Basic social assistance and rental security deposit

When you move into a rental apartment, you are usually required to post a deposit for a few months or to pay rent in advance. If necessary, the landlord will use it to pay for any damage to the apartment.

Kela can grant basic social assistance towards the security deposit. It is usually provided in the form of a voucher which you can give to your landlord.

Assistance with the security deposit can be granted for example in the following situations:

  • divorce or end of cohabitation
  • health reasons
  • change in family size
  • homelessness
  • threat of homelessness
  • finding employment in another city or town
  • gaining admission to a degree-oriented educational programme in another city or town
  • moving to a more affordable apartment as required by Kela or the municipality.

Assistance with the security deposit is not granted if the move is being made

  • for convenience (e.g, access to a sauna or your own yard, moving to a more attractive part of town)
  • for the purpose of moving to a more expensive apartment
  • for the purpose of moving to city or town if is not necessary because of job or study reasons
  • for the purpose of moving out of the parental home without specific reasons
  • for other comparable reasons.

The cost of renting must be in line with what is considered to be a reasonable rent in each specific locality (PDF).

If the landlord must spend some of the security deposit for which you have been granted basic social assistance, Kela will consider tightening the requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for a new deposit. Kela will contact you before the deposit is paid to the landlord.

Applying for assistance with the security deposit

Basic social assistance is a benefit of last resort. As a rule, you are expected to pay the security deposit yourself.

If you need social assistance to cover the deposit, submit an application for a rental security deposit to Kela. Any deposit you pay yourself is not recognised as an expense for social assistance purposes.

  1. You must have a decision granting you basic social assistance for the month in which the security deposit is due. If you do not have a decision on basic social assistance, you must first apply for the assistance online via Kela’s e-service (Finnish). You can apply for assistance with the security deposit at the same time.
  2. If you already have a decision on basic social assistance, apply for assistance with the security deposit on the form titled Rental security deposit (TO2e (PDF)). There is no separate online form to apply for help with the security deposit.
  3. Enclose a preliminary rental agreement or offer of rental accommodation, including details of the accommodation, landlord, rent and rental security deposit.
  4. You will receive a separate decision about the security deposit which includes a voucher. If you want Kela to send the deposit directly to your landlord, state that in your application.

The security deposit is granted for a specific dwelling. If your lease agreement is open-ended, the security deposit is as well.

If you have a fixed-term lease agreement, the security deposit is valid throughout the rental period. If you make a new lease agreement for the same flat or house after the fixed-term agreement has ended, you must submit a new application for assistance with the security deposit. You can use the e-service or file a new application with Kela (TO2e (PDF)). Enclose the new lease agreement or rental offer with your application. The new agreement must be delivered to Kela right away or no later than one month after the previous agreement expired.