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Renting an Apartment or House in Finland

This is a guide only, and does not constitute legal advice

This page deals mainly with the legalities and regulations regarding renting in Finland. If you're looking for an apartment, see the Finding Housing or Estate Agents pages.

This page refers to rental houses and rental apartments in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Hämeenlinna, Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Kajaani, Kotka, Kuopio, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Mikkeli, Oulu, Pori, Rauma, Riihimäki, Rovaniemi, Savonlinna, Seinäjoki, Tampere, Turku, Vaasa

General Information

Rental Properties in Finland

When choosing a rental apartment, be sure to understand what is included in the rental agreement. In Finland the situation is rather different to Australia, for example.

In a Finnish rented property, do not expect to find:

  • lights (except bathroom and kitchen fixtures)
  • carpets / carpeting
  • curtains

Do expect to find:

  • a refrigerator / freezer
  • a communal sauna, for which you can book a private time

Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities

The tenant's responsibilities are to pay rent on time, to maintain the apartment in normal condition, and to adhere to the rules of the building. If damage occurs to the apartment the tenant must notify the lessor immediately, and is liable for compensation to the owner of the apartment. Any alterations or repairs performed by the tenant must first be approved by the lessor. Finally, the tenant is responsible for cleaning the apartment at the end of the lease.

Sub-tenancy / Secondary Leasing

Sub-tenancy is allowed; tenants may lease a rental apartment to one or more tenants of their own. Secondary leasing is subject to the primary lessor's express consent.

Lease / Tenancy Agreement

Do not pay any money before a legal agreement is made by signing a written lease agreement.
For detailed residential lease law see The Finnish Act on Residential Leases 1995 PDF(English translation, unofficial)
A lease/tenancy agreement should contain at least:

  • the condition of the apartment - inspect the apartment before signing to verify, take photos if possible
  • the term of tenancy - fixed or non-fixed
  • the amount of rent to be paid
  • date and mode of rent payment - rents are paid on the 2nd of the month unless otherwise agreed
  • other charges - water fees are often included in Finnish agreements, for example, and sometimes even electricity!
  • rent adjustment provisions - known as adjustment clauses
  • security deposit details, if applicable

Termination of Lease
Fixed term lease agreements are binding for both parties for the set period and may only be terminated under special circumstances - see below.
Non-fixed term lease agreements may be terminated by either the tenant or the lessor by giving notice. Notice must be given in writing.

  • The lessor must give six months' notice if the lease has lasted uninterruptedly for at least one year immediately prior to giving notice. With leases that have lasted less than one year the notice period is three months
  • The tenant must give one month's notice

Immediate Termination for either fixed or non-fixed term leases can occur if:

  • the tenancy poses a threat to the tenant's health; the tenant may terminate the agreement with immediate effect
  • the tenant's payments are in arrears, the apartment has been used for a purpose other than that stipulated in the agreement, the tenant is shown to cause a disturbance to neighbours, etc; the lessor may immediately terminate the agreement

Security Deposit

Lessors usually require a security deposit from the tenant to ensure payment of unpaid rent, or compensation for damage caused by the tenant. A security deposit may not exceed three months' rent. Usually the deposit is one or, more commonly, two months' rent. At the end of the lease relationship, if rent has been paid on time and there has been no damage caused to the apartment, the security deposit is returned in full.

Most disputes occur if the lessor withholds the security deposit, or part of it, because he considers the tenant to have damaged the apartment or otherwise left it in inappropriate condition.
To avoid such disputes:

  • Note any defects in the apartment in writing, together with the lessor, at the beginning of the lease relationship. The same should be done at the end of the lease relationship
  • Take photographs of surfaces around the apartment when the lease agreement is signed, and date them

The tenant is not liable for normal wear and tear from living.

Rent Increases

Rent is shown in the lease agreement between the tenant and lessor. The amount of rent may be changed during the agreement period based on the adjustment clauses included in the lease. These may include for example increases based on indexing, percentage-based increases or increases in euro amounts.

  • Prior to increasing the rent, the lessor must notify the tenant in writing of the new rental amount and the date from which it is effective
  • Fixed-term leases with a term of less than three years may not include an adjustment provision based on indexing
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