What happens behind every apartment change?

Story: Petja Savoila / Meom, Photo: Mari Mansikkamäki

Approximately half of the residents of Soihtu change every year. Apartments are checked after each tenant and if necessary,
cleaned or repaired.

With a total of 1,620 apartments, and when these inspections and follow-up procedures are done in one day as the old tenants move out and the new ones move in, it can become quite a hassle.

The Student Village has three moving seasons: early autumn, late December, and late May. Soihtu maintenance service does the
inspection, maintenance, and cleaning of the apartments. The inspection can be done once the previous tenant has moved out their belongings, but before the next tenant arrives.

“The first weekday of the month is our busiest day. On the day of the apartment inspections, we don’t do any other tasks,” says Sanna Kuisma, Real estate manager of Soihtu.

Nine out of ten apartments, there is nothing to clean or fix, and some tenants leave their apartments in pristine condition,
where in Sanna Kuisma’s words “it would be nice to move in myself”.

Apartment inspections are carried out in accordance with the list that is generally used in this field in Finland. After the inspection, the tenant will also receive a report in a PDF format in their e-mail.

“If the dishwasher has been removed, we check that the pipes have plugs in place and there are no water leaks, the plumbing fixtures are clean and intact and so on. Cleaning should be done keeping in mind whether the apartment is clean enough so that you would want to move into the apartment yourself,” Sanna Kuisma explains.

If the cleaning of an apartment has been not sufficient, the maintenance service’s own cleaner will be called on site. The maintenance
request is accompanied with photos from the apartment, demonstrating the needs for cleaning.

“The most typical situations include the freezer not being defrosted, the oven not being cleaned, or the detergents being forgotten
inside the oven. It may also be that the tenant hasn’t cleaned the floor behind the toilet seat so there is lots of dust. Floor drains are also often very dirty.”

Sometimes there are other life management issues associated with the neglected cleaning. A very thorough cleaning may cost up to 300 euros, but the tenant is also liable for any broken furniture.

“If a former tenant complains about a cleaning bill, then at this point I look at the previous apartment card that should have been filled when moving into the apartment and should tell about any pre-existing defects.”

Cleaning fees always raise discussion. In student housing, tenants move quite often, and even though the practices and cleaning rates are well-justified from the landlord’s point of view, they are a new thing for tenants every fall.

“I highly recommend reading the moving instructions and using common sense. If there is any doubt, you can ask the maintenance service anything.”

The text has been published in Kylä-Magazine 2/2021.

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