Residents of a VAV apartment building cleaning its yard together.

Residents can have an impact through co-management

Residents know their house the best. The law gives them a possibility to improve their own living arrangement and environment through co-management. Co-management gives tenants a possibility to have in impact on their own housing, with the aim of increasing well-being and improving the maintenance of rental houses.

Taking part in co-management activities is in the interest of both tenants and lessor. The lessor wants to keep resident turnover low; residents are interested in their rent.

– Thanks to the law, tenants get information on costs, and they can have an effect on e.g. maintenance and repair work done. They can also lower expenses by saving energy or making waste treatment more efficient, says Anne Salin, Senior Officer at ARA, the Housing Finance and Development Center of Finland.

Niila Lehtivaara is the chairman of one of VAV’s regional cooperation bodies (YTE) as well as the chairman of YTE chairmen. He has a good example from his housing complex in Vantaanlaakso on how to make good things happen.

In the spring tenant meeting, the need for a new garbage shelter came up. The amount of trash has grown, and the number of different recycling bins made the shelter really cramped. This fall, the housing complex got new vertical waste containers.

– The housing manager knew about the situation, but he doesn’t see it every week. This kind of action really starts with the tenants, Lehtivaara underlines.

Tenants have a say on purchases like playground equipment, use of common areas, and repairs.

However, Niila Lehtivaara calls for patience, as changes cannot be made in a day or a week. There are always many parties involved.

The most visible form of tenant activity are the get-togethers to work on the yard or other events, such as flea markets and children’s days. They are also the best methods of getting new tenants involved. Active people are needed: the more people are involved, the more ideas come up and get done.

New tenants, in particular, are often inactive

– This is why we have invested in training sessions twice a year to make them as interesting as possible.

You can read more about co-management and residents’ democracy here.