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Finland's 'biggest landlord' raising rents by average of 12%

The city-owned Helsinki City Housing Company Heka says that rents for its more than 1,600 flats will rise because of higher operating costs and interest rates.

A group of protesters in front of Heka office 4 October 2023
A group of protesters gathered on Wednesday morning to voice opposition to the rent increases planned by Heka. Image: Lukijan kuva / Toivo Koivisto
Yle News

The CEO of the Helsinki City Housing Company Heka, Jaana Närö, told Yle that in line with a decision made by Heka's board on Wednesday, rents for its flats will rise by an average of 12 percent.

Dozens of protesters gathered in front of Heka's main office in the Alppila district of Helsinki early Wednesday morning to demonstrate against the rent increase.

Interviewed by Yle Radio Suomi's Helsinki morning broadcast, one of the protesters, Tiina Sandberg, argued that anyone with a mortgage takes care of their loans better than Heka does.

"Frankly speaking, it is outrageous that Heka is making us tenants pay for the mistake it made with its interest rate policy," she said.

Heka has justified the exceptionally steep rise in rents by pointing to the increase in loan interest rates and operating costs. Heka has financed the costs of its newer properties and major renovations with short-term Euribor-linked loans, whose interest rates have risen sharply. The company has a little over three billion euros in loans.

Heka has been the subject of intense criticism since mid-May, when its plan to increase rents first became public. The City of Helsinki has also criticised Heka's management for failing to manage its financial risks.

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