New residential buildings are finding it easier than old ones to place bans on short-term rentals.
The first residents have yet to move into Graniittilinna ("Granite Castle") in Turku, a newly refurbished residential building, but that hasn’t prevented its housing association from ensuring owners won't rent their flats through Airbnb, a short-term letting website.
The building’s articles of association prohibit short-term letting. Owners wishing to rent flats for shorter periods of time must seek permission from the housing association.
"We wanted to protect our residents from some of the problems other housing associations have faced, such as visitors not following building rules,” said Olli Ojala, who chairs Graniittilinna’s housing board.
In an existing residential building, all shareholders must agree to a ban on Airbnb-type rentals. This is why it’s easier for new buildings to establish limits on rentals—buyers automatically accept the rules at the time of purchase.
"Our prohibition on short-term lets has probably put off some property investors, but this is a safeguard for owners who plan to occupy their flats," Ojala explained.
Virpi Hienonen from the Finnish Real Estate Federation told Yle that it’s still extremely rare for new housing companies to limit short-term lets. She said most residential buildings in Finland don’t have a problem with holiday rentals, although housing associations are sometimes unsure of how to deal with problems caused by guests.
Mia Koro-Kanerva of the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation pointed to the contradiction whereby many people say they’d gladly stay in an Airbnb property when on holiday, but hardly anyone wants to live next to one.
Koro-Kanerva told Yle there were some apparent holes in Graniittilinna’s Airbnb ban.
"They would have to define what constitutes a short-term rental. If one owner is given special permission to rent out their flat for a short period of time, all owners must be informed of what constitutes special circumstances. The same rules must apply to everyone. So to me this sounds like a complicated system that leaves room for interpretation," she added.