Why are we renewing the tenancy agreements?
We want to treat all our tenants equally. Our oldest valid tenancy agreements are nearly 50 years old. Not all of the agreements meet the current legislative standards and having several kinds of agreements from different decades are sometimes difficult to administrate, and may cause unnecessary costs and difficulties for our tenants.
For example, not all tenancy agreements take into account the digital services, remote monitoring and the use of its data, or privacy protection regulations. The EU energy directive requires that the water consumption of apartments is invoiced based on actual usage. In addition, Finland is aiming to be smoke-free by the year 2030.
Sivakka will no longer charge a deposit either. This will make all our tenants equal and the already paid deposits will be returned upon the change. Short-term accommodation will be forbidden because all Sivakka apartments are meant to be used as a home by the person or family applying for an apartment, not for business purposes.
How will the tenancy agreements be renewed?
The tenancy agreements will be renewed via negotiation procedure. The new agreements will mainly be sent digitally. In order to sign the new agreement with a digital signature, the tenants must have their contact information up to date on MySivakka.
If the tenancy agreement is renewed by signing a paper contract, new agreements will be sent to the tenants six months before the new terms and conditions become valid. The agreements will be sent one housing unit at a time. The letter includes detailed instructions to renew the tenancy agreement.
The new terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement will be valid on 1.3.2023.
In three of our newly renovated or soon-to-be renovated housing units the water billing will be valid from 1.1.2023. The terms and conditions will also be valid at the same time in these three housing units. The new terms and conditions will be valid from 1.1.2023 in the following housing units: Paalikatu 6, Repolantie 18, and Vasamatie 10. In all other housing units, the terms and conditions will be valid from 1.3.2023.
The renewed tenancy agreements will not be entered again into our database. This brings some challenges to digital transactions. Entering the renewed tenancy agreement as a new agreement would change the starting date of the tenancy agreement and the reference number for paying the rent. This will not be the desired way since it would be a disadvantage for our tenants; it would reset the starting date of the tenant benefit system and the tenant would have to renew the direct settlements with their bank, for example. It would also shorten the term of notice on Sivakka’s behalf.
All new deposit-free tenancy agreements will be signed with updated terms and conditions. The negotiation procedure applies to all valid tenancy agreements.
What is going to change?
Water billing based on actual usage will be valid once the apartments are renovated and the water meters are installed. On average, the living costs will not change as the rent will be reduced by the average water consumption once the change is made. The less water you use, the more you can save on living costs.
The new water billing system will be implemented in housing units that have the readiness for individual water meters in apartments. Tenants living in housing units that will have the water meters installed later will be informed two months prior to the change. We will provide all tenants with further information on how the water billing will be implemented once we have set up and tested the system. Tenants will receive a separate water bill that cannot be paid with the rent according to current information. If the water bill would be included in the rent, the tenant would not have the possibility to check their actual water consumption.
From now on, smoking is only allowed in designated smoking areas. Smoking areas cannot be arranged in all housing units, such as confined properties because the smoke could get into the apartments through open windows or air conditioning systems. This also applies to electronic cigarettes. The Sivakka board has accepted a strategic goal of being smoke-free by the year 2030, following the state objective.
After the renewed tenancy agreement, a security deposit will no longer be required from tenants. Tenants who have paid the deposit according to their current tenancy agreement, or have had their deposit paid for by social services without a claim of recovery decision, will have their deposit returned when the new terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement come into effect on 1.3.2023. Sivakka will collect all tenants’ bank account numbers to return the deposits. You can check the amount of deposit paid from your MySivakka account. You will be able to view the return times from the list of locations on the Sivakka home page starting in early 2023.
Deposits will not be fully collected when it comes to new tenancy agreements, which include the updated conditions (agreements approx. after 15.6.2022). Fixed-term contract deposits are effective according to the contract.
Changes to housing allowance
Sivakka and Kela have discussed the effects of the new terms and conditions on housing allowance. Kela’s grounds for housing allowance is a max. 19 € a month per person in water bills. A maximum of 50 € changes in housing expenses don’t have to be separately declared to Kela, instead, the situation will be taken into account during the yearly housing allowance inspection. If the tenant is entitled to social assistance when the agreement comes into effect, the tenant must report the change in housing expenses monthly. A reasonable and acknowledged water bill for social assistance is max. 22,80 € a month per person.
Grounds for rent review
The agreement will have two clauses regarding rent review.
- A) clause is effective if the apartment is bound by ARA restrictions
- B) clause is effective when the apartment is released from restrictions. The release date is documented in the contract for those apartments that it concerns.
Non-subsidized apartments always follow the B) clause.
Sivakka has done periodic inspections for over 20 years. All apartments are inspected bi-annually, and small, easily fixed issues can be tended to during the inspection. The objective is to prevent large damages and learn about the apartment’s technical situation from the tenant, should they be present during the inspection. The Sivakka residents’ committee has agreed to the inspections, as it has proved to be a good way to look after the condition of apartments. The renewal makes periodic inspections a condition in the tenancy agreement.
Moving out when the contract ends
In the future, the moving day is the end date of the tenancy agreement, and keys must be handed over to Sivakka on the end date by 9 pm.
Sivakka will transfer over to key boxes in all locations (except for Yli-Ii and Ylikiiminki) that allow for key pick-ups and returns outside of office hours. You can still personally visit offices during open hours*. The tenant will be given directions on how to hand over their keys when they terminate their tenancy agreement. The new practice will make moving out during the weekend easier.
Airbnb and serviced apartment ban
In the renewed agreement the tenant still has no right to sublet the apartment or a part of the apartment without written permission by the lessor, but the new agreement makes specifications to the clause. Sivakka apartments are let for the purpose of housing the household unit that originally applied for the apartment, and not for accommodation services. According to ARA’s interpretation, the rental law does not give the tenant a right to Airbnb-type renting.
Updating apartment models
Some apartments will be updated to fit modern customs. Spaces that were previously called open kitchens are by current standards called kitchen areas. This change will not affect the tenant but will simplify statistics and standardize apartment titles.