Home > Housing in Finland > Housing, Conditions & Utilities

Finnish Housing, Conditions & Utilities

Remember: When you move, Finnish law requires you to register your new address. See Address & Postal Services

General Information on Finnish Housing

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 western standards. Rental apartments are difficult to come by in Helsinki and increasingly expensive, with rent levels being as much as 30-40% higher than in other parts of the country.

Heating, and District Heating

Houses and apartments in Finland are generally high quality. They are well insulated with double glazing as a minimum, triple glazing as standard and quadruple or even quintuple glazing becoming more common. Homes are well heated in winter and there is no need for stand-alone heaters. Over 90% of Finnish apartment blocks, more than half of all terraced houses, and the bulk of public buildings and business premises are connected to a district heating network. If you are renting a dwelling with district heating, it is part of the rental agreement and not an additional cost.
District heating supplies heat from a central source directly to buildings through a network of pipes carrying hot water. This means the buildings do not need to generate their own heat on site.

Cold Radiators?
Radiators are not operational all year; they come on during the cold season. If your hot-water radiators don't seem to be working properly in September-October, the building probably isn't yet in 'full heating mode'. That's normal, and the radiators should get hotter shortly. If the temperature in your apartment falls below 20°C there's a problem. If you hear bubbles, there's air in the system. Don't bleed it yourself unless you know what you're doing. Call your building manager (isännöitsijä) and they'll sort it out pronto!
Tip: At the beginning of the cold season, turn the heater valves all the way on and off a few times. It may clear any blockage which occurred over the warm season.

Apartment Ownership: Housing Companies & Shares

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.

Utilities and Setting Up Your New Home

Furniture Rental

You've found your apartment - now you have to fill it! If you don't want to buy an entire household full of furnishings, you can rent furniture and appliances from a furniture rental service and take care of everything at once, quickly and easily.

Furent: Tell Furent what you need and they will arrange it for you, from a single item through to full furnishing, anywhere in Finland. You can select from Furent's supply of available furnishings and appliances, or specify your own choices and Furent will arrange them for you. Furniture is delivered assembled and ready to use, and picked up when the rental period ends. Furniture rentals are available to private and corporate customers, short or long-term, with services fully tailored to needs and budget.

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.

Related Links