Residents’ associations

Residents have the opportunity to become involved in and affect decisions that concern the management and maintenance of the buildings they live in. You can appeal to the Regional State Administrative Agency if you feel residents’ democracy is not being fulfilled.

Information about residents’ democracy

Residents’ democracy is the residents’ ability to take part in and influence decisions affecting their building’s management and maintenance.

Residents’ democracy is based on the Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings. 

The act gives renters decision-making powers and the opportunity to influence matters concerning their own housing. Its purpose is also to improve residential satisfaction and promote the maintenance and care of rental buildings. 

In right-of-occupancy housing, both the person who holds the right of occupancy and people living with them in the same apartment have the right to take part in the management and decision making of the building.

Residents’ democracy applies to all rental housing described in the Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings. These include state-subsidised (ARAVA) rental dwellings that have restrictions on use and the right of disposition, as well as interest-subsidy rental buildings financed and built after 1 January 2002. 

The aforementioned ARAVA and interest-subsidy rental buildings include:

  • municipal rental buildings,
  • rental buildings owned by non-profit corporations,
  • halls of residence for students,
  • rental buildings owned by companies, and
  • nursing homes.

 Additionally, residents’ democracy is also applied in right-of-occupancy housing.

The Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings does not apply to basic housing associations.

If the requirements of residents’ democracy are not being fulfilled

You can appeal to us on the matter. Regional State Administrative Agencies may give orders only to the owners of rental or right-of-occupancy buildings or their representatives.

Rental buildings described in the Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings   

The Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings places certain obligations on owners of housing. If the owner neglects their obligations, the Regional State Administrative Agency may set a deadline by which the owner must fulfil said obligation. 

For example, the owner may have failed to provide the residents’ committee with information they are entitled to under the law regarding the rental building.

Right-of-occupancy housing

Under the law, the owner of the housing has certain obligations. If the owner neglects their obligations or engages in illegal practices, the Regional State Administrative Agency may set a deadline by which the task must be completed or the practices rectified.
For example, a resident may not have been given sufficient information regarding maintenance and utility charges.

Conditional fine

The Regional State Administrative Agency may impose a conditional fine to enforce its decision.

Please note that Regional State Administrative Agencies only have the authority to take the aforementioned actions. They cannot affect the activities of residents’ committees and do not handle disputes between residents or matters related to the quality of the housing.

In the case of rental buildings described in the Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings, appeals can be made by residents or other possessors of housing units, a representative of a residents’ meeting or residents’ committee or a person elected to a position of trust by such a body.

In the case of right-of-occupancy housing, appeals can be made by a person who holds right of occupancy, a person living with them in the right-of-occupancy housing, a representative of a residents’ meeting or residents’ association or a person elected to a position of trust by such a body.

Write a free-form appeal that includes information on

  • how the rental building’s or right-of-occupancy building’s owner has neglected their statutory obligations regarding the organisation of joint management, and
  • what measures you wish the Regional State Administrative Agency to take. 

Send the appeal to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland’s registry either by email [email protected] or by mail to: Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland, PO Box 200, 65101 VAASA.

 

A fee is charged for the processing of residents’ democracy matters. In 2021, the fee is EUR 250.

Once you have made your appeal, it will be moved to the Regional State Administrative Agency’s processing queue. The Regional State Administrative Agency will contact you if further information is needed for a decision.

We will hear the owner of the building before making a decision. As such, appeals take several months to resolve.

Links to legal texts