Can I remodel my apartment? Can I sublet it to someone else? What can I do if my neighbour is noisy? This page presents the essential rights and obligations of occupants in Finland.
You are obligated to
- observe the housing rules and regulations of your building management company, if you live in a block of flats or terraced house. The housing rules and regulations usually include, for example, at what time you must be silent. They often also include instructions for the use of the shared spaces. In a block of flats, you can usually find the housing rules and regulations in the staircase in the vicinity of the front door.
- ensure that also your guests observe the housing rules and regulations.
- use the dwelling only for its intended purpose. If the dwelling is intended for housing, you cannot live elsewhere and use the dwelling for business.
You have the right to
- normal life in your home. The building management company cannot set such housing rules and regulations that are in conflict with the law or restrict normal living excessively.
- domestic peace. Your neighbours cannot disturb your domestic peace, for example, by making loud noise during the night. If your neighbour violates the housing rules and regulations often and in a gross manner, talk with your neighbour first. If this does not help, you can contact the building manager or lessor. Domestic peace also means that you are primarily entitled to decide who may enter your home.
Rights and obligations of tenants
You are obligated to
- pay rent in time. The rent amount is stated in the tenancy agreement. The lessor is entitled to increase the rent according to what has been agreed in the tenancy agreement.
- ensure that the rental dwelling remains in good condition.
- observe the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement. If the tenancy agreement forbids, for example, smoking inside the dwelling, you cannot smoke in your home. If the tenancy agreement requires you to have home insurance, you must take it out. It is recommended to take out home insurance, even if it is not required in the tenancy agreement.
- ask permission from the lessor, if you want to make changes in the dwelling, for example paint a wall. You cannot make any changes without permission, even if you pay for it yourself. Ask the permission in writing.
- compensate the lessor for any damage caused to the dwelling.
- report to the lessor any such defects in the dwellings that are the responsibility of the lessor. The lessor is responsible, for example, for all fixtures and surface materials of the dwelling.
- report all possible defects to the building maintenance company, such as a leaking water tap.
You have the right to
- live in the rental dwelling according to the tenancy agreement. The lessor can enter the dwelling in a few exceptional cases only, for example, to oversee repair work or to show the dwelling to potential buyers. The lessor must, however, agree on the matter with you in advance.
- a written advance notification, if the rent will be increased. The notification must state how much and when the rent will be increased as well as the grounds for the increase. However, if the terms and time of the rent increase are recorded in the tenancy agreement, the lessor may increase the rent on the basis of the agreement without notice.
- a period of notice accordant with the law.
- cancel the tenancy agreement immediately, if living in the dwelling is dangerous to heath.
- rent out a part of the dwelling to another person, if it causes no harm to the lessor.
- receive an advance notification of all repairs. Small repairs must be notified 14 days in advance and all major repairs 6 months in advance. However, urgent repairs can be performed without notification. If it is difficult or impossible to live in the dwelling during the repairs, you are entitled to cancel the tenancy agreement or to receive a reduction in rent. You must, however, always agree on such matters with the lessor.
Read more on the InfoFinland page Tenancy agreement.
Rights and obligations in an owner-occupied dwelling
In the building management company, you are obligated to
- pay maintenance charges to the building management company and possibly also loan payments on the building management company loan. The maintenance charges are used for taking care of the building management company, for example for maintaining the buildings and yard areas.
- ensure that your dwelling stays in good condition.
- notify the building manager or board of the building management company in writing in advance, if you are planning to perform such a change in the dwelling that may impact the load-bearing structures, water pipes, waterproofing, electric wiring or ventilation system of the building. A bathroom renovation, for example, always requires advance notification.
- perform renovations in a manner that causes no damage to the building. There are strict regulations in Finland, for example, on what kind of waterproofing is required in bathrooms.
- report to the building management company or building manager, in practice usually first to the building maintenance company, if there is such a defect in your dwelling that must be repaired by the building management company.
In the building management company, you have the right to
- manage the dwelling the shares of which you own. You can make changes inside your dwelling. Take into consideration that the renovation must not cause harm to the building management company or the other shareholders.
- rent out your dwelling or a part thereof to another person.
- attend shareholders’ meetings and through them influence the matters of the building management company. You can vote at the meetings and demand that an issue be dealt with at the meeting. The building management company ensures that the structures, insulations, heating system, electrical wiring, water pipes and drains as well as yard areas of the building stay in good condition. Such repairs are decided at the shareholders’ meetings. In some building management companies, it has been decided to divide the responsibility in some other manner. In such cases, the company’s articles include the division of responsibilities.