For a non-Finnish speaker, any kind of real
estate transaction can be a daunting and time-consuming task.
This section aims to help you address the difficulties involved
in renting, buying or selling property in Finland; it is not aimed
at helping you find short-term / holiday accommodation.
If you're looking for a place to live, you'll find that
availability of residential property is low, particularly
in the Helsinki region. The newspapers, while helpful, are
full of terms meaningless to a "new Finn", and
the numerous online search engines are also generally only
available in Finnish. You can therefore hit the streets and
visit real estate agents,
where you WILL find multi-lingual staff who can assist you,
or you can try to find your way through the property search engines.
If you're a seller,
this section will help you understand your
rights and obligations, and the procedures involved.
Remember: When you move, Finnish law requires that
you register your new address. See Address Notification
General Information on Finnish Housing
Houses and apartments in Finland are generally of
high quality, well heated in winter, and have all
modern conveniences. Home ownership rates are high; approximately two-thirds of Finland’s housing stock consists of owner-occupied homes.
Apartments and houses, particularly in the Helsinki area, may be considered small by
Ownership & Shares in Housing Companies
In Finland, when you "buy an apartment" what
you are usually actually buying are shares in a housing
company (asunto-osakeyhtiö) - more
commonly known in English as a housing cooperative. The amount of shares per apartment is proportional to the size of the apartment.
A housing company is a legal
entity that owns one or more residential buildings.
Owning shares in a housing company, corresponding
to "one apartment", is basically considered as much "owning
your own home" in Finland as actually owning a
single family house. The housing company is owned
and managed by the residents. The obligation to ensure
proper maintenance of buildings and apartments is shared
between the housing company and its shareholders.
Finnish housing companies are generally
incorporated as non-profit, limited-liability companies.
Because they own and perform maintenance
of the doors, walls, pipes, windows and balconies,
for example, they also make regulations about what
residents can, or cannot do to the doors,
walls, pipes, windows and balconies - housing company
regulations are therefore wide-ranging, and occasionally
considered frustrating. If you renovate your bathroom
for example, inspection(s) will be carried out by a
housing company nominee to ensure that plumbing, electrical
and insulation work meets the housing company's as
well as EU standards.
Apartment owners are shareholders who can, and indeed
should, participate in the housing company
meetings which determine building, renovation and
financial plans. Housing companies usually have outstanding
loans which they have obtained for the purposes of
performing building maintenance. These loans may affect
your decision when buying an apartment.
No board approval is needed to buy shares (i.e.
an apartment), which is usually done on the open property
market through a real estate agent.
Setting Up Your New Home
- Electricity can usually be connected
by simply calling an electricity company and providing
them with your name and address. Helsingin
Energia's site provides comprehensive information in English,
Swedish and Finnish.
- If you need a landline,
inform the telephone company of your new address
and a landline connection will be established
you have a television, or any device capable of
receiving TV signals, you will need a TV licence
- Many apartments are already "wired" for
broadband, and access may be
included in your rent. Check the situation before
you make other arrangements with an Internet
- It is a common requirement of lessors that tenants
insurance on rented accommodation. Contents
insurance is reasonably priced and can be obtained
from many insurance
- By Finnish law each
residence must have a functioning fire
insurance does not cover damage from a fire
if the fire alarm was out of order prior to and
during the fire, so keep the batteries fresh!
- Water is usually included in tenancy agreements,
and sometimes in maintenance agreements. Check
your agreement to see whether bills
are included, or whether they are payable separately
- Most apartment buildings do not allow
residents the summer luxury of cooking on the
balcony or terrace. Some, however, allow electric
barbecues - check the building regulations
Conditions Of Residence
Become familiar with the housing company regulations for your building; these
will include such things as permissible hours for power tools, whether you
can have a barbecue on your balcony etcetera.
- Sauna: The landlord or building
management can book you a regular time to use the
sauna in the building. You can also join the communal
sauna! Usually a ladies' sauna and a men's sauna
once a week
- Laundry rooms: To use the laundry
room in the building you must book a time; the
reservation books are usually in the laundry itself,
just sign yourself up
- Parking: You can usually sign
an agreement with the landlord to have a parking
spot, usually with power, allocated to you. It
will usually entail an additional charge.
- Hazardous waste: Poisonous material, electrical
waste and scrap electronics cannot be deposited
in the waste containers of the property. For the
location of the nearest hazardous waste collection
site please visit ongelmajate.fi. *Enter your Location (Kunta) or Postcode (Postinumero)
and click HAE for your closest hazardous material
- Satellite dish: You will need
to find out whether the housing company regulations
permit installation of a satellite dish.
See also: Infopankki (Information
Bank) - more
|Real Estate Terminology:
||Finnish real estate terms & abbreviations
in English; online list and printable PDF
|Finding Housing Online:
||Finnish housing online, Search engines, Guide to using Finnish housing search engines
||Finnish real estate agents, Property valuation, Marketing and showings, Conveyancing, Costs and commissions
||Selling apartments and houses,
Seller's rights and responsibilities, Documentation
required, Provision of information,
Notification of defects
|Renting In Finland:
||Rental property in Finland, Tenancy agreements, Leases, Rights and responsibilities of tenants and lessors, Sub-tenancy
||Types of housing purchases,
Transfer tax, Terminology of Apartment Purchases
||Bank loans, Criteria for obtaining loans, Government guarantee for mortgages
||Council housing (state-subsidised housing), KELA housing allowances and supplements
||First-time homebuyers' exemption from transfer tax, Tax deduction for renovations & repairs, Tax credit for housing loan interest, Capital gains exemption
||Student apartments, Multicultural student housing, Student Unions' Housing Service, Lyyra student accommodation search, Applications
||Finnish organizations which can
arrange temporary residence or services for the
homeless, or people in crisis or violent situations