People often need temporary accommodation when they are looking for a new house to buy or their own home is undergoing some major renovation.TO GIVE US a mortgage, the bank required that we sell our old home before buying a new one. Now we've exchanged contracts on our old place, which leaves us in a quandary: where will we live until we find a new house?

House-owners who need to move out because of renovation work on drains face the same dilemma: they also need to find a short-term home, while landlords expect tenants to sign a one-year lease.

Do we need to go to my mother-in-law's?

There is no need to do that, says Johannes Kangas, the managing director of Forenom, a company specialising in temporary accommodation solutions. According to Kangas, a family needing temporary accommodation has several options to choose from, depending on certain criteria, such as location, price and quality.

"Location makes a big difference. A family in Martinlaakso escaping from drain work may not be able to find anything suitable in Martinlaakso."

If the renovation project is completed ahead of schedule, can the family terminate their rental contract?

Rental agreements are valid until further notice and tenants can choose the period of notice to be either 7 or 30 days. With the longer notice period, the rent is lower.

Short notice for possibilities

The rental housing company Sato also has furnished flats available. Sales manager Asta Immonen says that rental prices for short-term lets at Satos's HotelHome accommodation can be enquired by phoning the company.

Sato's conventional rental flats have a one-month notice period. The company has vacant flats available at all times so a temporary home can be arranged at a very short notice.

If the timetable is not too tight, the company has a wide variety of bigger family flats to offer.

Nina Stenberg, a unit director at the Realia rental company, explains that sometimes their clients hesitate to say they are only looking for a temporary home, out of fear that only wanting a short-term lease will put them at the back of the queue.

Realia also has some flats that are not in great demand and is prepared to rent these out on a short-term contract. The company has on its lists flats that are owned by private investors, companies and foundations.

Private investors usually want the tenant to sign a one-year agreement or a contract that is in effect until further notice. An agreement valid until further notice can usually be terminated by paying the rent for a one- or two-month notice period.

Stenberg says that a rental flat can always be found if the tenant is not too picky. Eastern Helsinki and Espoo have got more rental flats available than the central Helsinki.

Few months on offer

Kim Jolkkonen, the real estate development director at VVO says that the company has flats available all the time, also small flats, which are sought after at the moment.

"We don't offer hotel-like accommodation for a couple of weeks, but we are happy to accept tenants for a few months," says Jolkkonen.

The majority of the VVO flats have a one-month notice period.

So there are plenty of options for people looking for short-term accommodation, even though a quick search online may give a misleading impression.

To date, Vuokraturva is the only rental housing company to have turned the quandary faced by people changing houses into a product.

The company launched a relocation service, through which tenants can find a rental flat for up to 8 months.

Why did Vuokraturva not grab the business opportunity earlier?

"Because it's not easy to turn this into a profitable business," answers Timo Metsola, the managing director of the company.

The service offers a solution for the company's own clients who may need a temporary home or are looking for a short-term tenant for their property.

"The landlord may be looking for a short-term tenant because they are going abroad or then drain renovation is set to start in a few months' time," explains Metsola.

"We turn what was originally intended to be a long-term let into short-term contracts. That way, there is plenty of choice."

Taru Taipale – HS
Niina Woolley – HT
Image: Kimmo Mäntylä / Lehtikuva