Tips for the tenant

Landlords are welcome to print (in Finnish) out this page or send a link to the tenant after a lease is signed.

Get a home insurance or transfer your current insurance

Transfer your home insurance to your new apartment immediately after submitting the notification of address change. Home insurances with wider coverage can compensate for damages during the move (for example, when packing up, carrying, or transporting), when liability insurance is also valid. Coverage varies in different insurances, so check your coverage beforehand.

Home insurance covers your belongings for scenarios such as washing machine or phone breaking down or your bicycle getting stolen. It can also provide compensation for accidental damage you might cause for the apartment. Without insurance, your liability for water damage can easily amount to tens of thousands of euros. You should ensure you have a valid home insurance throughout the rental period even if this is not specifically mentioned in your rental agreement.

Carry out an apartment inspection and try out the keys

Carry out a preliminary inspection of the apartment together with the landlord at the very beginning of the rental period. List any issues and deficiencies you notice (such as cracks, dents, scratches, etc. as well as missing fixtures or defective appliances) into a preliminary inspection document. If no specific preliminary inspection is carried out, notify the landlord of any malfunctions or deficiencies by, for example, email with photographic evidence at the very beginning of the rental period. This way you can establish that the issue or defect predates your lease.

Familiarize yourself with housing company facilities and try out your keys

Find out what other facilities may be available to you, such as storage lockers in a shared storage space. Try out all the keys you have received – including spare keys – and make sure they match the locks in the apartment door and the external door. If there is a safety lock, make sure you have the right key for that as well. Also see if the company has a washroom, a bike cellar, sauna, or club space available for free or for a fee.

Take good care of the apartment and notify the landlord of any issues without delay

Take good care of the apartment and keep in mind that the tenant is liable for damages caused to the apartment during the lease. The tenant is not responsible for ordinary wear and tear that is expected in everyday life, but, for example, negligent water use, damaging the floor when moving furniture, torn wallpapers, or damages caused by pets are valid reasons for the landlord to demand compensation.

You can avoid damage to the apartment and your liability for damages by regularly cleaning the apartment and by following any cleaning or other apartment care instructions provided by the landlord. If something is not clear, ask for more instructions from your landlord. Remember to notify the landlord, property manager and/or the property maintenance company of any damages that occur or deficiencies you notice during the lease.

Monitor the condition of appliances and perform any installations carefully

Pay attention to the drain pan, hoses, and connections during the lease and always remember to plug the connections if you remove a washing machine or a dish washer. Always notify the landlord without delay if you have reason to suspect a leak or other malfunction in an appliance or a water connections. If you notice anything requiring prompt action (such as clear leaks), immediately notify the housing company’s property maintenance company. In fact, it’s good to have the property maintenance company’s contact information readily available in your phone for such situations.

If the landlord gives you permission to install your own dishwasher, we recommend that you have a professional install it for you. Having proof of professional installation protects you from liability, as responsibility for the installation falls on the professional. Home insurance does not necessarily cover you if you make a mistake or act negligently when carrying out the installation work yourself.

Always ask for permission form the landlord before any alteration work

Even minor work, such as painting and putting up wallpaper, requires landlord approval. Always ask for landlord’s permission before any alteration work. Some alterations also require permission from the housing company.

All repair and alteration work in the apartment should be agreed to in detail and in writing. This way it won’t be unclear to either party what materials are used or if the alterations are allowed to remain in the apartment when the lease expires. You can also come to an agreement on whether the cost of materials is compensated to you in rental payments.

Follow the lease agreement and always be sure to pay the rent on time

Before signing the rental agreement, make sure you understand all terms of the agreement. By signing the agreement, you commit to paying the rent on time and taking on all other obligations laid out in the rental agreement. It is a good idea to set up a recurring automatic payment through online banking for your rent. Note that repeated neglected payments lead to termination or rescission of the agreement and possibly even a payment default entry.

Notify the landlord beforehand if you expect a delay in paying your rent for a specific month. Any issues can often be solved through negotiations.

Ordinance is a set of shared rules of conduct for the housing company

Familiarize yourself with the housing company’s ordinance if there is one. The ordinance states the rules of conduct, as in how people are expected to behave in the housing company. For example, the quiet hours are typically specified in the ordinance. You should also get acquainted with the rules regarding shared areas, such as washroom, yard, or smoking area, to make for pleasant coexistence in the housing company.

Always be mindful of everyone’s right to peaceful and comfortable living, even in absence of an ordinance. Causing disturbances can even be grounds for rescission.

Fair rental practices provide a common framework

Fair rental practices are guidelines created by industry organizations, complementing the Act on Residential Leases. They provide a common framework for both the tenant and the landlord.

Read more on fair rental practices.