Renting an apartment in Finland

Most foreigners live in a rental apartment either from private individuals, rental homes provided by the cities and municipalities, rental companies and associations. However, the activity of rental companies is guided by the Act on the Transfer of Real Estate and Rental Apartments.

What is a dwelling or a living space

According to the Ministry of Environment and other housing laws in Finland, the definition of an apartment is a whole house, a detached house or part of a building. The living space is an apartment which consists of a kitchen or kitchenette. It can be a single room or a multiple room apartment for a year round living with its own immediate entrance. The apartment must have facilities for rest, leisure, dining and cooking, hygiene, and the necessary maintenance and storage of housing. The purpose of the premises is also defined by law, which means that the landlord cannot rent a premise as a living space if it was meant to be a business space. In addition, the landlord cannot rent a cottage as a continuous living space.

The living space (asuintila) must at least be 7m2 and the room does not include a space lower than 1.6 meters. The height of the living space must be at least 2.5 meters and the minimum height of the house is 2.4 meters. The window of the living space must be 1/10 of the room space. There might be rooms in an apartment such as attics or work rooms that are smaller in height and width but they are not considered as living spaces.

The rented apartment

Normally, the rented apartment has a refrigerator with a small freezer or a separate refrigerator and a freezer. There will also be a stove with an oven.

There will be light in the kitchen and bathroom but there are no roof lights. Usually, the color of the walls are white and the walls should not be painted or otherwise renovated without the permission of the landlord. The floors are usually parquet, laminate or vinyl made materials for easy up-keeping.

There should be lights in the kitchen and bathroom, but the tenants are responsible in changing the bulbs of the apartment.

Rent agreement

It is recommended to make a written or electronically agreement so no changes can be done afterwards without written consent of both parties. The duration of the contract must also be agreed upon.

Roles, rights and responsibilities


The tenant is the person renting the apartment. He or she is responsible in securing the rent deposit, paying the rent on time, maintaining the apartment in a good condition, and following the rules of the apartment building.

It is the responsibility of the tenant to inform the landlord immediately if any damage or change occurs. The tenant is liable for any compensation if anything happens to the apartment, which is why it's critical to have home insurance. Finally, the tenant is responsible for cleaning and leaving the apartment in a good condition at the end of the lease.


The primary tenant can sublease half of the apartment as long as the primary tenant lives in the apartment. The sublease agreement must not exceed the amount of the whole rent. The sublease agreement can be made between them if the sublease does not cause significant damage or disruption to the original landlord. The primary tenant is responsible for the rent of the apartment and if the primary tenant leaves then the sublease tenant will also loose the apartment.

The landlord

The landlord is the person who owns and rents the apartment to the tenant and they can acquire an agency to find them a tenant.

The broker or agency

The agency firm executes their customers services when they have a clear mandate agreement with the landlord. The broker does not have the right to charge the fee solely on the basis of the person's willingness to rent the dwelling nor they can act as a party to the tenancy agreement unless they are authorized to do so. The agency is therefore only responsible, in principle, for mediation within the scope of his mandate, but not for errors occurring during the lease.


If you're a landlord and would like to know more about rental information in Finland, read this.

Mae N.