Realisation of tenant democracy within Helsingin kaupungin asunnot Oy
The main focus of the assessment was on examining whether the influencing opportunities of residents have been ensured within Helsingin kaupungin asunnot Oy (Heka) in accordance with the City Strategy and the Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings. The 2017–2021 City Strategy stated that “the residents’ opportunities to influence the decision-making will be protected and democratic steering concerning the city’s rental apartments will be ensured”. During the assessment period, the reform of the Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings from 1990 was under way and the draft law was circulated for comments in March 2022.
According to the assessment, Heka’s tenant democracy does not observe the Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings in all of its aspects. In practice, the housing committee does not have its right pursuant to the Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings to decide on the general rules nor the renting and distribution principles for parking spaces, saunas, laundry rooms and similar facilities. Heka justifies this deviation from the legislation by stating that in order to ensure equality, a large company must have the same rules and justifications for different houses. On the other hand, Heka applies the tenant democracy more extensively than the legislation requires: Appropriations are allocated for resident activities and the residents are given the opportunity to appoint a residents’ representative for the planning of significant repairs of the buildings in the rent determination unit. Furthermore, Heka pays the members of the tenant democracy bodies meeting fees, starting from the housing committee level.
The recording of the City Strategy has not resulted in concrete actions by the city owner. Activists for residents’ rights deem the residents’ authority and influencing opportunities to be insufficient. According to the activists’ opinion, the residents’ needs and wishes are not taken into consideration well enough at Heka.
The assessment discovered that the rules of the resident democracy do not include the processing of the written report of the supervisor for Heka’s finance and administration in the duties of the tenant advisory board, and similarly, the duties of the cooperation body of the regional office are lacking the processing of the reginal supervisor’s written report. In addition, it was noted that the tenant democracy rule does not include decrees regarding how it can be updated.
as the body responsible for ownership steering, the City Executive Office must
- make sure that Heka’s Board of Directors ensures that residents have the influencing opportunities made possible by the tenant democracy rule.
- participate in the updating of Heka’s tenant democracy rule so that it follows the amended Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings.
- ensure that when Heka’s tenant democracy rule is next updated, it will include provisions regarding the processing of regional supervisors’ and Heka-level supervisors’ reports and a provision regarding how the rule can be updated.