On this page
- Where to look and what to expect
- Average rent in Helsinki
- Checklist for renters
- Important considerations
- Subsidised housing
Renting a flat in Helsinki is a very popular housing option
Over 85 per cent of the city’s population lives in an apartment. Around half of the flats are rented and the other half are owner-occupied.
Where to look and what to expect
Most flats in Helsinki are small by western standards. This is because the average apartment size in Helsinki is 63m2. Typically, a flat of this size has two rooms (a living room and one bedroom), in addition to a kitchen and a bathroom.
Many newcomers to the city find their first home on the open market. In brief, the main real estate websites are Oikotie (Finnish only) and Vuokraovi (limited English). In addition, the private housing companies Sato and Lumo offer options, particularly if you need a place quickly. It is a good idea to apply for housing in several places at the same time, if you can. Many of the flat diagrams are in Finnish only, so we hope the list of common terms in housing ads below will prove helpful in your search.
|vuokra (€/kk)||rent (euros per month)|
|kph||bathroom (includes toilet and shower, sometimes washing machine)|
|k, avok, kk||kitchen, open kitchen, kitchenette (includes refrigerator and stove, sometimes dishwasher and microwave)|
|vh, et, oh, s||closet, entryway, living room, sauna|
|rivitalo||terraced house, row house (side-by-side homes that share one or more walls)|
|paritalo||duplex house (two homes under one roof)|
|omakotitalo||detached, single-family home|
|asuinpinta-ala||floor area (in square metres, m2)|
Average rent in Helsinki
In Helsinki, a one-room rental studio apartment with a kitchen and bath costs around 600-700 euros per month on the open market. In the same way, rent on homes with two rooms (a living room and one bedroom), a kitchen and bath is about 900–1,100 euros monthly. Furnished homes are rare and more expensive.
Rent in Helsinki normally includes water and property maintenance. Sometimes it also includes broadband service, but in most cases, rent does not include the cost of electricity, phone or cable services . In most cases, renters must purchase home insurance before they can begin living in the space. In addition, renters are required to pay a security deposit of one or two months’ rent.
What part of Helsinki is right for you? The MyHelsinki website has a great presentation of the city’s diverse neighbourhoods, specifically highlighting each of their different characteristics.
Checklist for renters
If you have recently arrived in Helsinki from abroad, you must first complete all of the tasks listed in our First Steps Checklist
We recommend finding temporary short-term housing while you get to know the city and look for a permanent place to live
After that, look for housing on the open market and/or apply for subsidised housing
Check out the services near the properties you are considering, to see which location is most convenient for you
Visit the property you are interested in and take note of any defects to avoid future problems
Study the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority’s information on tenant obligations and liabilities carefully
Before you sign a rental or purchase agreement, it is a good idea to read the information from InfoFinland in the links below
Once you have moved in, read the rules of your housing company and fulfil your obligations as a renter
At this time, if you have a small income, you can apply for a general housing allowance from the state benefits agency Kela
If problems arise with your housing arrangement or you find yourself homeless, contact the city’s housing consultation service
|Rent is typically paid monthly. The due date is specified in the rental agreement. You must pay the rent to the property owner’s bank account. Therefore, you may not pay rent with a credit card or cash.|
|Few people sublet in Helsinki. Keep in mind that if you live in someone’s flat without the property owner’s consent, you consequently run the risk of being evicted at short notice.|
|Make sure all of your housing arrangements are made in writing and you receive a copy. Above all, don’t sign something you don’t understand. Request a copy in your language or have it translated.|
|Note that renters in Helsinki may not make any changes to their dwelling without written permission from the property owner.|
|Make sure there are no time limits on the flat’s availability. In general, property owners typically ask tenants in Helsinki to commit to a rental agreement for at least one year at first.|
|You can terminate your rental agreement with one month’s notice. However, if your rental agreement is terminated by your landlord, they are required by law to give three to six months’ notice.|
|Learn the rules of your building. You will find a set of rules about living in your building posted somewhere near the entrance. These rules include specific instructions for using the shared laundry room or sauna, as well as how your building deals with things like noise, maintenance and recycling. Your neighbours will take these building rules very seriously, so read them carefully.|
Low-cost rental housing from the city
The City of Helsinki owns 63 per cent of the city’s total land area and as a result, over 50,000 government-subsidised flats. Occupants of these flats therefore pay a lower rent. For this reason, these properties are in very high demand and not often available.
Tenant selection for these properties is based on applicants’ income, net worth and housing need. In other words, subsidised flats are offered to those who need them the most. Before you apply, check the city’s selection criteria and see if you fit the description.
Heka – The City of Helsinki manages most of its subsidised flats through the Helsinki City Housing Company, more familiarly known as Heka. Five area-specific offices operate under the Heka umbrella.
In addition, there are two other city-administrated real estate companies, Auroranlinna and Helsingin asuntohankinta, that largely supply housing to municipal employees and special groups. However, they may also rent a few flats to other tenants on the open market.
Rental – a standard rental agreement where tenants pay monthly rent and possible additional fees to the property owner.
Right-of-occupancy – between renting and owning, requires buyer to pay 15 per cent of the purchase price and monthly maintenance charge in exchange for the right to live in the flat indefinitely. The 15 percent payment is refunded with interest if the tenant moves out. Applicants need to have a right-of-occupancy queue number from the city to apply for this kind of apartment.
Part-ownership – starts out with a payment of 15 percent of the purchase price and monthly rental payments. After a specified time period, the tenant has the right to buy the apartment outright.
Housing for special groups – The City of Helsinki makes housing available to special groups such as the elderly, homeless and asylum seekers, as well as people with disabilities, substance abuse problems or child welfare issues. For more information, contact the city’s social services.