Frequently asked questions
On this page we have answers to some of the most common questions regarding residential leases that the tenants have. If this page doesn't sufficiently answer your questions, you are advised to contact our counseling:
tel. 0600 9 1515, (1,92 €/min.), for our members (09) 4770 360
Mon 9.00 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Tue - Fri 9.30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
When should I pay the rent?
Check your lease agreement. Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the rent shall be paid no later than on the second day of the month.
If the date of rent payment is Saturday, Sunday or a holiday, the rent shall be paid no later than on the next work day after the usual date of payment.
How is the amount of my rent determined?
The amount of rent is determined on the basis of what is agreed, unless the law states otherwise.
The tenant and the lessor may agree upon the terms of adjusting the rent when making the lease agreement. The most common ways of adjusting the rent are a fixed-percentage increase, an index increase and an incremental adjustment based on the management expenses. A commonly used method is attaching the rent to the cost-of-living index.
The most common way to adjust the rent is index increase. In this case the rent follows a certain index which mimics the changes in the economic situation and cost of living. The most commonly used indexes are the cost of living index and the consumer price index. The rent is adjusted once a year according to changes in the chosen index.
State-subsidized Arava apartments base their rent adjustment on the ARAVA act 7 § and Interest support act § 13. That is, the maximum cost of the rent in such a flat is the cost of the financing and managing of the apartment (absorption principle).
How do I calculate the adjustment of the rent?
The adjustment is calculated by comparing the original and current values of the index and using the ratio of the two to multiply the original rent. The current value is divided by the original value from the lease contract in the following manner:
E.g. 1663(current value) / 1621 (original value, found in the contract) = 1.026 (ratio)
The ratio is then used to multiply the original rent
E.g. 1.026(ratio) x 500 Euros (original rent) = 513 Euros (new rent)
Is the lessor allowed to increase the rent more than the adjustment term in our agreement allows?
A rent increase which isn't based on the lease agreement is considered altering the agreement and thus it requires approval from the tenant. If the tenant and the lessor can't agree on the rent increase, the lessor may be allowed to give notice.
When is the tenant entitled to a rent reduction and how much is it?
The tenant is entitled to a reasonable amount of rent reduction for any period during which the apartment isn't in the condition required or agreed on. For instance, if the bathroom isn't in use for a certain period, the tenant is entitled to a rent reduction for that period of time.
The lessor and the tenant should agree on the amount of rent reduction. The amount of rent reduction is always case-specific, as the law doesn't state any standard amounts for cases of rent reduction.
The tenant is entitled to be exempted from paying the rent for any period during which the apartment can't be used at all.
See section 23 of Act on Residential Leases for further information.
What if the parties can't agree on the amount of rent reduction?
If the lessor and the tenant can't agree on the amount of rent reduction, it's possible to make a complaint to The Consumer Disputes Board or take the case to a district court (see Settling Disputes).
What is the maximum value of the security?
The amount of the security can’t exceed the value of three months’ rent. For instance, if the monthly rent is 620 €, the maximum security is 1860 €. Naturally, the security can also be less.
When should the lessor return my security?
Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the security should be returned to the tenant within about two weeks after the lease agreement has terminated. If the lessor is going to withhold (part of) the security, the tenant should ask the lessor to give a written account on the use of the security.
What is the difference between a fixed term agreement and an agreement in force until further notice?
An agreement which is in force until further notice ends when the tenant or the lessor gives notice of termination to the other party and the period of notice has passed.
A fixed term agreement ends on a specified date without specific notice. A notice of termination is effective in fixed term leases only in certain situations and only if a district court allows it.
See also "When does the period of notice begin?"
How to give notice?
The notice must be given in written form and must be demonstrable. For instance, the notice can be given in person or using Advice on Delivery.
The tenant doesn't have to state a reason in the notice. When the lessor gives a notice to the tenant, they must give a reason which must be keeping in with good practices.
How long is the period of notice?
The period of notice for the tenant is one month.
The period of notice for the lessor is six months, if the tenancy has lasted over a year. If the tenancy has lasted less than a year, the period of notice for the lessor is three months.
The lease may state that the period of notice is less than a month for the tenant or more than three/six months for the lessor. However, the parties aren't allowed to extend the tenant's period of notice or shorten the lessor's period of notice in the lease.
When does the period of notice begin?
Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the period of notice begins at the end of the month in which the other party received the notice. For instance, if the tenant gives notice to their lessor in May 20, the period of notice begins May 31 and ends June 30.
It is possible to state in the lease an earliest date on which the period of notice may begin. For instance, it is possible to state that the period of notice may not begin until 11 months after the beginning of the lease. Before agreeing to such a condition, a tenant should always consider whether they are able to commit themselves to an apartment for at least the duration.
Is it possible to give notice in fixed term lease agreement?
Only if a district court gives permission to give notice.
