Families caring for disabled child entitled to be housed together in Russia
Priority social housing should be offered to whole families caring for a disabled child, according to a resolution passed by the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation.
By law, social housing is offered to a disabled minor along with at least one adult. However, if a court concludes that it is better for the child to live with both parents, or with other relatives, it may be possible for a larger flat to be provided for the whole family. Constitutional Court judges point out that the rights of remaining family members to adequate living conditions must be taken into account.
The issue was reviewed by the Constitutional Court following an appeal made by the Sharikov family from Ufa. The family has three daughters, one of whom is a disabled child entitled to priority in the allocation of improved housing. The Sharikov family live in a single apartment with other relatives, and applied for priority housing in 2013.
The Ufa Regional Court deemed their request reasonable and took the decision to offer the family a flat no smaller than 84 square meters in size. However, the High Court of the Republic investigated the case and subsequently revoked the decision. The disabled child and her mother were offered an apartment half the size of the one originally proposed. Since this resolution breached constitutional human rights and article 54 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation, which stipulates that a child has the right to live with both parents, the family lodged a complaint to the Constitutional Court.
The official website of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation says that ‘the basis for a review of the case was the uncertainty surrounding the question whether the legal situation challenged by the claimants was in line with the Constitution of the Russian Federation.’
As a result, on 22 January 2018, the Constitutional Court resolved to satisfy the claim made by the family and to allocate the Sharikovs an apartment of no less than 84 square meters. This will allow the family to live and care for their disabled daughter together.
‘The rules of the Housing Code on the provision of accommodation according to the social housing contract for those whose homes require improvement, cannot serve as a basis for refusal to offer housing to a minor suffering from a specified illness. Account should be taken of the necessity for parents and other members of his family to live there as well if, in a given case, living together is likely to have a decisive effect on the child’s state of health, his development and social integration,’ the Constitutional Court resolution states.