In Finland, many people live in rental housing. The upside of renting is that switching flats is easy, as you do not have to sell your old home and buy a new one. On the other hand, your landlord may decide to terminate your lease if he or she has an acceptable reason for doing so. In such an eventuality, you will be forced to move out of your flat even if you would not wish to.
There is important information on the Infopankki page Tenancy agreement about giving notice, paying rent, the deposit and other costs in a rental dwelling.
It is often difficult to find a suitable flat for rent in the largest cities, where the rents are also higher.
Reserve enough time for finding a flat. Some areas are extremely popular and any vacant flats are rented very quickly. When you have found a suitable place, you should quickly decide whether to rent it or not.
According to Finnish law, a landlord choosing a tenant must not discriminate against anyone on the basis of factors such as ethnic origin, religion or nationality. Read more on the Infopankki page Discrimination and racism.
How can I get a rental flat?
You can look for advertisements online. Use ”vuokra-asunto” as the search term. Flats are also often advertised in local newspapers.
Search for rental dwellingsFinnish | English
Search for rental dwellingsFinnish
Private rental housing
You can usually find a privately rented flat quicker than a municipal one, but the rent will generally be higher.
You do not need to use an agent to look for a flat. You can look for information on vacant flats yourself. In that case you do not need to pay a commission (välityspalkkio).
You can look for private rental flats online and in local newspapers. You can also publish your own wanted ad.
If you wish to rent a private flat, contact the landlord to agree on a date to inspect the flat. Showings are usually arranged for all interested parties simultaneously. At the showing, you will be given an application form. Complete the form if you are interested in renting the flat.
If you wish to have an agent look for a suitable rental flat, you must make an assignment agreement (toimeksiantosopimus) in writing with the agent. In this case you will have to pay a commission to the agent. Agree on the commission in writing in advance. The commission could be, for example, a month’s rent. Compare the commissions of various agencies in advance.
If you rent a private flat, sign a lease with the landlord. More information is available on the Infopankki page Rental agreements.
Prices of privately-financed rental housingEnglish
Municipal rental housing
Many municipalities own rental flats, and these are often more affordable than privately rented ones.
You can apply for state-subsidised rental housing if you have one of the following:
a registered right of residence;
a residence permit card;
a residence permit which is valid for at least 12 months; or
a student’s residence permit.
If you would like to apply for a municipal rental flat, complete the application form at your municipality's housing agency. Many municipalities also offer online forms on their websites.
In some municipalities, rental flats are so sought-after that you will be forced to wait a very long time for a home. For example, in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa), housing queues are long. Meanwhile, many smaller municipalities in various parts of Finland have vacant apartments.
The following factors are taken into account when choosing tenants:
Many non-profit organisations offer affordable rental housing in Finland.
Prices of state-subsidised rental housingEnglish
Students can apply for student housing, which is normally cheaper than other alternatives. Read more on the Infopankki page Student housing.
The housing application and its appendices
When you file a housing application, you may be required to enclose other documents with it, depending on the party offering the flat. The following appendices may be required:
your latest payslip
a copy of your taxation decision, indicating your assets
a copy of your residence permit or passport if you are not a citizen of the EU
Applicants are also frequently subjected to a credit check.
linkkiFinnish Competition and Consumer Authority:
Renting housingFinnish | Swedish | English
Information for a tenantFinnish | Swedish | English
linkkiMinistry of the Environment:
Information on rental accommodationFinnish | Swedish | English
linkkiThe Consumers' Union of Finland:
Rental guide(pdf, 1,11 MB)Finnish | Swedish | Russian | French | Somali | Arabic
Furnishings in rental dwellings
The equipment of a rental dwelling almost always includes kitchen cupboards, a refrigerator and a stove.
Furthermore, wardrobes and hall cabinets usually belong to the equipment of a dwelling. A shower, faucets and a toilet are always part of the furnishings.
In Finland, the equipment of a rental dwelling does not normally include furnishings. However, some dwellings are also rented with furnishings. The equipment included in a furnished dwelling varies. Always check with the landlord what exactly the equipment includes.
In Finland, domestic waster has to be sorted into different waste bins. Read more on the Infopankki page Waste management and recycling.
Do you need advice on renting a flat?
The Consumers' Union of Finland offers advice and guidance for both tenants and landlords.
Consumers' Union of Finland counselling service:
tel. 010 8022 40
Tue–Fri, 10 am to noon and Tue, 5 to 7 pm
The service is available everywhere in Finland for a local call charge.
The Consumers' Union also has an online form for submitting your questions, which will be answered by email.
Housing advice for immigrants is also provided by the Martha Organization and the Finnish Refugee Council.
Advice on matters concerning accommodationFinnish
Refugee Council's regional officesFinnish
linkkiThe Martha Organization:
Contact information for the Martha OrganizationFinnish | English