Housing for exchange students
The housing situation in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa) is challenging and there is a lot of competition on the rental housing market. The level of rent is high and there is a lack of small rental apartments and student housing within this area. Therefore, it is good to start finding suitable accommodation many months before your arrival in Finland.
Aalto University does not itself own any student dormitories nor has housing services to offer. Aalto University has an agreement with HOAS for providing a number of furnished rooms for incoming exchange students. However, Aalto University cannot guarantee housing for all the exchange students since the HOAS quota is limited. Exchange students can apply housing also for unfurnished apartments owned by Aalto´s Student Union, AYY. In addition, it is good to prepare yourself to find accommodation from the private rental market as well.
When looking for an apartment, read carefully all the information and instructions given by the housing provider!
This information is directed to incoming exchange students at Otaniemi campus. Incoming exchange students at Mikkeli Campus can find information on Mikkeli specific page.
Key points when applying for housing
- Be active! Start looking apartments months in advance.
- Apply simultaneously through various channels! (HOAS, AYY and private market rentals)
- It is good to reserve minimum 400€ - 700€ for accommodation per month. If you are able to pay a higher rent, you may find it easier to find an apartment. Studio apartments in Helsinki are particularly expensive, especially those located in the city centre.
- Often rental agreements for exchange students are made on a semester basis (ie.g. from September 1st to December 31st). In this case the agreement cannot be terminated prematurely. The tenant is responsible to pay the rent for the entire fixed term.
- If/when you are offered an accommodation by HOAS or AYY, accept the offer as soon as possible, even if the location or the quality of housing does not match all your requirements! Remember also to cancel all your other housing applications as there are other students needing housing in the queue.
- Your possibilities to find an apartment are improved if you are willing to live outside the campus area. It is easy and fast to travel around Helsinki metropolian area by public transportation. Check the transport connections from your apartment to the city centres or campus areas with Journey Planner
- Be cautious of potential frauds! Although the majority of the private landlords are completely reliable, it’s good to keep in mind that there might be frauds in the private rental market. Never send money, credit card details or passport information to anyone in advance! If the apartment seems too good to be true (e.g. cheapness), it is usually a scam. Do not pay the deposit payments nor any rent in advance if you have not seen the place, met the landlord and/or signed the rental agreement.
- Consider the start date of your rental agreement in relation to the start date of your studies and prepare to reserve other accommodation (e.g. hotel/hostel) for the first days, if needed.
- In general rentals are in rather good condition in Finland, of course there might be some exceptions as everywhere. Most of the rentals are unfurnished. If you apply and get a room from either student housing organizations (HOAS or AYY), electricity, water and internet are usually included to the rent. Note that this is not the case when renting from private market.
- All apartments are heated, and the indoor temperature should be between 18 and 22 C° throughout the year. Heating is usually included in the rent.
- Remember that the tenant is always responsible for any damage whether on purpose, by accident, or done by guests. Therefore keep the apartment in good condition.
Exchange Student Housing - main options
HOAS and AYY are the main student housing providers in Helsinki Metropolitan area. Read carefully more information and remember to apply early (do not wait for the admission decision from Aalto University)!
HOAS is an independent, non-profit organisation which provides safe and reliable housing for students. Aalto University has reserved a limited number of furnished rooms for Aalto's new incoming exchange students. Apartments are located near Otaniemi campus or in the cities of Helsinki and Espoo, all within good public transportation connections and other services nearby. The monthly rent (approximately 400€/month) includes basic furniture, electricity and water and other additional free services like fast broadband services, laundry, sauna etc. The deposit payment is 500 euros per person. Please note that a signed tenancy agreement is binding for both parties, and the fixed-term agreement (September-December or January-May) cannot be terminated or edited afterwards.
Application period for spring term 2024
HOAS’ application period for the spring term 2024 starts already 29th of September 2023 (12:00 at noon). It is highly recommended to apply for HOAS apartment even before you have been accepted as an exchange student at Aalto University. Please note that you need to apply for the apartment by 15th of November 2023 at the latest!
Most of the HOAS housing offers will be send out by the end of November, so if you have not received a housing offer via e-mail by early December, be sure to apply for other accommodation options as well. Please remember to check your e-mail on a regular basis - also junk mail / spam mailbox!
- Hoas website for applicants
- Living in Hoas - new HOAS Info (ppt) - please see the attachment below
Contact email: [email protected]
AYY offers affordable and safe housing to students and exchange students studying in the Aalto University, who are members of AYY. You can live in AYY housing only if you are a member of the student union and have paid the membership fee. The Student Union owns shared apartments, studios and family apartments in Otaniemi campus area & Leppävaara in Espoo and around Helsinki. The rent level starts from 300 euros. All the AYY apartments are unfurnished! Please also note, electricity is excluded in some of AYY's apartments. Internet connection is available in every apartments. The deposit payment is 250 euros per each tenant.
If you want to apply for an apartment for the spring term 2024, please make it in the housing application system Domo. On Domo, you can browse different apartments and make an application for the preferred apartments.
As an exchange student, you can apply for an apartment as soon as you have applied for exchange studies at Aalto University. However, please note, that you need to be member of AYY to be able to accept a possible housing offer. Be aware that AYY offers the apartment for spring term already during autumn. Remember to put the desired moving date to the application in Domo. Moving day means the earliest possible day you would want your leasing agreement to start.
All housing offers are sent via email to the email address supplied by the applicant into the Domo system so please remember to check your email regularly. AYY cannot guarantee housing for all the students and cannot estimate who will get a housing offer and who will not.
- More information about AYY Housing and applying for apartments at AYY website.
Please note that all AYY apartments are unfurnished. This means that there are no furniture in the apartment. No bed, no table, no lights. All AYY apartments have a kitchen with a stove and a fridge, though.
You can get furniture cheaply or even for free from recycling centers. There’s one in Otaniemi and it is organized by volunteers. More information: Otaniemi Reuse and Rescue recycling center or Otaniemi buy/sell -groups in Telegram messaging service.
You can also rent furniture from for example a company called Furent. Furent is a company that specialises in services related to furnished apartments. Their main service is furniture rental and they can provide anything from a fully furnished house to single handpicked items. For more information and prices, please contact [email protected]
There are also two Ikea stores near Helsinki in Espoo and Vantaa, for contact information and instructions on how to get there, see Ikea's website. They also have a delivery service.
Rent your homeware
Just arrived? Choose the easy & sustainable way - Reuse and Rescue
Short-term accommodation / Private market
You can also search for accommodation on the private market. However, it might be difficult to find affordable furnished accommodation for a short period of time. Please note that Aalto University cannot offer any assistance in finding accommodation from the private market.
Aalto Sharetribe: A portal where users can offer each other items, favours, rides and housing - and also request all these from other users. Aalto email address is needed in some cases to reply to the announcements.
Forenom Apartments and Hostels: A private accommodation provider Forenom offers both long and short term housing in furnished apartments throughout Finland, for example in Helsinki and in Espoo. Forenom has a variety of furnished flats and private single rooms in a hostel style. Forenom has reopened the Hostel Espoo Otaniemi located nearby Otaniemi Campus Area! Good option e.g. to apply with a friend. Inquiries and reservations: please see Forenom info for Aalto students (Aalto info.pdf) below