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Have a look at this list of useful hints and sources of information for house hunters. Check out first the most important steps, then go ahead and apply for housing. Please note that there are separate housing quotas for Master’s degree students and exchange students.

Please note that the University of Helsinki does not provide accommodation for students and we cannot guarantee that you will find a place to stay – but we will do our best to inform our students about different providers of housing.

Most important steps

Hurry up!

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.

Hoas - Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki region

Hoas is the main non-profit organisation providing student housing in the Helsinki Region. For arriving students, Hoas offers rooms in shared apartments and studios as well as family apartments and friend apartments.

If you are an exchange or visiting student, you can find instructions for applying under Incoming Exchange and Visiting students

It is advisable to apply for an apartment as soon as you receive confirmation of your place of study – but no sooner than four months before you need the apartment. Your possibilities to receive an apartment from Hoas are improved if you are willing to live outside the centre and campus areas.

However, please remember that applying as soon as possible does not guarantee that you will get an apartment when your studies begin! Hoas cannot guarantee housing for all students. If you haven't received an offer by mid-August it is likely that you will not get a flat from Hoas by the beginning of September.

If you receive a housing offer from Hoas, there will be a mention about the beginning of the tenancy period on the offer. Most Hoas contracts start in August, but for some locations the tenancy period starts September 1st. You are expected to arrive in Helsinki before the Welcome Fair and orientation course begins. If your tenancy period starts September 1st, make sure you have booked a hostel or other accommodation for the last days of August.

The housing offer also includes the information on when you need to send/give Hoas an official certificate of your student status. If you have any questions about this or need an extension to the deadline, please contact Hoas directly.

Hous­ing op­tion for Mas­ter's de­gree stu­dents

We have reserved apartments especially for international Master’s degree students. These housing options have excellent connections to our campuses and to the city centre and what's more, the prices are reasonable!

Master's degree students not liable to tuition fees

Master's degree students liable to tuition fees

Incoming exchange and visiting students

Exchange students coming through an official exchange programme apply for housing in the Mobility Online application system. Please see more information on how to apply for housing as an exchange student.

If you are a visiting student, apply for Hoas housing directly through the Hoas website. Visiting students coming to study only for the spring semester can also apply for a furnished Hoas apartment via the summer apartment application form or contact directly sales@unihome.fi. See also other housing options below. 

University Marketplace

University Marketplace is a housing portal for students and staff at the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Registered users can e.g. browse listings as well as announce that they are looking for a flat or a flat mate or that they want to rent out a flat.

Please use an e-mail address provided by one of the above mentioned institutions when creating your account. If you have not yet acquired your University of Helsinki user account, please use the e-mail address you have provided when applying to the University.

Also note that possible tenancy agreements are made between the students - the higher education institutions only provide the technical creation of the platform. Students are themselves responsible for all the content and the communication. So like always, use common sense in what looks reliable to rent, and never provide your passport details or make payments before you have seen the flat offered.

Other housing options

To help you on the way the Student Union has created a short Finnish-to-English wordlist for househunting.

Short-term hous­ing

In case you don't have housing when you arrive, check the short-term housing options below:

Furnish your apartment

Furniture for reasonable prices can be bought at second hand shops. There are also two Ikea stores near Helsinki in Espoo and Vantaa, for contact information and instructions on how to get there, see Ikea's website. They also have a delivery service. For one-stop shopping, check out the shopping centres in Helsinki and the surrounding area. You can find directions on how to get to the different shops and stores by using the Journey Planner, street addresses are provided below. You may also want to search the University Marketplace and local Facebook recycling groups for affordable second hand furniture.

Shopping centres, department stores and shops in the Helsinki area

Forum (Helsinki City Centre): Mannerheimintie 14–20
Kamppi (Helsinki City Centre): Urho Kekkosenkatu 1
Stockmann (Helsinki City Centre): Aleksanterinkatu 52
Sokos (Helsinki City Centre): Mannerheimintie 9
Habitat (Helsinki city Centre): Keskuskatu 6
Clas Ohlsson (Helsinki City Centre): Mannerheimintie 4
Itis (Eastern Helsinki): Itäkatu 1–7
Jumbo (Vantaa): Vantaanportinkatu 3
Sello (Espoo): Leppävaarankatu 3–9
Iso Omena (Espoo): Piispansilta 11

Second hand shops and flea markets

Reuse Centre department stores and shops: Kyläsaarenkatu 8 (Helsinki), Kauppakartanonkatu 12 (Helsinki), Keinulaudankuja 4 (Helsinki), Kutojantie 3 (Espoo), Rusthollarinkatu 1 (Espoo), Hosantie 2 (Vantaa)
Fida second hand shops: e.g. Hämeentie 5a (Helsinki), Hämeentie 31 (Helsinki)
Kontti second hand department stores by the Red Cross: Visbynkuja 2 (Helsinki), Nimismiehenpelto 6 (Espoo), Tammiston kauppatie 8 (Vantaa)
Emmaus Helsinki flea markets: Mäkelänkatu 54, Gyldénintie 2
Hietalahti Flea Market: Hietalahti Market Square
Hakaniemi Flea Market (on Sundays): Hakaniemi Market Square