Rights and obligations
Housing companies usually have a set of housing regulations that contains regulations related to general living comfort and safety. The housing regulations apply to all residents and must be followed. You can usually find them on the staircase bulletin board, or they will have been delivered to your apartment. The housing regulations usually determine a period of quiet, i.e. a night-time peace (typically from 10pm to 7am), during which you must avoid loud noises, such as listening to music at a high volume. Other regulations cover matters such as using the public facilities and yard area, taking care of your rubbish and household waste and having pets. As a resident of the building, you need to make sure your friends follow these regulations as well. Repeated infringements of the regulations can lead to the termination of your lease. The housing manager can provide you with more information regarding the housing regulations of your housing company.
Warnings and eviction
You can receive a warning for 1) disturbances, 2) neglecting the upkeep of your apartment, 3) using the apartment for purposes other than those determined in the lease agreement or 4) infringing housing and health regulations. Cancelling the lease usually requires a written warning from the landlord to the tenant. The warning must be submitted in such a manner that it can be proven. If the tenant corrects his or her behaviour, the landlord will not have the right to cancel the lease. However, the lease can be cancelled without warning if the tenant has failed to pay rent for at least two months or has engaged in extremely reprehensible behaviour. Cancelling the lease will terminate the agreement immediately without a period of notice. An eviction means clearing out the apartment if the tenant has failed to move out of the apartment by a date set by a court. The landlord will apply for an eviction ruling from a court. If necessary, the Enforcement Office will carry out the eviction.
www.oikeus.fi > Enforcement fees
Tenant’s influencing opportunities and resident democracy
According to Finnish law, all residents of state-subsidised rental apartments have the right to be involved in decision-making regarding the building. A residents’ meeting is an annually organised meeting to which all residents are invited. The residents’ meeting chooses the members of the residents’ committee, which gives statements on matters such as financial estimates, rent level and repairs. The residents’ committee also has the right to decide on the housing regulations while taking account the related legislation. In addition to this, the residents’ committee organises joint voluntary work and other forms of resident activity. There must also be a resident representative on the board of a company leasing apartments. Another way to influence matters as a resident is to join a residents’ association or establish one yourself. While the residents’ committee influences the affairs of the building, a residents’ association will influence the residential area. The residents’ association will look after the residents’ interests in apartment, traffic, environmental and regional issues.
Resident democracy in NAL buildings
NAL buildings feature a housing supervisor who encourages the residents to engage in joint activities and influencing. The housing supervisor is on call at the buildings and answers the residents’ questions. Through the supervisor, you can also relay information to the owner of the building about the situation in the building and make requests regarding improving the quality of living. Many buildings feature a gym in the civil defence shelter or a barbecue spot in the yard, thanks to an initiative by the residents. A residents’ committee is a good way to influence the affairs of the building ‒ it decides on matters such as sauna reservations and use of the laundry room. If you want to really influence the affairs of the housing company, you should become a resident representative on the board of the company. Resident representatives are involved in board meetings and contribute to determining the financial estimate, making repair plans and deciding on new construction, among other things.
Ask the NAL housing supervisor for advice
NAL buildings feature a housing supervisor who will help you with questions related to housing. You can ask the supervisor for advice regarding matters such as using the laundry room, dealing with authorities, managing your finances or organising joint voluntary work. The housing supervisor encourages the residents to engage in joint activities and influencing. If necessary, the housing supervisors will also provide you with support and guidance to help you start living independently. The housing guidance can focus on a young person’s financial control or taking care of the home. If a resident fails to pay rent, measures will be taken before the debt accumulates. The housing supervisor is available at a certain time in the open living room operating in the club room of the building. In the open living room, you can read magazines, have a cup of coffee and get to know your neighbours.
Your home is really your own
With a lease agreement, the landlord will transfer possession of the apartment exclusively to the tenant. This entails that during the lease, the apartment is the tenant’s private property covered by the right to privacy and the sanctity of the home prescribed in Section 10 of the Constitution of Finland. This means, among other things, that the apartment can primarily be entered only with the tenant’s permission and must be left immediately upon the tenant’s request. The right to privacy and sanctity of the home also secure the tenant’s right to live in peace. It is forbidden to infringe the sanctity of the home by making excessive noise or telephone calls or by other equivalent manners. Infringing the sanctity of the home is decreed to be punishable under the Criminal Code. The sanctity of the home also sets considerable limits on the landlord’s right to gain entry to the apartment while it is being leased. Exceptional situations, in which the landlord has the right to enter the apartment without the tenant’s permission or even against the tenant’s will, are related to monitoring the condition and maintenance of the apartment and repair procedures to be carried out in the apartment. The landlord must strive to agree with the tenant on a suitable time for a visit in these situations as well. The aforementioned also applies to parties that the landlord has authorised to monitor the condition and maintenance of the apartment or carry out repairs. As the tenant, you are responsible for the actions of those you allow into the apartment or the common facilities as if they were your own actions. Disturbances or damage caused to the apartment or the common facilities by guests can lead to a warning being issued to the tenant, cancellation of the lease and the tenant being held liable for the damage. You must control your guests’ behaviour during situations such as a party you are hosting and, if necessary, ask any guests causing disturbances or potential damage to leave.