Housing glossary


Accommodation benefit Asuntoetu

The right to use the apartment as part of a resident’s salary.

AHVL Asuinhuoneenvuokralaki

Abbreviation for the Housing Lease Act. The law determines the rules for rental housing. For example, the notice period for a rental agreement is according to the Housing Lease Act.

Apartment Asunto

A set of one or more rooms (residential unit) intended for living

ARA apartment ARA-vuokra-asunto 

A state subsidized apartment with a set of criteria for residents, the rent of which is determined with the so-called break-even principle. The rent can only cover the costs of the housing company, meaning it is cheaper than in the private market. Municipalities own more than half of Finland's ARA apartments. Other owners include non-profit housing companies like VVO, Sato, TA-yhtiöt, and Avara. Student apartments and youth apartments are also state-supported ARA apartments. You can become a tenant if you meet certain criteria, as the owners follow the state's tenant selection criteria. The applicant's income, wealth, and housing need affect the allocation of the apartment. This is called means testing.

As Oy

Abbreviation commonly used to refer to a housing company.

ASP Asuntosäästöpalkkio

ASP (home savers bonus) is one system by which the state supports  first-time home buyers. The support is given to first-time home buyers aged 15–44. When you save 10% of the house price, you get a subsidized loan at a lower interest rate than other home loans and a free state guarantee.

ARA, Housing Fund of Finland Asumisen rahoitus- ja kehittämiskeskus

The state organisation that funds the building and repairing of rental and right-of-occupancy houses and private persons’ apartments.




Caretaker Isännöitsijä

The caretaker or property manager of a housing company, responsible for its operations.

Caretaker's certificate Isännöitsijätodistus

A document detailing important information about a housing company, its condition, and planned repairs. The caretaker's certificate can be obtained from the caretaker, the seller, or a real estate agent when buying an apartment.

Calendar month Kalenterikuukausi

The time between the first and last day of a month.

Communal apartment Kommuuni/Soluasunto

An apartment with a common kitchen and bathroom shared by multiple people. Each person has their own room.

Contract fee Hoitovastike

The monthly fee paid by an apartment owner to the housing company. The contract fee covers the housing company's costs, such as property maintenance, yard work, common electricity, waste management, and building insurance.

Consumer Price Index Kuluttajahintaindeksi

A ratio that indicates how the prices of goods and services for Finns change over time. The cost of living index is based on the consumer price index.

Cost of living index Elinkustannusindeksi

Based on the consumer price index. Rent is often tied to this index. This means the landlord can only raise the rent when the cost index rises. The rent is usually reviewed once a year.

Credit record mark Luottotietomerkintä/Maksuhäiriömerkintä

A record of unpaid debts, which may prevent someone from renting an apartment or obtaining a loan. A credit record entry is created when a person has been confirmed to be in debt by a district court decision.


Deposit Takuuvuokra/vuokravakuus

Money paid by the tenant to the landlord before moving into a rental apartment. The deposit is returned when the tenant moves out, provided the rent is paid, and the apartment is kept in good condition. By law, the deposit can be a maximum of three months' rent.

Duty to notify Ilmoitusvelvollisuus

This refers to the legal responsibility of the tenant to immediately notify the landlord of any faults detected in the apartment.


Equity contribution

The portion of the apartment price that is self-financed or saved. The rest can be financed through a loan from, for example, a bank.

Energy contract Sähkösopimus

Before moving in, you need to make an electricity contract with the local electricity company for your apartment. The electricity company will bill you based on your electricity consumption. Remember to notify the electricity company when you move out.

Eviction Häätö

Removal of a tenant from a property. This can be enforced due to unpaid rent, disruptive living or poor upkeep of the apartment.


Funds transfer tax Varainsiirtovero

Tax paid to the state when an apartment is sold or purchased.

Freely funded apartment

An apartment that has not been funded with a state or municipality loan or interest subsidy.


General housing allowance Yleinen asumistuki

General housing allowance intended for the unemployed and low-income workers. Housing support can be received for rental, right-of-occupancy, or owner-occupied apartments. The amount of housing support is affected by the household size, housing costs, gross income, assets, and the apartment's size, location, heating system, and year of construction. An estimate of your housing support can be calculated using Kela's housing support calculator.

Gross income Bruttoansio

Salary or other compensation paid for work from which taxes have not yet been deducted.



The system for regulating the price and quality of apartments built on land owned by the City of Helsinki.

Household Ruokakunta

Consists of a family or persons living in the same apartment. One person can constitute a household as well.

Housing cooperative Taloyhtiö

This refers to a legal entity that owns a building or a complex of buildings, typically containing several apartments. They are responsible for the common areas of the building as well as maintenance and general management.

Home insurance Kotivakutus

Insurance for your home. The insurance policy holder pays a regular insurance fee to the insurance company. The insurance will cover any accidental damage.

Housing loan Asuntolaina

A loan typically required for purchasing a home. It is applied for from a bank, which requires that you have stable income and a guarantor. The loan is repaid with interest.


