Normal wear and tear of the dwelling and cleaning of the dwelling

Normal wear and tear of the dwelling and cleaning of the dwelling 

What is the purpose of this guide? 

This guide intends to instruct the parties to a tenancy agreement and to provide guidance to the landlord and tenant in situations where there is no clear solution to the issue of liability for repairs to the dwelling. 

This guide only applies to residential tenancies and is therefore not applicable as such to commercial tenancies.

For the most part, tenancies run smoothly from start to finish. In most tenancies, the apartment is only subject to normal wear and tear, which is usually the responsibility of the landlord. Situations of other damage to the dwellings are less frequent. Even when disagreements do arise, the parties usually reach an agreement on how to deal with the situation. 

Sometimes, however, the landlord and the tenant disagree. The Act on Residential Leases (AHVL, 481/1995) does not always provide an unambiguous answer to these situations. Therefore, a guideline is needed which defines normal wear and tear and the scope of the final cleaning to be carried out at the time of handover. It is hoped that this guide will help the parties to find an amicable solution to the situation. 

The guidelines on normal wear and tear set out in the guide are largely based on the case law of the Consumer Disputes Board and courts of law. The guide also contains a number of case studies, which represent a small sample of the rulings.

When reading the guide, please remember that the parties can always agree on the obligations in more detail when they sign the lease agreement. In this case, the lease agreement must be respected. The parties may by agreement extend or limit the tenant’s responsibility for the condition in which the accommodation is to be handed over at the end of the tenancy or for the condition in which the accommodation is to be handed over to the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy. If the tenant’s responsibilities are increased, for example by agreeing that the tenant will paint the walls of the dwelling, this may have an impact on the amount of rent.

This guide has been drawn up through the contribution of the Finnish Property Owners RAKLI ry, Finnish Real Estate Management Federation, Finnish Real Estate Agents’ Association, Finnish Landlord Association, Finnish Tenants VKL and Finnish Real Estate Federation. 

General information

The tenant must take good care of the dwelling (AHVL, 481/1995). In general, the landlord is responsible for the condition and upkeep of the dwelling. In this case, the tenant is not responsible for normal wear and tear caused by normal use of the dwelling. The landlord must hand over the dwelling at the beginning of the tenancy in an empty and tidy condition. Similarly, it is fair rental practice for the tenant to hand over the apartment at the end of the tenancy in an empty, well-maintained and cleaned condition. 

If there is a defect or deficiency in the dwelling that is the responsibility of the landlord, the tenant is entitled to a reduction in the rent for the period during which the dwelling has not been in the agreed or legally required condition. The tenant is even entitled to a total exemption from paying the rent if it has not been possible to use the dwelling at all. However, the right to a rent reduction or exemption from payment of the rent only applies from the moment when the landlord has been informed of the deficiency. 

You can access the guidelines in Finnish via the link below: 

Related case law from the Consumer Disputes Board and courts of law in Finnish can be found in the download link below: