Residents’ democracy - active neighbour relations

In residential activities, you have the opportunity to influence the comfort and community of your living. Do you already know who is the char of the residents' committee of your building or would you be interested in joining the residents' committee? Residential activities include recreation, cleaning bees and clubroom makeovers and each building has its own budget. Get involved and bring up your own ideas!
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What is residents’ democracy?

In government-subsidised buildings, tenants are given decision-making power under the Act on Joint Management, as well as influence over their comfort of living. It is in the interest of both the owner and the residents that residents are comfortable and the building is maintained on a regular basis. If you are interested in residential activities, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the Act on Joint Management. Below is a list of important issues regarding residential activities. However, the most important thing is that you can do fun things together and influence your housing conditions.

Residents’ meetings

The Act on Joint Management specifies that each building must have at least one residents’ meeting per year. All residents aged 18 and over are entitled to speak and vote at the meetings. The meeting invitation is submitted on paper to each resident 7 days prior to the meeting as well as displayed on the notice board of the building. The meeting discusses matters defined by the Act on Joint Management and the meeting elects the residents' committee as well as the chair of the residents' committee for the next year and goes through issues related to the comfort of living.

Residents’ committee

The Residents' Committee is responsible for promoting the comfort, community and safety of the building. The residents' committee can organise activities for residents, such as cleaning bees, activities, board games or cooking nights, and redecorate the residents' club room. During its term of office, the residents' committee draws up a budget plan for the use of the money earmarked for resident activities. The residents' committee can bring its ideas and also other residents' ideas how to improve the comfort of living to AYY. 

All residents aged 18 and over can stand for election. Residents can decide how many residents are elected to the residents’ committee. During its term of office, the residents' committee decides how many meetings they hold and when.

Minutes of the residents’ committee meetings must be available to all residents. The minutes must be sent to AYY without delay and can be stored in their own folder in the clubroom, for example.

Chair of the residents' committee

After the residents have elected the residents' committee at the residents’ meeting, they vote for the chair of the committee. If there are no volunteers for the residents' committee, a trustee may be elected for the building, called castle warden. The term of office of the chair of the residents' committee and castle warden is one year.

If they wish, the duties of the chair of the residents' committee and the castle warden include monthly building rounds determined by AYY to check the condition of the building. AYY pays a separate fee for the building rounds.

Residents’ candidate for the committee on real estate finances

At the residents' meeting, residents can nominate one of their candidates to the AYY body that deals with the preparation and implementation of the financial management of the tenement buildings. The 7-9 members of the body, plus the President, meet about once a month to discuss current issues, typically related to the next Representative Council decisions or the Board of the Student Union.

The candidate is recorded in the minutes and the AYY is in contact with each candidate. The candidate is required to submit an application and a curriculum vitae. From these, the AYY will select one resident representative. The term of office is two years.

The term of office of a resident member of the institution is two calendar years and the member must be a member of the Students' Union. The Housing Cooperative appoints the resident representative and the appointment is confirmed by the Representative Council at its December meeting.

Housing Cooperative

The Housing Cooperative (ASY) consists of residents' representatives, who are usually the chairpersons of the residents' committees. At its meetings, the ASY deals with financial and property matters relating to the entire rental stock.

At the beginning of each year, the ASY is formed by inviting all the chairs of the tenants' committees to the first meeting of the housing association, where representatives and a chairman are elected. The ASY meets at least four times a year.

Budget for residential activities

Each house has a budget, which the residents' committee can decide to spend on recreation and purchases. For example, residents can buy furniture or games for the club room, a bike pump for shared use or a barbecue in the yard. Residents can organise board game nights, talks, Christmas parties or even plant useful plants together in the garden in planters. The budget is decided on a calendar year basis and communicated to residents.

At the beginning of the year, the Residents' Committee draws up a budget plan, which is approved by the AYY Residents' Committee Coordinator. A good guideline is to use the budget for both recreation and purchases.

How can I join residential activities?

First, find out if your building has a residents’ committee and a castle warden. If the last residents’ meeting of the year is approaching, attend the meeting and join the residents’ committee. If your building has a Telegram group, you can also contact residents interested in or already involved in residential activities.

Tenant Activity Coordinator Anniina Hakatie is the contact person between the residents and AYY. You can contact her with any questions related to residents’ democracy.

Contact: [email protected]

Useful links:

Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings 

ARA’s residents’ democracy guide (in Finnish) 

Castle Wardens

On this page, you will find contact details for the 2023 castle wardens.

Housing Cooperative

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