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You can lease land in front of your business premises for an outdoor seating area. The outdoor seating season is divided into a summer season and a winter season. The summer season runs from the start of April to the end of October, while the winter season is from the start of November to the end of March. Outdoor seating areas may vary in size depending on the season.
Submit an application to lease an area for outdoor seating
Submit an application to lease an area for outdoor seating by using an electronic form and submitting it via the City's online services. Alternatively, you can use a PDF form. You can identify yourself through suomi.fi in order to log in to the service, either with mobile ID or online banking credentials.
If you are unable to use the electronic form, fill in the PDF form and send it together with the necessary appendices via email to email@example.com(Link opens default mail program).
Use the online service
Make an application to lease land for outdoor seating spot
Fill in a form
Please submit all the listed appendices as PDF files. We will not be able to process your application without them.
A floor plan of the seating area on a scale of 1:50 or 1:100. Include the seating area’s dimensions (length and width), the placement of fixtures and furniture, access routes, entrances and the width of the free pavement area. An outdoor seating area may only take up to half of the width of the pavement.
Please note that you must always leave free space in the street area that is at least 150 cm in width and 220 cm in height.
Also note that the dimension rules for outdoor seating areas are different in the central pedestrian zone (PDF, 5MB, in Finnish)
and Keskuskatu (PDF, in Finnish).
The building owner’s (usually a housing company) permission to use a public area outside of business premises for serving food and drinks outside. You can use e.g. the property owner’s consent form (PDF, in Finnish) to request permission.
Photographs of the street area and the wall in front of which the seating area is planned. Please also attach photographs of the traffic signs and street drains in the area to your parklet application.
Photographs or drawings of all the fixtures, furniture and structures to be placed in the seating area.
In addition, a certificate of a valid liability insurance policy must be attached to a parklet application.
If an agent is used to apply for a permit on behalf of the actual applicant, you will also require a power of attorney.
Where can an outdoor seating area be placed?
You can lease land in front of your business premises for an outdoor seating area. The area can be no further than across the street from the restaurant or café that it is linked to. For more information about the placement options, refer to the terrace instructions (PDF).
As a rule, an outdoor seating area must not take up more than half of the free width of the pavement, and the width of the free space must always be at least 150 cm. The seating area must not restrict the use of public city space, access to a property, accessibility or traffic safety. The pedestrian city centre area (PDF, 5 Mb, in Finnish) has separate dimensioning regulations for a terrace placement, and Keskuskatu (PDF, in Finnish) has its own dimensioning regulations.
When planning the location of your outdoor seating, please remember that Helsinki has busy and narrow streets where sufficient free space must be ensure for access. Furthermore, certain areas have high value in terms of the city image, culture and history, and they are typically considered unsuitable for outdoor seating.
You can use the Helsinki Map Service(Link leads to external service) to determine the exact location of your outdoor seating area.
How much does an outdoor seating area cost?
The prices for outdoor seating areas in front of high street businesses in public areas have been fixed for a five-year contract period. The lease price is determined according to two separate pricing zones. The price depends on the size of the seating area and whether it is used during the summer or the winter season. The prices exclude VAT.
Price list for outdoor seating areas 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2027:
Seating area 1
Seating area 2
Summer season 1 April – 31 October
Winter season 1 November – 31 March
Mini seating areas
You can use an area of 80 cm in width directly in front of your place of business and attached to it for outdoor seating for free if it complies with the outdoor seating area guidelines. A so-called mini seating area such as this can also be recognised by the fact that it has no fixed structures. You do not need to apply for a permit from the City or sign a contract with the City for your mini seating area, but you will need written permission from the property owner.
A checklist for an outdoor seating area permit application
Read the outdoor seating area guidelines
Get permission from the property owner
Before applying for a permit, you will need written permission for your seating area from the property owner. This also applied to mini seating areas. You can use e.g. the property owner’s consent form (PDF, in Finnish) to request permission.
Check the application period
The application period for outdoor seating and parklet spots begins on 15 February.
Fill in an electronic form
Please use the electronic form to apply for a permit for an outdoor seating area through the City’s online services (in Finnish)(Link leads to external service). You can identify yourself through suomi.fi in order to log in to the service, either with mobile ID or online banking credentials.
Wait for your application to be processed
The City decides on a case-by-case basis whether a permit can be granted. Once your application has been processed, you will receive a lease decision and lease contract, including its terms, conditions and instructions. This contract does not need to be signed, and instead the decision regarding your application will serve as your contract.
Terminating the contract
Frequently asked questions
If you are planning to set up an outdoor seating area that will be located in the street area but not directly in front of your café or restaurant, its location will determine where you will need to send your application to.
Outdoor seating area permits for beaches, sports fields and parks are granted by the Culture and Leisure Division, while permits for marketplaces and Torikorttelit are granted by Helsingin Kaupunkitilat Oy (in Finnish)(Link leads to external service).
If you are planning to set up an outdoor seating area in a private area or property (e.g. in a shopping centre), you must discuss it with the owner or occupant of the area.
If you want to set up an outdoor seating area on a square near your café or restaurant, contact the inspectors of the Land Use and Monitoring unit at (Link opens default mail program), and we will assess the viability of your plans.
The time it takes to process an application depends on the plan for an outdoor seating area, which is why you should allocate ample time for the process. A permit may be granted within a week or two if demand is low and the seating area does not require a permit from the building control services or food control authorities.
If you are planning to include structures that require a building permit or you need a permit from the food control authorities to set up your seating area, the permit process may take six to eight weeks.
Before submitting your application, you should make sure that your plans comply with the outdoor seating area guidelines and that you have included all the required appendices.
You must also follow the terrace instructions (PDF) if your seating area is not in the street area directly outside of your place of business.
If you want to have both an outdoor seating area and a parklet outside of your place of business, you will need separate applications and contracts for both. For more detailed instructions, see the terrace instructions (PDF).