Finland set to require permits for short-term rental hosts

Finland: A number of cities and municipalities across Finland have drawn up a list of proposals, published by the Building Inspection Association, for how to regulate short-term rentals more tightly in the country.

The Finnish government is preparing to introduce legislation affecting short-term rental hosts as part of the Building Act, which is set to come into effect in 2025.

Under the proposed rules, any host who does not live in a property but rents it out on a regular, short-term basis will be required to apply for a permit as the unit/s will be classified as being used for commercial purposes.

The Building Inspection Association’s proposals mirror existing regulations already set out in the Finnish capital Helsinki and the city of Tampere, where there are 11 criteria for assessing a property’s use when it comes to listing a unit for short-term accommodation. Whereas Helsinki and Tampere have already taken steps to at least partially regulate short-term rentals, other popular destinations such as Rovaniemi in Lapland have taken a more relaxed approach towards the segment because they rely heavily on tourism for their economic growth.

Leena Salmelainen, supervision director of the city of Turku, told Yle: “One of the characteristics of this type of accommodation is that it is primarily offered for a short period of time, for example only for a few days. We are now drawing the line as to when a change of use is needed. If a dwelling is converted into accommodation, that is a material change of use.

What Airbnb was originally, is still okay. It doesn’t turn a residential apartment into an accommodation unit. We have a lot of people who need longer-term accommodation for work,” Salmelainen added.