In Russia and the former Soviet Union there is such thing as propiska/registration - an official address of a person where he is entitled to live. It may be a place owned by that person or the place where he/she is included in a rental contract.

I wonder to you in English-speaking countries have a legal address (for example for the purposes of tax collection) and how is it called?

If you rent a flat from the government (does it happen in your country?) how do you call the right to use this flat?

  • Hi, I'm just going through posts which have "How do you call....?" in their questions or titles. See the discussion in this post: “How do we call (something) in English?” Would you mind editing yours to “... and what is it called?" and "What do you call the right....?” Thank you! – Mari-Lou A Mar 24 '16 at 20:49

The actual residence of a person is referred to as their "home address". Since you refer to taxes, this is what the IRS Form 1040 (the personal income tax form in the United States) asks for. An address where they can be contacted is referred to as their "mailing address". This can be a Post Office Box (P.O. Box) where mail is held for them until they retrieve it.

However, there is no common term for what you are describing—at least in the United States, the government does not restrict where someone is entitled to live (except in the form of required property taxes and the like). For senior government officials, especially diplomats, however, there is the term "official residence", but this generally does not apply outside of government.

If you rent a flat from the government (does it happen in your country?) how do you call the right to use this flat?

At least in the United States, property is owned by legal persons, which can be an individual or a corporation; i.e. people own the houses, apartments (flats), office buildings, etc. themselves and they may rent them out to others. The term "tenant" or "lessee" describes someone having paid the rent; the noun "lease" describes the agreement between the two parties; the term "lessor" describes the person who owns the property and is renting it out.

Although the government does own some of the buildings it operates offices in, it also rents other offices—in this respect, the government is not supreme—it is not the supreme owner of all the land. (Although in a few unusual circumstances, it may rent out some living/building space, but this is by no means the norm, and it would be the same as renting from any other person, so there is no special term). Legally speaking, there is the power of eminent domain, enacted by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, but it requires that people be paid if the government seizes the land, which it only does so in exceptional circumstances (e.g. public safety).

N.B.: Note that while I generally use the verb "rent" in this answer so as not to confuse the verb "lease" and the noun "lease", the verb "lease" means the same thing as "rent".

  • I don't think the OP's "entitled to live" meant that there's a government restriction on where one can live, but rather that the person holds some sort of right (or even title) over the place: in case of dispute, the person can say "Look here, I own this place" or "I've paid the rent" and claim a right/entitlement to live there. – ShreevatsaR Dec 14 '10 at 8:07
  • @ShreevatsaR Regretfully, I'm not an expert on Russian law. However, what I understood from the Wikipedia article is that the government is the one who owns (or at least owned, in the Soviet Union) the land, unlike many other parts of the world, so I think there may be some restriction compared to Western law, which is what I trying to get at. Hopefully the OP can help us clarify this. – waiwai933 Dec 14 '10 at 8:13
  • The restriction was only that you had not right to live in a place which you do not own/rent. That is what the "government imposed restriction". People could by mutual agreement exchange their flats so the first became the lessie of the flat which was previously owned by the second and vise versa. – Anixx Dec 14 '10 at 9:20
  • But what about if several people (say, family members) live in the same flat? Evidently only one of them is the lessie. Then what about others? Does it mean the person who leases the flat can evict their family members from that flat? If not, how is called the right of those people (wife, children, parents) to live with the lessie even without his consent? Or there is no such right? – Anixx Dec 14 '10 at 9:23
  • Or with house owner. Does the house owner the right to evict his relatives? If not, how called their right to live in a house they do now own enen against the will of the owner? – Anixx Dec 14 '10 at 9:28

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