Income Tulot

Salary from work, benefits (such as student aid), and capital income.

Inspection (Kunto)tarkastus

The landlord inspects the condition of the apartment before a new tenant moves in. Both the tenant and the landlord sign the inspection report. This should be done to ensure the tenant is not blamed for damage caused by a previous tenant.

Interest subsidy Korkotuki

Subsidy paid by the state in order to reduce the interest recovered from a bank loan.




Kela Kansaneläkelaitos

The independent social security institution with its own administration and finances working under the supervision of the Finnish Parliament, from which you can apply for subsidies for housing and studying, for example.


Abbreviation commonly used when referring to a property or real estate company.


Landlord Vuokranantaja

The person or entity that owns the apartment and rents it to tenants.

Lease agreement Vuokrasopimus

A contract between a landlord and tenant detailing the rental terms. This is drawn up in two copies, one for the landlord and one for the tenant, and entails a leasehold of a building or part of it (usually an apartment).

Loan Laina

A sum of money borrowed and to be repaid with interest.


Management charge

This is paid to the housing company to cover the costs of maintaining and procuring the property. It is confirmed at a company meeting and divided between the shareholders in accordance with the Limited Liability Housing Companies Act or the articles of association.

Ministry of the Environment Ympäristöministeriö

Government branch that monitors the development of housing policy in Finland and prepares key laws regarding housing.


Net earnings Nettoansio

Salary or compensation from which taxes have been deducted.

Non-profit producer of rental housing Yleishyödyllinen vuokraasuntotuottaja

A community that builds and manages rental apartments without significantly striving for profit. Non-profit status can be given by the decision of the Finnish Government or the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland, e.g. NAL apartments or municipal rental apartments.

Notice Period Irtisanomisaika

The time period required to give notice before ending a lease agreement, typically specified in the lease contract.

Notice of Termination of Lease Vuokrasopimuksen irtisanominen

The formal notification by either the landlord or tenant to end a lease agreement at the end of its term.

Notification of a move Muuttoilmoitus

You need to submit a notification of a move well in time before moving to ensure that your information is updated in the Population Information System and that your mail is not interrupted. This can be done via Posti.




Payment default entry or credit information entry Maksuhäiriömerkintä

Mark made in the credit information register due to unpaid bills. The entry can prevent you from getting a rental apartment or a loan.

Property company Kiinteistöosakeyhtiö

A real estate company is a company usually established for owning and governing a building used for rental apartments or business premises.




Real Estate Agent Kiinteistönvälittäjä

A professional who assists in the buying, selling, or renting of properties.

Rent Deposit Vuokravakuus

A security deposit paid by the tenant to the landlord at the beginning of the rental period, typically equivalent to one to three months' rent.

Rent Review Vuokran tarkistus

The process by which the rent amount is periodically reviewed and adjusted according to the terms of the lease agreement, often linked to inflation or other indices.

Rent Payment Date Vuokranmaksupäivä

The specific day of the month on which rent is due, as specified in the lease agreement.

Resident democracy Asukasdemokratia

A system through which residents in ARA rental buildings are given the power to influence issues related to their building, such as the amount of rent, repairs, maintenance, and house rules.

Residential Lease Act Huoneenvuokralaki

The Finnish law that governs rental agreements, rights, and obligations of tenants and landlords.

Right-of-occupancy home Asumisoikeusasunto

Housing that means that the resident has signed a right-of-occupancy agreement, paid a right-of-occupancy fee and thus gained possession of the apartment. The resident pays a monthly charge for use.


Security deposit or rent guarantee Vakuus/takuuvuokra

The sum of three months’ rent at the most, which is usually given to the landlord as a guarantee of rent payments or maintaining the condition of the apartment. The landlord can also give the tenant a security deposit to fulfil his/her obligations.

Self-financing contribution

This refers to a sum that a home buyer must save in addition to funding granted by a bank, the state, municipalities or other funding institutions.

Subletting/Subleasing Alivuokraus/Jälleenvuokraus

A tenant rents part of their apartment to someone else (subtenant). In this case, the main tenant is the subtenant's landlord. The subtenant pays rent to the main tenant, who pays the full rent to the apartment owner. If the subtenant causes damage, the main tenant is responsible for it to the apartment owner.

Subtenant Alivuokralainen

Someone who leases a part of the apartment in which the sublessor or owner of the apartment lives as well.


Tenant Vuokralainen

The person who rents an apartment or property from a landlord.

Termination of Lease Agreement Vuokrasopimuksen purkaminen

The legal process by which a lease agreement is ended before its specified term, often due to breach of contract by either party.



Common floorplan abbreviations used in Finnish rental ads

k = kitchen
kk = kitchenette
1 h = no separate bedroom
2 h = 1 bedroom + 1 separate room
3 h = 2 bedrooms + 1 room
tpk = living room/kitchen (open-plan kitchen, no separate bedroom)

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