Financial Assistance for Housing in Finland
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- Council Housing / State-subsidised Rental Housing
- Kela Housing Allowances & Supplements
- Related Links
Primary sources of information for this page: Kela and ARA
State-subsidised rental dwellings, known to many foreigners as "council housing", are known in Finland as "ARAVA dwellings". These are dwellings built with a government housing loan, and rent is determined on the cost coverage principle; that is, they're comparatively cheap! Most Arava dwellings are owned by local government. Non-profit housing companies also play a role as investors.
More information: The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland www.ara.fi Finnish, English, Swedish
Criteria for Tenant Selection
Tenants for ARAVA rental dwellings are selected on the basis of social appropriateness and financial need. Criteria for selection are specified annually by the Government, and include urgency of the applicant's housing need, and level of income and assets. Priority is given to homeless applicants and others in dire need of housing.
Information and Applications
Tenant selection procedures are supervised by local government, and applications for council housing are made to the local municipality. Go to the main web site for the municipality in which you live. This is usually www.municipalityname.fi (ex. www.turku.fi - Helsinki is shortened to www.hel.fi). Choose "In English" (if unavailable, simply phone the main contact number for further information). Look for the Housing section / department /service, which will include the required contact details.
In Helsinki go to
www.hel.fi > Housing and environment > Housing
Site in Finnish, English, Swedish, German, French, Russian
Details for City of Helsinki Housing can be found on the page.
or phone Rental Housing matters:
Phone: 09 310 13030 (M-F 9:00-13:00)
In Espoo go to
www.espoonasunnot.fi > English > Applicants
Site in Finnish, English, Swedish
or phone Customer Service & Housing Applications:
Ph: 09 816 58050 (M-W 09:00-12:00, F 08:00-12:00)
In Vantaa go to
VAV Asunnot Oy www.vav.fi > in English
Site in Finnish, English
or phone Customer Service:
Ph: 010 235 1450 (M-Thu 9.00–12.00 & 13.00–15.00, F: 9.00–12.00)
In Turku go to
www.turku.fi > in English > Health and Social Services > Social Services > Housing Services
Site in Finnish, English, Swedish but with many pages out of date or not found
or call City of Turku for information. Ph: 02 330 000
The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Kela, provides various housing benefits for residents of Finland. You can normally be paid only one type of housing benefit at a time; be sure to check which benefit is right for you and your family. If you are ineligible for one type of housing allowance, you may still be eligible for another. Types of benefit include:
General Housing Allowance
General Housing Allowance is intended for low-income households. It is available for both rental and owner-occupied homes which are used year-round. The allowance can be provided for the entire home or a part of it (for example, if another part is rented out). Housing allowance is not available for holiday homes.
Housing Allowance for Pensioners
Low-income pensioners are eligible to receive Housing Allowance for Pensioners towards the costs of living. The allowance is available for the primary residence but not for a holiday home. The allowance can be paid for the entire home or just the part used by the recipient and his/her family.
Housing Supplement for Students
Students can be paid a housing supplement for the months in which they attend school and live in rented, right-of-occupancy or partial-ownership accommodation. This benefit is not available for owner-occupied homes. If several students share accommodation, each should apply for the housing supplement according to their share of the rent.
Housing Assistance for Conscripts
If you are performing conscript service in Finland you may be eligible for Housing Assistance for Conscripts. This covers "actual and reasonable housing costs" including rent, maintenance charge, heating and water charges, interest and annual payments on housing loans, electricity and gas charges, and the maintenance costs for single-family homes. The benefit can also be paid to family members.
Information from Kela on eligibility, how to claim, amounts, taxation, and more is available at the
Kela web site > In English > Housing Benefits
- Tax Advantages: Tax deductions, exemptions and credits related to housing in Finland
- Guide To Benefits - 2014 and Guide To Benefits - Supplement 2015: Kela PDFs
- Home and Family: Kela PDF includes information on Housing Allowances
- Suomi.fi > In English > E-Services: Multilingual e-services and downloadable forms from Finnish government agencies and local authorities
- Infopankki.fi: Information for immigrants, in 12 languages