Frequently asked questions
1. What is the resident selection based on?
Residents are selected based on their need for housing and the search criteria entered on the application by the applicant, not a queueing system. The resident selection principles are based in Finnish law. The selection criteria include the resident’s need for housing, wealth and income.
Priority is given to the homeless and other applicants of limited means and low income who have the most urgent need for housing. When selecting residents, we also pay attention to maintaining a varied resident structure in the building and a healthy social balance in the residential area.
2. How long will it take to get housing?
Estimating the waiting time for receiving a housing offer is impossible as it depends on the number of vacant apartments, type of apartment, location and the applicant’s requests. Resident selection is not based on a queuing system. We select the residents based on their need for housing and the search criteria entered on the application. The time an application has been in our system makes no difference in terms of receiving a housing offer. Due to the large number of applications we receive, we cannot promise housing to all applicants.
3. I have been waiting for an apartment for a long time. Does this affect my chances of getting an apartment?
No. The time an application has been in our system makes no difference in terms of receiving a housing offer.
4. Will all applicants receive an apartment?
No, they will not. Due to the large number of applicants, we cannot offer housing to everyone who wants it. We provide approximately 3,000–4,000 Ara apartments each year, and there are up to 25,000 applications in our system at all times. You can review the number of applicants and the number of apartments provided in our monthly statistics (PDF in Finnish).
5. Do the selections I have entered on my application affect my chances of receiving an apartment?
Yes, they do. When an apartment becomes available, our system picks the applications with matching criteria regarding the apartment’s location, size, rent and equipment level. Your application will be considered when processing apartments becoming vacant and matching your search criteria (e.g. in terms of area, balcony, and elevator requests). If you set ‘all areas’ as your area preference, you can be offered housing in any part of Helsinki. Please do not select areas to which you are not willing to move. The maximum rent and requirements listed on your application, e.g., your wish to have a lift or balcony, will limit the number of apartments offered to you, because not all apartments have these features.
6. How large of an apartment can I get?
Single-person households can be offered 1–2 room apartments,
two-person households 2–3 room apartments,
three people 2–4 room apartments,
four people 3–5 room apartments,
five people 4–6 room apartments.
Unborn children are included in the size of the household.
7. How does my income affect my chances of getting an apartment?
No income limits are applied, but the total income of the applicant household is taken into account alongside the housing needs and wealth of the household when making the resident selection.
8. How can I find out the status of my application processing?
We do not give interim reports on application processing. Our housing advisers do not process applications or make resident selections. When an apartment becomes vacant, valid applications matching that specific apartment are considered in the selection of a resident. Applicants will only be contacted if they receive a housing offer.
9. Can I speed up the housing process by contacting the housing advisors?
No, you cannot. Our housing advisors are not able to speed up the housing process; they can only guide you in filling in and editing your application.
10. How long is my application valid?
The application is valid until you have received a housing offer or the validity (3 months) of the application has expired. After updating or renewing your application, the period of validity is extended by another three months. An expired or withdrawn application cannot be updated or renewed.
11. How can I review or edit my application?
You can edit your housing application via the rental apartment search service. The applications for an Ara apartment, an Ara apartment swap, a non-subsidiary apartment or a short-term apartment can be modified in the same way. If you apply for an apartment with a co-applicant, either applicant can modify the application.
Please see more detailed instructions for modifying an application
12. Can I get an apartment if I do not verify my identity?
No, you cannot. Your application will not be included in the tenant selection process until you have verified it through electronic authentication by using online bank identifiers or a mobile certificate, or by verifying your identity by visiting the rental apartment customer service and presenting an official personal identity document (driving licence, passport or personal ID card).
13. What does it mean to verify an apllication?
Once you have submitted your application, you must verify it through authentication, i.e., by verifying your identity. Your application will not be included in the tenant selection process until after you have verified your identity. By verifying your application through authentication, you confirm that you are the person that has submitted the application.
Please note that your co-applicant must also verify their identity after the application has been submitted. You can check via the rental apartment search service whether all your co-applicants aged over 18 have verified their identity.
14. How do I verify my identity if I do not have online bank identifiers or a mobile certificate?
Authentication means verifying your identity. If you do not have online bank identifiers or a mobile certificate, you can visit the rental apartment search customer service at Työpajankatu 8 and verify your identity using and official personal identity document (driving licence, passport or personal ID card).
Please note that a co-applicant aged over 18 years must also verify their identity so that your application can be included in the tenant selection process.
15. Why is a personal email address recommended for housing applications?
We recommend adding a personal email address to your application because it makes your housing search easier. You and a potential co-applicant will receive, among others, an application summary and a link for verifying your application by email. An email address must be personal because there can only be one email address per person in the application system.
A personal email address is extremely important in the case that you or a co-applicant have verified your identity physically by visiting the rental apartment search customer service. The email address will also be used as your login ID for the rental apartment search service.
If you do not have a personal email address and you cannot verify your identity through strong authentication with online bank identifiers or a mobile certificate, please contact the rental apartment search customer service.
16. When will there be more information available regarding new buildings?
We do our best to announce new buildings at least three (3) months before they are completed. New buildings are announced after we have received the necessary information from the builder and Heka.
17. What happens if I decline a housing offer?
An applicant declining a housing offer may not receive a new housing offer. Declining an offer will not aid you in receiving a new housing offer. It is therefore important to select areas to which you really want to move and search criteria that are truly important to you.
18. Do you check applicants' credit ratings when they apply for housing?
We check the credit ratings of all applicants who are of age from Suomen Asiakastieto’s credit rating register before making a housing offer. You can check your own credit rating once a year free of charge from Suomen Asiakastieto or Bisnode.
19. Will a poor credit rating affect my chances of getting a housing offer?
Having rental debt or other such housing-related debts may prevent you from receiving a housing offer. Other issues related to credit rating are not considered an obstacle to receiving housing.
20. What should I do if I have rental debt?
If you have rental debt or other housing-related debts and you have submitted your application, you need to send us one of the following:
a) a statement from your landlord that you have paid off your debt
b) a payment plan made with a reliable party (such as social service debt counselling or the national enforcement authority) with receipts of instalments that have already been paid.
Submitting a payment plan or paying off your rental debt does not guarantee you will receive housing.
21. Will rental debt affect the type of lease I am offered?
If the applicant has had housing-related debt, the rental agreement will start out as a fixed-term lease agreement. When the lease expires, the landlord (Asuntohankinta or Heka) will reassess the situation.
22. Do yo need a certificate (e.g. for Kela) stating that you have a valid housing application?
If you have submitted your application in our e-services, you will be able to go to your folder and print a certificate stating that you have a valid application pending. If you have submitted your housing application without strong authentication, save the summary of your application data once you have submitted it. The summary is in PDF format and specifies when you submitted your application. It also states that the application is valid for three months.
We do not print or send copies of applications to applicants.