Living in Finland


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Housing allowance

The housing allowance (asumistuki) granted by Kela (the Social Insurance Institution of Finland), is meant for housing-related costs. Kela’s housing allowance covers the housing costs only partly.

You are eligible to receive housing allowance if you have low income and you live in Finland permanently. Living in Finland permanently means that you have an actual home in Finland and that you mainly live in Finland. In order to receive housing allowance, you must be covered by Finnish social security.

More information is available on InfoFinland webpage Finnish social security.

Kela’s housing-related benefits include:

  • general housing allowance
  • housing allowance for pensioners
  • housing assistance for conscripts and civil service men

If your income is not enough for you to live on even though you receive a housing allowance, you can apply to Kela for income support. Read more about income support on InfoFinland webpage Financial problems.

Financial aid for housingFinnish | Swedish | English

Kela’s general housing allowance

The allowance is available either for an individual person or a household (ruokakunta). People permanently living in the same dwelling belong to the same household. Normally, a household refers to a married couple, an unmarried couple living together or a family. A single person may also constitute a household. Housing allowance is granted to a household jointly, based on a single application.

Take into consideration that if you live in the same dwelling, for example with your friend, and you have a joint tenancy agreement, you will be considered as belonging to the same household. Instead, if one of you is the main tenant and the other one is a subtenant, and you are not immediate family, you will be considered as belonging to different households.

General housing allowance is available to

  • families with children
  • students
  • married couples and those in registered partnership
  • unmarried couples living together
  • those living alone or
  • those living in a community

What kinds of housing costs are accepted?

Housing allowance can be granted for a permanent dwelling in Finland. The law stipulates which housing costs can be accepted when calculating housing allowance. The dwelling can be

  • a rental dwelling
  • an owner-occupied dwelling
  • a right-of-occupancy dwelling
  • a part-ownership dwelling

Benefit is granted for the rent, charge for use and the dwelling upkeep costs. Such upkeep costs contain, for example, heating costs and water rates. Also a part of mortgage interest is considered when calculating the housing allowance.

Housing allowance is granted for reasonable housing costs. In big towns, higher housing costs are accepted than in smaller ones.

Kela will not pay for all housing costs

You need to pay part of your housing costs yourself. A so-called basic deductible (perusomavastuu) is determined for this purpose. The amount of the basic deductible depends on

  • the number of adults and children belonging to the household
  • the combined gross income in the household (income before taxes)

With very low incomes, no basic deductible needs to be paid.

When the amount of your housing allowance is calculated, EUR 300 of your earned income per month is excluded from the calculation. This amount does not affect the amount of your housing allowance. This amount is called the earned-income deduction (ansiotulovähennys). The earned-income deduction is made separately for each member of the household.

Housing allowance is only granted for reasonable housing costs. When assessing reasonable housing costs, the following is taken into consideration:

  • the municipality in which the dwelling is located
  • the number of adults and children belonging to the household

If your home is more expensive than the limit specified in the Housing Allowance Act, you will have to pay a greater share of your housing costs.

The final housing allowance is calculated as follows: The basic deductible is first deducted from your housing costs. The housing allowance is 80 per cent of the remainder.

Notify Kela of changes

If there are changes to your income, living arrangement, family situation or other circumstances, notify Kela about these changes without delay. Kela’s decision provides detailed information on which changes to notify.

General housing allowanceFinnish | Swedish | English

What is a householdFinnish | Swedish | English

Applying for housing allowance

You can apply for general housing allowance with the Kela form Application for Housing Allowance (AT1). You can also apply for general housing allowance online.

You also need to enclose

  • a copy of your tenancy agreement and a document showing the amount of your rent (for rental dwellings)
  • documentation on maintenance charges and mortgage (for owner-occupied dwellings)
  • paycheck, i.e., a payslip from your employer
  • if you live in a community, authorisation (proxy) from other residents for applying for housing allowance on everyone's behalf.

Send the application to Kela’s office or fill in the application online. Kela serves its customers in local offices, by telephone, by mail and through online services. When running your personal errands in Kela’s office, you need to present a proof of identity, for example your passport.

Applying for housing allowanceFinnish | Swedish | English