If you want to rent out your residence for short-term accommodation, take at least the following points into consideration:
- If you rent your residence for financial gain, this will likely be considered the provision of commercial accommodation services referred to in Finland’s Act on accommodation and restaurant services. What matters is whether the purpose of the activities is to produce financial gain, not whether your activities produce an actual profit.
- However, if you only rent out your residence occasionally, this is not considered a professional accommodation service. An accommodation service is occasional if it is one-off or only rarely repeated.
- If you rent out a room for long-term accommodation, the Act on Residential Leases will be applied.
Even if you are not a professional business, remember to:
- Verify the identity of your guests
- Acquire a hygiene passport, if you handle food.
- Ensure the fire safety of the residence or building and that the exits are all safe.
- Check whether your home insurance policy will cover any possible damage caused by paying guests.
- Follow your housing company’s rules. For example, notify the management company that you are providing accommodation.
- Determine whether you can sublet your apartment, if you are on a lease.
- Income from even the occasional rental of accommodations is taxed as capital income.
- You can deduct the expenses you incur that are directly related to renting your residence. However, you can only deduct expenses that are directly related to the period of accommodation: for example, expenses related to the actions of the lessor or part of the maintenance charges. If only part of the residence is rented out, the expenses must be relative to the floor area of the rented rooms.
- If you have lived in a residence continuously for a period of two years while owning it, you can sell the residence tax free. When renting out an entire residence even for short-term accommodation, this will interrupt the continuous period for which you have used the residence yourself, which may influence the tax-free sale of the residence.
- Remember to see to the payment of your taxes personally. Read more on declaring rental income on the Finnish Tax Administration’s website.
- If you sell different types of additional services, such as breakfast, cleaning or dinner in addition to renting accommodation, this can be considered accommodation subject to a value-added tax. Read more in the Finnish Tax Administration’s instructions on the Value-added taxation of accommodation services (in Finnish).
The accommodation provider is responsible for ensuring fire safety and the safety of emergency exits in the building. Remember at least the following:
- Buy enough fire alarms for your home and keep them in working order.
- Be aware of all the possible exits.
- Ensure that the necessary instructions are available in the residence (especially those for the sauna, fireplace and electrical devices).
- Make sure that the national emergency number and information on the location of the residence are in a visible place (especially if the location does not have a precise address). You can print out a location data form in various languages on the Emergency Response Centre Agency's website (the site in Finnish).
- Keep preliminary fire extinguishing equipment easily accessible and learn to use it.
- Also provide guests with information on how to ensure the safety of the residence.
Read more on fire safety in the home on the Paloturvallisuus.info website.
- Remember to check whether your home insurance policy will cover any possible damage caused by paying guests.
- Also see more information on the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE) website (in Finnish).
Professional accommodation services
If the business activities in question are professional accommodation services, please take the following into consideration:
- You must submit an official Passenger Card. Information on foreign travellers must be submitted immediately to the police department in the area where the accommodation is located. Ask your local police department for information on how to submit this information. Passenger Cards must be stored for a period of one year.
- Section 13 of the Heath Protection Act specifies that you must also submit a notification to the municipality’s occupational safety authority. Contact your local occupational health authority for more information.
- If your accommodation service serves regular meals (with the exception of breakfast), you must submit a notification on food premises pursuant to the Food Act and comply with the requirements laid down in the Act.
- A lodging company must draw up a rescue plan as specified in the Rescue Act. If you need more information, please contact the Rescue Department.
- If you intend to start an accommodation service in a property that is a residence, contact your municipality’s building inspection authority to see whether any steps need to be taken when changing the purpose of the residence.
- Before initiating business transaction, ensure whether this will require amending the articles of association of the housing company in question.
- If your accommodation service is subject to tax legislation and VAT, you must register in the VAT register. For more information, see the Finnish Tax Administration’s instructions (in Finnish or Swedish).