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Housing practicalities

After obtaining a flat you need to sort out a few practicalities, e.g. electricity agreement, internet connection and home insurance.
This section provides a short introduction on what is good to know.

Electricity

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.

Water

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 is included or not. Usually water fees range from 10-20€/month per person.

Heating

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. Other types of heating (e.g. oil, bio, solar and electric) is mostly used in one-family houses /detached houses.

Internet connection

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 50-100 Mbit/s is approx. 20-30 euro/month in the Helsinki region.

Some internet service provider examples (limited sites in English):

Home insurance

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):

Furniture

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.

In Helsinki:

  • Shopping centre Lanterna in district of Roihupelto

In Espoo:

  • District of Lommila (e.g. IKEA Espoo)

In Vantaa:

  • District of Petikko (large area with plenty of furniture shops)
  • District of Porttipuisto (e.g. IKEA Vantaa, shopping centre Porttipuisto)

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.
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