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State duma might go softer on the law regarding mini-hotels in residential buildings. This is particularly important for St. Petersburg

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The law banning mini-hotels in residential buildings might become softer. The bill will be reviewed by the State Duma in the second hearing. Particularly, Deputies suggest implementing a vote by all residents of the building – whether they are pro or contra of having one. Why is this so important for St. Petersburg? Alexander Odintsov visited one of the hallmark hostels of the Northern Capital

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Everyone entering the building is known by face. And one won't be able to just randomly walk into the building in the heart of St. Petersburg, where the world’s best hostel is located. Before opening its doors to travelers, back in 2012, its owners not only equipped the rooms, but also made the lobby look pretty.

  • It wasn't even a renovation, rather a restoration. We replaced the ceilings, together with one of the neighbors we invested 1.2 million rubles

In one year alone, the most famous hostel of the Northern Capital accomodated 70,000 people. And that's considering that its prices - among the economy class hotels - is not the lowest. At high season, it's 1.5 thousand rubles a day. The main rules are not making noise after 10 PM, don't smoke and be a good resident.

Sergey Sorokin, hostel owner: “We installed several CCTV cameras, on all floors, and we have a strict face control. Will always ask questions why the traveler has come here, does he have a booking and under what name. If a person comes in and asks nastily – you have to give me a room and a discount - we would not find a common language with such person’

That's why the well-known outlets like the Guardian and the Huffington post recently put the hostel on the list of the best. Mini-hotels at this building on Nevskiy – and there are two of them here – can only dream of such frame. Travelers often choose those. But residents of the building are not happy to accommodate them. The walls of the lobby look like a travelers suitcase.

People smoke all the time. I can feel it in my apartment, and I have two children. 10 and 12 years old. Sometimes they leave alcohol bottles, beer. There's one hostel here, another one there, and a hundred people a day come here. I walked out and said please stop smoking. They said OK, and then started again

A number of governing bodies have been trying to impose control on temporary residents. The complaints have been heard by the State Duma. In May last year they passed a bill on hostels. It forced a total ban on mini-hotels in residential buildings. But the deputies’ initiative received a lot of backlash – from owners of hostels to bureaucrats. Because there are positive examples where residents have been grateful and even received international acclaim. The bill required amendments. And those are now ready.

Pavel Kachkayev, State Duma deputy: “The decision on whether an apartment in a residential building could be used as a hostel will be made by the residents of the building. And more than 50% must vote yes in order for that to happen. We cannot just ban such type of small business at the stroke of a pen

If those amendments do not pass, the black market of tourism business will have new options. Those which will be harder to control. It's quite obvious, that rooms which can accommodate 5 to 10 people will not stay empty. Taking them off the market could be a costly mistake, according to experts, especially ahead of major events – the Confederations Cup and the World Cup.

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