Living in Finland

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Housing problems

Looking for a dwelling

I cannot find an affordable rental dwelling.

There are not many rental dwellings available in the largest cities. Dwellings are more expensive near the city centre. Therefore, many Finns live in quite small dwellings. Many also live far from the city centre or in some other adjacent municipality so they have a longer commute to work. If you cannot find an affordable dwelling in the area you like, consider the possibility of living in a smaller dwelling or further away from the city centre. Many smaller cities have plenty of available dwellings and the prices are more affordable.

If you are planning to move from a small town to a large city, look for a dwelling in advance.

Read more on the Infopankki page Rental dwelling.

I submitted an application for a municipal rental dwelling, but I have not received one even though much time has elapsed.

The number of municipal dwellings does not allow their allocation to all applicants. It is recommended to apply for a dwelling from many different places. Also keep an eye on the supply of private rental dwellings. Remember to update your application while it is still valid, otherwise the application will expire. Read more on the Infopankki page Rental dwelling.

I suspect that I have been discriminated against when I have looked for a dwelling. From where can I get help?

According to the law, lessors are not allowed to discriminate against anybody, for example due to ethnic origin, religion or nationality, when selecting tenants. A private lessor, however, is entitled to select the tenant of the dwelling without any need to justify the selection. If you suspect that you have been discriminated against, you can ask for advice, for example, from the customer service of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman.

linkkiNon-Discrimination Ombudsman:
Customer service of the Non-Discrimination OmbudsmanFinnish | Swedish | English

Renting a dwelling

Do I have to pay a commission to the agent when I rent a dwelling?

The commission is usually paid by the lessor. You yourself have to pay the commission only in the case where you have concluded in advance a written commission agreement with the agent. If you have not concluded a written commission agreement, the agent is not entitled to demand commission from you. If he/she tries to do so, you can file a notice of a crime. Read more on the Infopankki page Crimes.

The agent demands a payment for seeing the dwelling. Do I have to pay?

You are entitled to see the dwelling in advance and the agent cannot demand payment for it. If you have problems regarding the commission, you can contact the Consumer Advisory Service.

linkkiFinnish Competition and Consumer Authority:
Consumer consultingFinnish | Swedish | English

The agent demands that I pay a reservation fee on the rental dwelling. Do I have to pay?

There is no such thing as a dwelling reservation fee in Finland. Do not pay anything until you have a written tenancy agreement on the dwelling. Read more about the rental dwelling fees, such as the rental security deposit, on the Infopankki page Tenancy agreement.

The lessor requires that I take home insurance. Where can I take out home insurance? Can I cancel it later?

Home insurance is sold by many insurance companies in Finland. Read more on the Infopankki page Everyday life in Finland.

It is recommended to take out home insurance, even if it is not required in the tenancy agreement. You are not recommended to cancel the home insurance while you live in the dwelling. If, for example, you cause water damage and you do not have a home insurance, you have to pay all the repair costs yourself. The total amount can be tens of thousands of euros.

What should I take into account before signing a tenancy agreement?

Take a good look at the dwelling before renting it. Check that the dwelling actually exists, i.e. the address of the dwelling matches the one indicated on the agreement. Also ensure that the dwelling is in the condition described to you. Check from the tenancy agreement, for example, the terms and conditions of the tenancy and the period of notice. You are also recommended to go over the dwelling and its possible defects with the owner or his/her representative. Read more on the Infopankki page Tenancy agreement.

When does the rental security deposit have to be paid?

Do not pay the rental security deposit, until you have a written tenancy agreement. The lessor can assign a bank account for paying the rental security deposit. You can also open a separate account for the rental security deposit at a bank. Read more on the Infopankki page Tenancy agreement.

The lessor suggested that we could conclude an oral tenancy agreement. Is an oral agreement sufficient?

Always conclude the tenancy agreement in writing. This way you can prove what you have agreed in case of problems. Keep the tenancy agreement in a safe place.

There are a few defects in the rental dwelling. Can the lessor demand afterwards that I should compensate for the defects that I have not caused?

You are recommended to write down the defects of the dwelling together with the lessor at the beginning of the tenancy. You can also take photos of the defects. This way you can ensure that you will not be held responsible for the defects you did not cause.

Giving notice

I gave notice on my rental dwelling, but the lessor demands that I pay rent until he/she can find a new tenant. Do I have to pay?

If you have a non-fixed-term tenancy agreement, the period of notice is usually one calendar month. The period begins from the end of the month you gave notice in. Once the period of notice has expired, the lessor cannot demand rent from you. You cannot give notice when a fixed-term tenancy agreement is valid. If necessary, you can try to negotiate an earlier termination of the tenancy agreement. Read more on the Infopankki page Tenancy agreement.

