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Who can get general housing allowance?

General housing allowance reduced in 2024, will no longer be available for owner-occupied homes starting in 2025

Parliament has approved cuts to the general housing allowance, which will reduce the rates of the allowance in 2024. Most of the changes to the general housing allowance will take effect on 1 April 2024. The changes will be applied to general housing allowances currently in payment the nexttime they are reviewed. General housing allowance will also no longer be available for owner-occupied housing as from 1 January 2025. 

Learn more about the changes to general housing allowances

If you have a small income, you can be granted general housing allowance from Kela. The purpose of the general housing allowance is to help you with your housing costs. The allowance is available for

  • rental homes
  • owner-occupied homes
  • right-of-occupancy homes
  • part-ownership homes

Students can get housing allowance under the same conditions as everyone else.

Pensioners with a low income can usually get a housing allowance for pensioners.

What is a household?

Housing allowance can be paid to households consisting of a single person or several persons. A household usually comprises the permanent occupants of a dwelling.

The housing allowance is granted to the household collectively. The amount of the allowance is affected by the incomes of all household members. You can only be the member of one household at a time.

The application is made by one household member on behalf of all residents. Persons who are part of different households can apply for housing allowance separately.

The following persons are always considered to be part of the same household:

  • married spouses and cohabiting partners
  • persons who have rented a home under a joint rental agreement.

Same household or different households?

Persons who are married, cohabiting or in a relationship and are sharing a home always belong to the same household regardless of whether they have a joint rental agreement or each has a separate rental agreement.

Cohabiting partners are part of the same household even if they live at separate addresses, if the reason for their living separately is work, studies or the performance of conscript or non-military service in another town or city.

The only exception to this are married spouses who are separated due to the break-up of their relationship. They are part of different households.

Describe your living arrangements in your application.

Roommates can be part of the same household or two different households.

Part of the same household

  • roommates with a joint rental agreement
  • roommates who under the rental agreement (or an appendix to the agreement) are jointly responsible for paying rent.

Part of different households

  • roommates with separate rental agreements
  • roommates who are subletting an apartment

Further, in order to be considered to be part of different households roommates may not be jointly responsible for paying rent for the entire dwelling (as specified under the rental agreement or an appendix to it).

A married or cohabiting couple, persons who are in a relationship and close relatives who share a dwelling are part of the same household regardless of the terms of their rental agreement. Close relatives means parents, children and grandparents.

Siblings sharing a home are part of different households if they have separate rental or sublease agreements.

Describe your living arrangements in your application.

Close family members sharing a home are part of the same household regardless of the terms of their rental agreement. Close relatives means parents, children and grandparents.

Siblings

Siblings sharing a home are part of different households if they have separate rental or sublease agreements.

Children

Underage children living independently are usually considered to be part of their parents’ household, but children who are entitled to student financial aid, for instance, and who live at a different address than their parents, can be granted general housing allowance.

Adult children (18 or older) who live independently are not part of their parents’ household.

Adult children living with their parents are part of their the parents’ household.

You are part of the same household as the persons living in your permanent residence even if you live temporarily elsewhere on account of studies, work, conscript or non-military service, or other reasons. Living elsewhere is usually considered to be temporary if it lasts no more than a year.

A person who has moved to Finland can be considered to be part of the household, if Kela considers that the person is permanently resident in Finland. One exception to this are students who have come to Finland to study here. They cannot be considered to be part of the household and they also cannot receive general housing allowance.

Subtenants are considered to belong to a different household than the main tenant or owner, with a few exceptions.

A subtenant who is the spouse or close relative of the main tenant or owner is part of the same household. Close relative means parents, children and grandparents.

If you get housing allowance payments and take in a subtenant, tell Kela about it.

Describe your living arrangements in your application

If you share a home with another person and you have separate rental or sublease agreements, you can provide more detail about your situation in the application. You can describe your circumstances, including whether you are roommates or are cohabiting. You can also describe what parts of the home are used by yourself and how you are dividing up the living space.

Kela will consider your case based on your description and may ask you to provide further information.

Kela takes into account such factors as

  • the reasons for moving together
  • the size of the flat or house
  • the duration of your residential arrangement
  • your age
  • whether you have lived together in the past

Read more

Last modified 15/12/2023

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