According to section 55 of the Act on Residential Leases, a district court may permit the tenant to give notice on the agreement if:
1) the tenant’s need for an apartment comes to an end or is essentially altered by his or her illness or disability or the illness or disability of a member of his or her family living in the apartment; or
2) the tenant moves to another locality for reasons of study, employment, or his or her spouse’s employment; or
3) if, for some comparable reason, the agreement’s remaining in force until the agreed date would be patently unreasonable from the tenant’s point of view
The party that did not give notice on the lease agreement shall be entitled to reasonable compensation for any loss incurred by said party as a result of premature termination of the agreement.
What is the removal date (the move-out day)?
According to the law, the removal date is the first work day after the date of termination of the lease agreement. For instance, if the date of termination is Friday, the removal date is the following Monday (unless it's a holiday in which case the removal day is Tuesday). If the date of termination is for instance Monday, then the removal date is Tuesday.
On the removal date, the tenant has to vacate half of the apartment for the lessor's use (which means that a new tenant may be moving in on the same day that the previous tenant is moving out). On the day after the removal date, the tenant has to surrender the entire apartment to the lessor.
Please note that the lease agreement may deviate from the law regarding the removal date.
Is the lessor entitled to arrange showings in my apartment before I move out?
Yes. However, the showings should be on a date that is suitable for the tenant. It is recommended that the lessor is in contact with the tenant in advance. In case the date of the showing isn't suitable for the tenant, the lessor should arrange the showing on another date. The tenant is allowed to be in the apartment during the showings.
The tenant is entitled to a sufficient number of keys upon renting an apartment. There has to be at least as many sets of keys as there are residents. It is advisable to make a receipt for both the handover and the recovery of the keys. If the tenant has had new keys made for the apartment, those keys must also be returned at the end of the lease. The tenant has to take good care of the keys. Attaching a name or address label to the keys isn't allowed.
If the tenant can prove that they have taken good care of the keys, the tenant doesn't have to pay for changing the lock in case the tenant loses the keys.
How to settle disputes between the lessor and the tenant?
There are many ways to reach a solution in disputes regarding residential leases. Negotiating and reaching a mutually satisfying understanding is by far the most inexpensive and fastest method for both parties. In case of a dispute one should always refer to the lease agreement as it may hold information crucial to solving the dispute.
In need of help one should contact an organization that offers counseling, e.g. Finnish Tenants, The Finnish Association of Landlords. Have the lease agreement on hand when you call, as looking into the agreement is often necessary in order to sort out the situation.
If even after counseling the parties are unable to settle the dispute the issue may be taken to the district court or to the Consumer Disputes Board for investigation.
What is The Consumer Disputes Board?
The Consumer Disputes Board resolves disputes between a consumer and a business. With regard to rented housing, complaints can also be made concerning a rental agreement between private individuals. In the case of a rental agreement between two private persons, either the tenant or the lessor can make a complaint.
The Consumer Disputes Board is a neutral and independent expert body whose members represent consumers and business in a balanced way. The Board provides guidance in the application of consumer law through its established decision-making practice and new plenary decisions.
The board does not have competence in some disputes, which according to the law must be turned over to a court within a short time. This includes:
- Transferring a lease to another party temporarily
- Transferring a lease to a family member
- Extending a lease after a tenant's death
- Declaring ineffectiveness of notice
- Deferral of the removal date
- A secondary tenant's right to extend the lease
You can find the required forms for making a complaint online at www.kuluttajariita.fi
The procedure of the Board is as follows:
- The complaining party files a complaint in writing that is noted as arrived.
- The civil servant who prepares the matter sends a reply request to the other party including a copy of the original complaint.
- The reply of the other party is sent to you.
- Your response is then sent to the other party.
- The board consults experts if needed.
- The civil servant handling the case prepares a suggestion to the group handling the case.
- The group makes a decision.
- The Board of Civil Disputes is an affordable way of settling disputes.
How to take my dispute to the district court?
The civil matter becomes pending when a written plaint by the plaintiff arrives at the district court.
In the plaint the plaintiff explains what they want from the defendant and on what basis. The plaint is to be accompanied by the documents it is based upon.
Upon reviewing the plaint the handler issues a summons in which they demand the defendant to reply within a certain time.
The district court serves the summons on the defendant by post or a process server.
If the defendant opposes the action, the proceedings continue in oral preparation in a preparatory hearing to which the parties are summoned
If the defendant fails to reply the court solves the matter with a default judgment that doesn’t require the presence of the defendant or the plaintiff.
The preparatory hearing
In a preparatory hearing, the disputes between parties are established. The possibility of settlement is also explored. In case the parties reach a settlement during the preparatory hearing, the district court certifies the settlement and the case is closed.
The main hearing
In the main hearing the chairman presents the demands of both parties and explains what conclusions the preliminary discussion has reached. After this both parties present their arguments in detail.
In civil cases the verdict is handed down either immediately after the hearing or later in chambers, in which event the parties can read the decision in the registry of the court.
The verdict can be challenged and brought to court of appeal.
For further information regarding civil cases in district courts visit http://www.oikeus.fi/tuomioistuimet/karajaoikeudet/en/index/riita-asiat_1/valmistelu.html