Haste in home sales could lead to fatal consequences that will later be regretted.

The temptation to act quickly can be great if the apartment for sale meets your own dreams and there are other interested people on display at the same time.

However, temperance is an asset.

Before submitting a purchase offer for an apartment, the buyer should carefully read the housing association’s papers.

In addition to the property manager's certificate, maintenance needs statement and financial statements, the articles of association are the most important documents in the housing transaction: the internal law of the housing association, which prescribes many matters affecting housing.

If the articles of association are ignored, the end result will be bad faith and financial losses in the worst case, says Kristel Pynnönen, Deputy General Counsel of the Real Estate Association.

There is a risk of disappointment, especially if the articles of association contain a so-called redemption clause.

The clause is the buyer’s worst nightmare.

It allows the housing association or other shareholders to redeem the apartment at an agreed purchase price in front of the buyer's nose.

The deals could crash even if the seller and the buyer had already signed the deed of sale, the bank had granted the buyer a mortgage and the money had changed hands.

- After all, it is a catastrophic situation for the buyer, Pynnönen says.

The redemption clause is rare for homes in new properties, but in old value houses it is by no means exceptional.

In practice, it is not advisable to move into the apartment until the redemption period has expired.

The time is a maximum of one month.

If the buyer has renovated the apartment and someone redeems the apartment after that, the redeemer is not obliged to pay the buyer a cent for the improvements made, Pynnönen says.

Instead, it is possible that the redeemer will even claim damages from the buyer if, for example, the apartment has been demolished due to the renovation and the renovation has not had time to be completed.

  • Read more: A section more than 100 years old can be taken under the owner-occupied dwelling

Can I make changes in the yard without permission?

Secondly, Pynnönen recommends clarifying from the Articles of Association which premises the shares to be purchased give the right to control.

Despite the general talk of buying a home, in reality, the buyer is not buying a physical apartment, but shares in a condominium.

For example, the yard belonging to the apartment is controlled by either the housing association or the shareholder.

This affects what you are allowed to do in the yard.

In the yard controlled by the housing association, the shareholder may not, in principle, make any changes without permission.

According to Pynnönen, the housing association may only allow small seasonal plantings but not necessarily shrubs or trees.

- I know that the housing company has demanded that the tufts planted by the shareholder in the yard be removed.

If the yard, on the other hand, is under the control of the shareholder, the shareholder may make even bigger changes there.

What is charged for everything?

Third, the buyer should make sure of what all the condominium charges for and how much.

This directly affects the cost of housing.

- Nothing is worth assuming, Pynnönen says.

The Articles of Association also show the division of maintenance responsibilities, ie what the housing company is responsible for and what the shareholder is responsible for.

The law lays the foundation for maintenance, but the articles of association of some housing companies deviate from the law and stipulate that shareholders have more extensive liability than usual.

- It can even apply to faucets, which are normally the responsibility of the housing association, Pynnönen says.

In addition, the Articles of Association may provide for exceptions that apply only to individual apartments - for example, those with balcony glass or an air source heat pump or a built-in sauna.

A ban on smoking may surprise the bully

In recent years, smoking bans have become more common in housing associations.

They come as a shock to some smokers when a cigarette is not allowed to be lit on the balcony when unloading the migration load.

The smoking ban imposed by the housing association is set out in the articles of association.

Similarly, renting an apartment for short-term Airbnb-type accommodation may be prohibited by the Articles of Association and scrap intentions to generate additional income.

However, the articles of association must not restrict housing too much.

According to Pynnönen, for example, not all pets should be categorically banned, even in allergy houses, as not all animals cause allergy symptoms.

The articles of association may therefore contain the most specific prohibitions.

They will only survive if the housing association is able to familiarize itself with its own law.

What are the articles of association?

  • The articles of association are an internal law of the housing association, which must be present in every housing association.

  • The Articles of Association define, among other things, the basis on which shareholders pay remuneration and which premises they are entitled to manage.

  • The Articles of Association also provide for possible exceptions to maintenance liability.

  • The provisions of the Articles of Association may be amended at the Annual General Meeting if the proposed amendments receive sufficient support.