I have a non-fixed-term tenancy agreement. I gave notice on 2 June. The lessor demands that I also pay rent in July. Do I have to pay?

If your tenancy agreement does not state otherwise, the period of notice is calculated according to the law from the end of the calendar month you give notice in. If you give notice on 2 June, the period of notice will begin on 30 June and last for one month. Therefore, you must pay rent for July. Read more on the Infopankki page Tenancy agreement.

Loss of dwelling

I do not have money to pay rent. What can I do?

Contact your lessor as soon as possible and try to negotiate more time. Determine whether you can postpone other payments in order to be able to pay your rent. Also, contact your bank and find out whether your bank can grant you a loan so that you are able to pay your rent. Find out from KELA whether you are entitled to receive housing allowance or some other allowance. You can also ask for advice and help from the municipal debt counselling, social welfare office or a housing counsellor of the municipality, tenement building company or associations or, for example, from the Guarantee Foundation. Read more on the Infopankki page Financial problems.

I have to move out of my dwelling due to divorce. I am also afraid that I will lose my residence permit. What can I do?

You can find information on the Infopankki page Rental dwelling on how to look for a new dwelling.

A divorce may impact your residence permit, if you have a fixed-term residence permit due to family ties. In some situations, however, the permit may be extended, if you still have fixed ties to Finland, such as a job. Read more on the Infopankki page Can I lose my residence permit.

The lessor threatened to evict me from my rental dwelling due to noise issues.

If you keep violating the housing rules and regulations, the lessor is entitled to cancel the tenancy agreement. Try to reconcile the matter with the lessor before the cancellation. You may also contact, for example, the Community Mediation Centre.

I had to move out of my dwelling and I have not found a new one. What can I do?

In Finland, the municipalities offer services to the homeless. Many organisations and parishes also help the homeless. These services are targeted at those who have a municipality of residence in Finland. If you find yourself without a dwelling, contact the social welfare office or centre of your municipality of residence. Read more on the Infopankki page Homelessness.

Conflicts with neighbours

My neighbour keeps making noise. What can I do?

You neighbours cannot make noise, for example, during the night. If your neighbour violates the housing rules and regulations often and in a gross manner, you can contact the building manager or lessor.

My neighbour keeps complaining to me about noise. What kind of noise is allowed?

The housing rules and regulations state the time period when there must be silence in the building. In a block of flats, you can usually find the housing rules and regulations in the staircase. During the silent hours, it is forbidden to make loud noises, for example play an instrument or listen to loud music, but normal living is allowed.

From where can I get help in disputes with my neighbour?

If you and your neighbour have a dispute that you are unable to resolve by yourselves, you can seek for help from the Community Mediation Centre or the building manager. Community mediation means that the neighbours discuss with each other and the discussion is led by an external mediator. The parties may come to an agreement on how to resolve the situation during the meeting. The mediation process is free of charge. Read more at the Community Mediation Centre website.

linkkiCommunity Mediation Centre:
Information on community mediationFinnish | English

Everyday housing matters

What do I do if I forget my key at home?

Usually, in a building management company the building maintenance company or building manager keeps copies of the keys and opens the door for a fee. There is a telephone number near the front door of blocks of flats that you can call in such a situation.

How do I sort my waste correctly?

In Finland, biowaste, cardboard, glass, metal, hazardous waste and mixed waste are sorted separately. Read more on the Infopankki page Waste management and recycling.

What should be taken into account when I use the sauna in my dwelling?

Never hang or place anything above the sauna stove and do not use the sauna as a storage space or for drying laundry due to the risk of fire. Always switch off an electric sauna stove after use. Read more on the Infopankki page Safety at home.

What do I do if a water tap leaks?

Call the building maintenance company that has an agreement with your building management company. The building maintenance company can perform minor repairs, such as water tap repairs or unclogging a drain.

Problems with damp

There are problems with damp or other defects in my dwelling. What do I do?

Contact the building maintenance company, building manager or lessor immediately. It is important to repair such defects quickly before they escalate.

When we cook, a lot of condensation collects in the kitchen. What can we do?

If your home does not have mechanical ventilation, open windows for ventilation purposes. This is especially important, if you notice that water vapour or condensation forms on the windows when you cook. Use the exhaust hood when cooking. Check that the exhaust vents are open. If you cause damage to the dwelling, you must pay for it. Read more on the Infopankki page Rights and obligations of occupants.

Counselling services

From where can I get help and advice on housing matters?

There are many places you can ask for advice on housing matters. Read more on the Infopankki page Rental dwelling.