First the good news: Helsinki is a very safe city, apartments are well maintained and the public transport network is excellent. The bad news? There is great demand for housing as Helsinki is Finland's only metropole and there are not enough apartments for everyone wanting to move in. So be one step ahead and start looking for an apartment right after receiving your acceptance letter! We recommend you are active yourself as we cannot guarantee that all students will get a flat. Just so you know, the peak time in applying for housing is at the beginning of the academic year.
Be prepared to pay more
Helsinki’s loveliness and high living standards come with a price. You should have 700–1000 euro for living expenses per month of which 450–700 euro per month for housing. For the residence permit you are required to have 560 euro per month on your bank account, but that will not be enough for living in Helsinki.
The more channels the better
Apply for an apartment simultaneously through various channels (see below) to increase your chances of getting an apartment. And remember: if you receive a housing offer – take it! As the competition for housing is keen in Helsinki, it is unlikely you will receive another housing offer. Also please note that the University does not offer temporary housing.
Find a flat mate!
If you wish to live with a flat mate, you can look for one e.g. on Facebook:
Remember to be polite
Especially in Helsinki, where the demand for housing is high, one housing offer might receive dozens of replies. To improve your chances to get an apartment, consider the following tips while replying to a housing offer or writing your own announcement:
- Introduce yourself and tell that you are studying at the University of Helsinki.
- Express your interest for the apartment in question.
- Remember to write in full sentences.
- If you decide to attach a picture of yourself, the picture should be decent.
- If you find an interesting housing offer e.g. on Facebook, it is recommendable to contact the person via private message rather than only on the comment field.
- Make sure to leave your contact information (phone/email).
- Most importantly: be polite and take time to write your reply/announcement!
Could you live further away from the city centre?
The further you live from the centre of Helsinki, the cheaper the rents and the bigger the selection of apartments on offer are. Also, the public transport network is vast and connections are frequent and punctual, so living further away is not a problem! You can check the public transport connections from your apartment to the campus from the Journey Planner.
Never send money or your passport information to anyone!
There are a lot of scam announcements online, so do not send money or your passport details to anyone on the open market before you have seen the apartment and signed a contract. An offer that sounds too good to be true (e.g. a studio flat under 500 euros in the centre) is usually a scam.
Cancel unnecessary applications
Remember to cancel unnecessary applications after finding accommodation. Otherwise other students in the queue might have to wait longer for their housing offer.
No flat before arriving in Finland? Book a hostel room early!
If you haven't received a housing offer by mid-August (or mid-December for the spring term) it is likely that you won't get a flat by the beginning of September/January. In this case it can be a good idea to secure temporary accommodation for the whole of September/January right away. Most flats and rooms are vacant from the beginning of the month.
If you have applied for a Hoas apartment but have not yet received an offer, you can also make use of the Forenom Pitäjänmäki hostel offer. Forenom offers Hoas applicants hostel accommodation in private rooms for 22€/night if the duration of the stay is at least 7 nights.