When relocating to Finland, you most probably need to take care of some paperwork. On a more practical matter, you would also need a place to live. Our team gathered 7 practical tips to help you prepare for the rental apartment hunting.
When to start?
Especially in Helsinki capital area, the rental market is saturated and competitive. We recommend that you reserve about 2-4 weeks for your apartment search. However, you cannot start too early either. There are two reasons for that:
- In order to start the search and to sign the rental agreement, you need to have your personal identity code. It is needed when submitting an online housing application and when attending public viewings. In most cases, you receive your personal identity code when you register in Finland, thus you may not be able to start the actual apartment search before arrival.
- You would need to prepare well and be ready to make fast decisions when viewing apartments. Many of the apartments are rented right after the viewing.
How to prepare?
Before starting with the actual search, it is good to do some research and be ready. Here are some tips on what to keep in mind:
1. Current housing market
It is necessary to have at least basic knowledge of the local housing market when looking for your desired apartment. Look for some information on the different areas, offering, average rent, what are the local procedures on rental agreements and other formalities. Look here for more info.
You want to estimate a realistic budget so that you can avoid unpleasant goose hunt. Rent of the apartment depends for example on the city and the location within the city (e.g. city center rents are normally higher), size, is the apartment furnished, access to public transportation and the current rental market availability. For example, one bedroom monthly rent in Helsinki region may vary between 800 to 2000 Euro/month. Note that most of the rental apartments in Finland are unfurnished. Set some realistic standards and stick with them. Ask for advice from your colleagues, friends or relocation agent.
In Finland, depending on the rental apartment agency or the private landlord, a down payment is required as deposit to cover eventual damages. It varies between one to three months worth of rent. The conditions of returning it or part of it also depends on the rental agency. So, for example, if the monthly rent of your desired apartment is 1000 euro, be prepared to pay 2000-3000 euro deposit.
4. Utility costs
The tenant is responsible to purchase home insurance for the duration of the rental agreement. In Finland the water consumption is mostly charged on a monthly basis and this fixed water fee is counted per person living in the apartment and often payable on top of the rent. The tenant is personally responsible to arrange a separate electricity contract for the rental apartment. Electricity cost comprises of a basic fee and a consumption fee. Often the fixed term agreements are cheaper in terms of basic fee and consumption fees. For example, the total additional cost for utilities for two people could be around 100 Euro/month. But the final cost depends always on the individual consumption.
When selecting the right location, consider the distance to work, supermarkets and shopping centers and make sure the neighborhood matches your lifestyle. If you are relocating with your family, it is also important to keep in mind the distance to school/day-care for a convenient commute.
The public transport infrastructure is very efficient and reliable in Finland. When choosing the location, check the commute and public transport routes to work, health care centers, sport centers, shopping centers and schools.
7. Duration of rental agreement
Whether you are moving to Finland permanently or temporarily, there are several rental options that can match your needs. Most of the rental agreements require at least one-year commitment. This applies for many rental companies and especially for private owners. Please be aware of the rental conditions, e.g. duration of the contract, starting date, etc. of the apartment you would like to visit/rent. The availability of the apartment depends on the duration that the owner or the rental agency is willing to rent out the apartment. Therefore, the rental agreements can be made fixed-term or until further notice.