs were offered a social apartment with two rooms. Instead they were asked to return to the state their old apartment. The family agreed. 

‘My mother was old and was often ill. At that time I asked the inspector whether we would not become homeless after her death in the case we returned the old apartment to the state. We were assured that it would not happen, as we were registered at the new apartment and had no other place to live in. In April the mother died. In May I came to the local housing economy office to conclude a new agreement for the apartment rent (before this it was concluded with my mother). However, they said I could conclude it only for three years, though in the previous agreement it was specified that it was our regular home. I could not understand anything,’ Natallia added. 

The matter is that in 2005 (a year after the family moved to the new flat) presidential decree #565 On certain measures for regulation of housing relations was issued. There it was specified that the rent agreements are void after the renter’s death and his/her relatives could continue living in the apartment for three years, after which they must be evicted by court without provision of any other apartment. 

‘Having lost our old premises we lose this as well’, commented Natallia. ‘If somebody had explained to us that we could become homeless after my mother’s death, I would have certainly refused from this social apartment. Now they propose me to register in a queue for construction of a new apartment. For which money could I build a flat? I work as a janitor in Minsk tube, wash the trains. I can not build a new flat for the 500 000 rubles (about 230 US dollars) I get there.’