Taking over ownership of a housing share

Taking over ownership of a housing share means that the owner of the housing share temporarily loses the right to use the apartment or unit. This can happen, for example, when the housing company has reasons to suspect that the shareholder has violated the company’s rules or caused disturbances to other residents. Taking over ownership can also result from unpaid fees or other obligations.

Taking possession of an apartment means that the housing company takes control of the unit by a decision made in a general meeting and leases it out. The rental income is used to cover the costs incurred by the housing company due to the takeover. Taking over ownership is always a last-resort measure and is closely regulated. Therefore, takeover is not considered for minor infractions.

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Warning
Before taking over, the shareholder and potential tenant must be given a written warning regarding their objectionable actions. The warning should state the grounds for it and mention the housing company's right to take over the housing share if the behavior underlying the warning continues.


Decision for takeover in a general meeting
The housing company has the right to resort to taking over the housing share if the problems persist despite the warning. According to the maximum period set by the law, the apartment can be taken into possession for up to three years, after which its possession must be returned to the owner. The decision to take over the housing share is made in a general meeting.


Notification of the decision
The decision of the general meeting must be notified in accordance with the Housing Limited Liability Companies Act within 60 days. Otherwise, the decision is ineffective.

The reasons specified by the law for taking over a housing share are:

1. The shareholder fails to pay overdue maintenance fees or fails to heed a warning and the costs incurred by the company for calling a general meeting;


2. The apartment is managed so poorly that it causes harm to the housing company or another shareholder;


3. The apartment is used significantly contrary to the designated purpose or other stipulations in the articles of association, or if the purpose is not specified, contrary to the purpose approved by the company or otherwise established;


4. Disturbing behavior is taking place within the apartment;


5. The shareholder or another resident in the apartment does not adhere to what is necessary for maintaining order in the company's premises.

Contents of the Decision
The decision regarding the takeover of a housing share must always specify the basis for taking over, the duration of the takeover, and the spaces subject to the takeover.

Initiating summary proceedings for undisputed disputed monetary claims

When the matter of monetary claim is undisputed, it can be initiated through a simplified summons application. Undisputed monetary claims fall under the category of summary dispute cases. An undisputed monetary claim refers to a situation where the debtor has not contested the debt, meaning they haven't, for instance, disputed the basis or amount of the claim. The prerequisite for a simplified summons application is that, according to the creditor's perspective, the matter is not in dispute. If a matter initiated through a simplified summons application becomes disputed, it will be processed in the same way as regular disputed cases.

District Court's Electronic Service Portal - Finnish Judicial Administration (oikeus.fi)

The landlord may find themselves in a situation where they need to terminate an ongoing lease agreement. There can be many reasons for this. Before taking action, it's advisable to carefully determine whether there are legal grounds for ending the lease. Terminating a lease agreement without valid reasons can be costly for the landlord. The landlord can terminate the lease agreement by giving notice or by terminating it. Termination refers to the immediate ending of the lease relationship without a notice period.

The lease agreement typically ends when the tenant provides notice, which doesn't require any specific reasons. According to the law, the tenant's notice period is one month, starting from the last day of the calendar month in which the notice was given, unless otherwise agreed. The tenant's notice period cannot be extended by agreement.

When the landlord terminates a contract that has been in effect for at least a year, the legal notice period is a minimum of six months. If the tenancy has lasted for less time, the notice period shortens to three months. To obtain immediate protection against termination, the tenant must file a lawsuit in court within three months of receiving the notice, challenging the termination's validity. The termination by the landlord can be declared ineffective. This is possible if the court considers the termination unreasonable based on the tenant's circumstances, and if there hasn't been an acceptable reason for the termination. Indirect protection against termination can still be demanded by the tenant even three years after the lease ends. In this case, the court will consider whether the termination of the lease was contrary to good manners.

The grounds for cancelling a residential tenancy agreement are considerably stricter than those for giving notice to terminate the tenancy. The grounds for cancellation are exhaustively listed in Section 61 of the Act on Residential Leases. The most common grounds for cancellation are unpaid rents or disruptive behavior by the tenant within the premises. In the case of the latter ground, the landlord is obligated to provide the tenant with a warning before proceeding with the cancellation. If the tenant's behavior continues despite the warning, the tenancy can be cancelled. On the other hand, if the basis for cancellation is non-payment of rent, giving a warning is not a requirement for termination. Instead, the general condition applies to non-payment of rent, which states that the tenant's default should have a significance greater than minor for the tenancy to be cancelled. For instance, the fact that the tenant has paid the rent a few days late once does not justify cancelling the lease agreement.

The landlord can cancel the tenancy by providing the tenant with a notice of cancellation. The notice should mention the grounds for cancellation. Additionally, it's good to include in the notice the end date of the tenancy and information about when the tenant should vacate the premises at the latest. The end date can be the same day on which the notice is delivered to the tenant. The move-out date can be no earlier than the day following this. On the move-out date, the tenant should leave half of the premises under the landlord's control. On the day following the move-out date, the entire premises should be vacated and left under the landlord's unrestricted control. The notice should be delivered to the tenant in a verifiable manner. In practice, this means that the tenant acknowledges the receipt of the notice, either electronically or physically, with their own signature. The notice cannot be left in the tenant's mailbox with the assumption that the notice will be brought to the tenant's attention this way.

If a tenant refuses to voluntarily vacate a residential property, the tenancy must be terminated through a court decision. An eviction lawsuit is handled in the district court as a summary dispute case. In a summary dispute case, a lighter process is applied compared to other types of lawsuits. Typically, eviction cases are resolved with a unilateral judgment. With a unilateral judgment, the landlord can request the enforcement of the judgment, which involves carrying out the eviction, from the enforcement authorities.

Usually, the enforcement authorities arrange the eviction by notifying the tenant of the move-out date. The tenant is usually granted a three-week period to move out. If the tenant has not moved out by that date, the enforcement authorities can forcibly remove them from the premises and dispose of any worthless belongings left behind.

The eviction process typically takes several months. As a landlord, it's advisable to be prepared for the property to be vacated within approximately 3-6 months from the initiation of the eviction process in the district court.