This section provides you practical information regarding how to get around in the Helsinki region, where to look for e.g. internet connection provider or home insurance, or where to go and find furniture. We also present some general good-to-know information of tenancy issues.
- Getting started
- Getting around
- Further useful information
- Maps of the Aalto Campuses in Helsinki Region
Electricity is not usually included in the rent (student housing usually makes an exception) and you need to make an agreement with the electric company. You can get the electricity connected very easily by simply calling an electricity company and providing them with your name and address. Electricity is usually billed every second or third month. Monthly cost of electricity depends naturally of your consumption. Approximate electricity bill for 40m² apartment with regular electricity consumption of two persons is approx 40-60€ every second month.
Several electricity companies operate in Finland. The site http://www.sahkonhinta.fi/ lets you compare prices and the origin of electricity from the many different companies (requires some finnish skills).
Here are three electricity companies mentioned. They provide rather good internet sites in English.
Although water is quite often included in the rent, in some cases you may need to pay a monthly water fee in addition to the rent. Water fees are determined either based on the number of people living in the apartment (fixed monthly payable sum per person) or based on the consumption. Check your rental agreement whether water bills are included or not. Usually water fees range from 10-20€/month per person.
In Finland approximately 95% of apartment buildings of urban areas belongs to district heating system (Kaukolämpö in Finnish). If you live in this kind of apartment building which is very likely, heating expenditure is usually included to the rent. Electric heating is mostly used only in one-family houses /detached houses.
Although in some cases internet access may be included in your rent (e.g. usually in student housing) it is still very common that you need to make your own agreement with one of the Internet service providers to get the connection. Prices and types of connections can vary greatly, depending on the company. Broadband connection with speed of 10/1 Mbit/s is approx 25€/month in the Helsinki region.
Some internet service provider examples (limited sites in English):
It is highly recommended for you to purchase home insurance for yourself. It is also very common to demand that the tenant gets home insurance on the rented apartment in the rental agreement condition. Home insurance is provided by insurance companies. When choosing your home insurance provider, make sure that you are aware of what is covered by the insurance. Basic level home insurance is approximately 90-120€ /year for 40m² apartment.
Some insurance company examples (unfortunately English websites are not that extensive):
- Pohjola (pohjola.fi) (fairly good English sites)
- Tapiola (tapiola.fi)
- If Vahinkovakuutusyhtiö (if.fi)
- Fennia (fennia.fi)
- Lähivakuutus (lahivakuutus.fi)
Although there are a few furniture shops in the Helsinki City Centre and scattered here and there around the metropolitan area, the main trend is that there are a few hubs of furniture shops within the area which are situated little bit further away from Helsinki City Centre.
Here are few:
- Shopping centre Lanterna in district of Roihupelto
- District of Lommila (e.g. IKEA Espoo)
- District of Petikko (large area with plenty of furniture shops)
- District of Porttipuisto (e.g. IKEA Vantaa, shopping centre Porttipuisto)
Free IKEA bus transportations from Helsinki city centre (from Kiasma Museum of contemporary art), Eastern Helsinki (from Itäkeskus) and Espoo Leppävaara (Sello) to IKEA Espoo and IKEA Vantaa. Check the timetable here (ikea.fi)
There are also several other options to get furniture besides buying everything from the furniture shops.
- Reuse centres (kierratyskeskus.fi) in Helsinki Metropolitan area (e.g. furniture, cookware and cutlery). The shops also have a department in which things are given free of charge.
- Otaniemi recycling centre Operated by the Aalto University Student Union
- Aalto Sharetribe (aalto.sharetribe.com)
- Flea markets, e.g. Fida charity flea markets (fida.info) (several shops in Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa providing almost everything; furniture, cookware, clothes…) click on the right side of the page for a city´s name to see the shop locations).
The Public transportation network covers the entire Helsinki Metropolitan Area (cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa) and it works very well. There are several types of public transportation tickets and the price varies very much depending on the ticket type and where you buy it from.
The public transportation tickets are more expensive if you travel between the municipalities/cities in the metropolitan area (region ticket) than within one municipality/city (inner ticket). Some examples: a single region ticket bought from the bus driver costs 5,5€ (allows you to travel between the cities i.e. from Helsinki to Otaniemi in Espoo) and a single internal ticket bought from the driver costs 3,2€ (allows you to travel within one city).
Usually the best and cheapest option, if you stay in Finland for a longer period of time, is to buy a loadable public transportation travel card (“matkakortti” in finnish). You are able to load a period of time or a particular sum (€) to your card.
Degree students and incoming exchange students, under 30 years of age, get 50 % discount of all the ticket prices within the area with the travel card.
See more info about public transportation and the prices and travel card at HSL website (hsl.fi)
Connections, travel times and routes within the Helsinki Region
You can check the transport connections, travel times and routes from your apartment to downtown or to the campuses at Helsinki Region Transport Journey Planner (reittiopas.fi)
Journey planner for cycling and walking is found in here (pk.hsl.fi)
Helsinki City Centre (Kamppi) to Otaniemi campus
Buses no 102, 103 (also 102T and 103T via Lauttasaari) 194 and 195.
The buses heading from Helsinki to Espoo (Otaniemi direction) are mainly leaving from the Kamppi bus terminal which is centrally situated, approx. 400 metres from Helsinki Central railway station.
The bus terminal is inside the Kamppi shopping centre (E-level).
Buses 102-103 are departing usually from platforms 41 and 42. Travel time varies from 15 minutes onwards depending on the time of day.
Buses 194 and 195 departs from the street level, from platform 69 (Street address Fredrinkinkatu 65)
Other buses stopping at the Otaniemi Campus are e.g. 550, 506 (regional lines coming from Helsinki), bus no. 510 (regional bus coming from the city of Vantaa), and inner Espoo buses such as bus lines 15, 2, 4.
With the regional bus no 506 you can travel from Otaniemi straight to the Arabia Campus. Travel time is from 35 minutes onwards depending the time of the day.
Helsinki City Centre to Töölö Campus
School of Economics is situated only a few minute walk from the district of Kamppi. It is easy to access with trams 7A and 7B as well as tram 2. The tram stop for tram 8 is not that far either.
Helsinki City Centre to Arabia Campus
You can access Arabia Campus from Helsinki City Centre by taking buses 71 and 68 or by tram 6.
Buses 71 and 68 leave from the bus platforms outside the Helsinki Central railway station (“Rautatientori” in Finnish). Note that there are bus platforms on both sides of the railway station: in Elielinaukio and Rautatientori.
Tram no. 6 has a stop just in front of the Helsinki Central railway station.
Tram no. 8 departs from the district of Ruoholahti and it is a good option for travelling to Arabia Campus if you live in the districts of Töölö, Kallio or Vallila.
With just one regional bus line no. 506, you can travel from Arabia campus to Otaniemi. Travel time is from 35 minutes onwards depending the time of the day.
Travelling in Finland
You can access and travel to other parts of Finland with long distance buses, train or by plane.
Information about the bus connections within and around Finland:
- Matkahuolto (matkahuolto.fi)
Information about the rail connections and tickets within and around Finland:
- VR (vr.fi)
The biggest domestic as well as international airport in Finland is the Helsinki airport.
- Connections, timetables etc. is found in Helsinki-Vantaa website (helsinki-vantaa.fi)
Aalto University has three main campuses (Otaniemi, Arabia and Töölö) which are located in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
- Campus maps (aalto.fi).
Small vocabulary of the Finnish real estate terms
Usually the short form of information about an apartment in advertisements is written like this (example) in Finnish:
36 m2, 1h, k, kph, parveke, 700,00 €/ kk
Apartment is 36 m2, and it has:
1h = one room
k = kitchen
kph = bathroom
parveke = balcony
rent is 700€/month
“36 m2 Studio apartment with kitchen, bathroom and balcony”.
A more extensive and printable list of the Finnish real estate terms is found in the website of Expat-Finland (expat-finland.com)
Tenancy issues - Good to know
- NOTE: When renting an apartment on the private market you should not pay rent or deposit payments in advance if you have not seen the apartment first.
- It is recommended that you always make a written rental contract with the landlord.
- Make sure that the amount of the rent, the final day for the rent payment as well as the rent increase conditions are mentioned in the rental agreement. It is good to know that usually the amount of rent is checked annually.
- The rent is usually paid monthly through bank transfer. Cheques or cash payments of rent (or any other bills) are uncommon in Finland.
- If you pay the rent OR the deposit with cash you are advised to ask for a receipt or other documentation of the payment - and you have legal rights to get one.
- If not already mentioned and agreed in the rental contract, always ask permission from the landlord if you wish to; do renovations, e.g. paint a wall in the rental apartment, have a pet or sublet a room.
- When moving in it is recommended that you inform the landlord of all possible damages caused by the previous tenants.
- Keep the apartment in good condition - the tenant is always responsible for the damage made, whether by intent or caused by neglect and carelessness.
- Normal “marks of living” as a result of a longer tenancy time, are acceptable in a rental apartment.
- The landlord has to make sure that the rental apartment is in good condition and e.g. the stove, fridge and heating is working properly.
- The landlord does not have the right to come to the apartment without a good reason and without notifying you first. The landlord has the right to come inspect the condition of the apartment and possible needs for renovation. The landlord also has the right to come to the apartment when showing it to possible new tenants, when your rental period is close to ending.
- You are entitled to a temporary decrease of rent if your apartment is under major renovations (e.g. plumbing work) that hinders your normal way of living.
- You as a tenant are able to terminate your rental agreement by giving one month’s notice (exception: fixed term contracts where the contract is valid until when it has been agreed within the rental agreement). The term of notice is counted from the end of that month when you give the notice. (Example: You give notice to terminate the rental agreement on 14th of May. The rental agreement is thus valid until June 30th, when it is terminated officially, regarding one month’s notice. This means that you need to pay the rent for June).
- If the landlord terminates the rental agreement, they have to give 6 month’s notice in the case of a tenancy for at least one year. If the tenancy has lasted less than one year, the notice time is 3 months from the landlord.
- When you move out, you need to clean the apartment thoroughly- remember this includes the fridge and oven.
Cultural Tips on Housing in Finland
It is good to know some general issues regarding housing in Finland.
Here you can find small brochure from where you can obtain some tips for living especially in an apartment building in Finland.
Formalities, guidelines and other useful