Getting an apartment in Finland VS. Paris

Few months ago I wrote about my flat researches in Rovaniemi and moving plans there. Well, time went super fast and I always started to write something and then never finished. Now I am actually already settled in Rovaniemi in my new flat, but I can still give you a little shortcut about looking an apartment in Finland, and tell you how easily things work here…compared to Paris at least!

Some background information: When I moved to Paris in 2009 my first apartment there was a 9m2 “chambre de bonne“, in the 6th floor (without elevator!) of a very hype building in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. The rent was 615€ per month. And to get that ‘awesome’ apartment I spent about 2 months of visiting places and learning how to make a proper file with all the documents that landlords were asking… From working contracts to tax-informations…. I also had to ask my French grand parents to caution the apartment and to help me on paying the 3 months of rent that was asked at advance!

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The only picture that I could find about that tiny Parisian apartment, was from the day that I moved out from there!

This is to give a little sigh on what looking for an apartment in Paris, can look. I made the same thing few years later with my ex boyfriend and even then it wasn’t much easier, but we were lucky and got some help from our workplace on that time…

Anyway, in Finland no-one asked anything, when I confirmed the first apartment that I was offered.

First I applied for the student-apartments in Rovaniemi, but as they could offer especially shared flats, I also started to look on the private markets.  After many years of sharing my apartment with someone, this time I really felt that I want to have my place. As private markets in Rovaniemi were quit stuck, I also sent an application for KAS, Municipal Housing Homes. It’s a kind of real estate agent for the citys’ apartments. I just needed to fill the application online, and BIM! In two days they already sent me an offer! I was really surprised about that because I had heard that when you apply for the municipality, it always takes time… They sent me an interesting offer which I had to accept or reject within 5 days. Without seeing the apartment, being still in Kalajoki for my summer work, I decided to accept it. In France  I would have never-ever accept an apartment without seeing it first, but in Finland I know that they respect all the laws and do things very correctly. The only thing I was afraid of was that the walls would have had some horrible colors… (few years ago one of my friends moved in an apartment that she hadn’t seen before, and it was quit a surprise when one wall was pink!).

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I could only see pictures from outside, but any from inside, because there was still someone living…

 

But the most surprising thing for me was, how easily the processes went. We agreed everything by phone, the only document that I was asked to send to the agency, was a proof of my study place. I was almost about to ask “are you sure, you don’t need any other documents?” But I decided to stay silent and be happy that any incomes, tax returns or birth certificates were asked…  And the same day I got my lease by email, printed it, signed it and sent it back as an iphone picture. And that was it! I got they keys by showing my ID at the agency few weeks later.

I don’t know if that went so easily, because I’m a student now and because I rented trough that agency, but in general people who rent on private markets also, never need to show as much papers and proofs as in France. Of course I get the point of that in France, where is so much more people living, but it’s literally a hellish nightmare to rent an apartment in Paris.

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The first week I slept on air-mattress, but it didn’t matter because I finally had my own closet for my clothes!

Actually my positive surprises didn’t stop there, as the next thing I had to do, was the electricity contract. The KAS-agency gave me names of electricity suppliers and I just needed to contact them by email or by their internet-site and in 24hrs they sent me their offer and we made the contract trough internet. I didn’t see anyone or talked in phone with a single person, but I got my electricity contract, AND everything was working since the first day I got to the apartment.

And yes! When I got to see the apartment for the first time, after that I had signed the contract and already paid one month of rent, I was satisfied :). I have one small bedroom with a balcony, and one living room/kitchen + bathroom and entrance, around 40 m2 and the rent is under 450 e per month. By bike I’m 15 min from the university and the city-center.

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The next amazing things about Finland are the student offers ;).

 

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