Accommodation in Finland is usually in an apartment (asunto). Free-standing houses are rare in cities. For people arriving with prearranged work it is often possible to organize at least temporary accommodation through the employer. Many companies own apartments for the specific purpose of short-term use by employees, and some offer long-term contracts as well. If your employer cannot help with accommodation you will have to try the free market, whether through advertisements in the newspapers (generally Sunday editions) or through an agent. Occupancy rates are high, particularly in Helsinki, and finding housing can be time-consuming. Agents' fees are average to high by international standards, so renting directly from the owner is the cheapest option. If you have friends or colleagues, have them help you look for housing - many apartments disappear through word of mouth before they ever reach the newspapers/agencies.
Online Searches: In recent years many Finland-wide and regional property search websites have emerged, some even providing a little service in English! However, the Finnish-only sites are generally quite simple and can be used with a rudimentary knowledge of the Finnish language. A list of common search terms is below:
|Alue - Region (ex. Uusimaa) |
Aluetarkennus - District (ex. Helsinki)
Asunto/Asunnot - Apartment/Apartments (dwelling)
Asuntotyyppi - Type of dwelling
Etsi - Look
Hae - Search
Hinta - Price
Huoneluku - Number of rooms (often shortened to 1h, 2h etc)
Kaikki - All / Everything
Kerrostalo - Block of flats/apartments
Loma-asunnot - Holiday houses
Maakunta - Province (ex. Uusimaa)
Omakotitalo - Detached house
Paritalo - Semi-detached house
Pieni - Small
Pinta-ala - Size (square meters)
Rivitalo - Row-house
Talo(t) - House(s)
Tontti/Tontit - Land
Vuokra - Rent
Vuokra-asunnot – Rental apartment
Agencies: Many agencies offer properties for long-term rental (usually 1-year minimum) or for sale. Several large agencies which offer online property searches are listed below. Commissions vary but it is not unusual to pay the equivalent of one month's rent plus tax (currently 22%).
Banks, Insurance Companies and Foundations: Banks have vast amounts of information on house hunting, mortgages, right-of-occupancy properties, part-ownership properties and renting. Many banks, insurance companies and foundations also own properties that they let out.
Looking for cheap accommodation in Helsinki isn’t easy and can be time consuming. Fortunately the times of browsing innumerable adverts, making hundreds of phone calls and visiting dozen of houses belong to the past: with Uniplaces now you can look for your room comfortably sitting at home. You can pick a room in a shared home with other expats, a studio flat if you want more privacy, or you can team up with other friends and rent an entire apartment just for yourselves.
The booking system is very simple and doesn’t require any visit: all can be done in advance thanks to the detailed descriptions and photos of the rooms and you can secure your room before even getting there. Moreover the Uniplaces team will be available for any questions and help.
Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking mid-long term accommodation with thousands of verified properties.