In the previous rental apartment hunting blogs, we discussed the aspects to consider when searching for an apartment rental and the particularities of apartment viewings in Finland. In this blog we discuss the practicalities related to signing the rental agreement and the details in the contract that you need to pay a closer attention to in addition to other related practicalities such as arranging a home insurance, electricity contract and internet connection.
It is the time to roll your sleeves and get to the paperwork!
After you have found your desired apartment, the next step is to sign the rental agreement. The contract will be sent you by the agent, real estate agency, or the landlord of the apartment. The contract is often delivered via an online portal, which requires you to login to the platform using your online banking codes to identify yourself. If you still don’t have access to full online banking system (it is required to have full access to online banking system in Finland and internet identification), you can request the rental contract in PDF format to sign it. Please keep in mind that this option is not always possible, and in some cases, you need visit the responsible rental agency or the landlord to sign the contract.
The rental contract provides the tenant with the right of occupancy and indicates the duties and obligations of the tenant. Therefore, it is important to carefully familiarize yourself with terms and conditions mentioned and request for any clarification, if needed. These terms and conditions, for example include terminating terms, rent and deposit payment instructions (which is normally the amount of cost equal to 1-3 months of the rent).
Here are a few tips on what to carefully check before signing the rental contract:
- The name of the leaser (vuokranantaja) and tenant (vuokralainen)
- Rent (vuokra), deposit (vakuus), and bank account information (pankkiyhteystiedot)
- Information regarding the property in question (vuokrauskohde) – e.g. the size of the apartment, the year of construction, etc.
- Rental period (vuokra-aika), termination of the contract and related terms and conditions (Irtisanomisaika ja Irtisanomisajan alkamispäivän erityisehto). These are very important as they tie you to your legal responsibilities as a tenant for the duration of the contract.
Hint: Note that in some rental agreements the earliest possible starting date of the notice period is 11 months, after which time the starting date of the notice period is the last day of the month in which notice was given. For example: If the rental agreement starts in 20.12.2020, the earliest termination date would be 30.11.2021.
The tenant is personally responsible for arranging an electricity contract for the apartment. There are several companies in Finland that offer electricity of residential properties. The electricity fee depends on the monthly usage of electricity and the energy companies’ policies for transferring the energy. In Finland the electricity costs are often billed as two separate bills – the electricity and the transfer of electricity.
Due to regulations (and to bring peace of mind), the tenant is required to arrange a home insurance policy of the duration of the residence in the apartment. The tenant is personally responsible for arranging the home insurance with an insurance company and paying the fee. Insurance companies offer different levels of cover. Often rental housing corporates and private landlords require extended home insurance, because it includes the liability Insurance, which provides cover if you, a member of your family or your pet causes damage to another party or his/her property.There are several insurance companies in Finland that provide home insurances. The insurance fee depends on the apartment size, location, and the type of rental property and construction year. The insurance premium is also affected by the type of insurance policy.
Finland is the only country in the world where internet access is considered as legal rights. Recently many rental apartments are equipped with 10 Mb internet access, free for the tenants to use. However, the tenant needs to register the connection under their name with service provider and buy the internet modem to get access to the internet. If the apartment that you are renting doesn’t offer free internet access, or if you would like to have a faster connection, you can simply contact one of the many service providers and make an internet contact. In most of the cases you can also buy the internet modem the same time as making the contract.
Search + View + Rent = YOUR NEW HOME
If you have recently moved to Finland and looking for your new home here, it is recommended to get acquainted with apartment rental market and consider different aspect such as, budget for monthly rent, rental deposit, utility costs, location of the apartment, accessibility, and duration of rental. Moving to a new environment and the accompanying paperwork can be overwhelming. Therefore, remember to take to your time, keep an open mind, prepare well in advance and soon you can settle down in your home smoothly.