New security regulations for foreigners buying property in Finland

From 2020 anyone from outside the EU or EEA will need permission from the Ministry of Defence to buy any sort of real estate.

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File picture, aerial panorama of Helsinki / Credit: iStock

The government is introducing new regulations for foreigners buying property in Finland.

From 2020 anyone from outside the European Union or European Economic Area will have to get permission from authorities to buy any kind of real estate.

The Ministry of Defence is in charge of the scheme, and buyers must apply for permission either before the deal is done, or within two months after it.

Applications can be made online, and there will be a charge – although prices haven’t been set yet.

Why is the change coming into force?

Although the ministry doesn’t want to point fingers at any specific country, the reality is that authorities don’t want Russian nationals buying real estate next to military installations, for security reasons.

“It’s actually sort of born out of the deteriorating security situation which the Baltic region finds itself. I wouldn’t say it’s reactive to something that happened but we are looking forward to the future and understanding what kind of threats we might be up against, and prepare ourselves for that” explains Matias Warsta, Senior Environmental Adviser at the Ministry of Defence.

In practice if someone wants to buy a house or a flat that is nowhere near a sensitive site, the system should work smoothly and the approval is expected to be nothing more than a formality.

“Our current idea is to make sure there is no systematic buying programme going on in Finland, and it should be pretty straight forward to buy properties but of course it’s a different situation if the location is a strategic one” Warsta tells News Now Finland.

“If it’s a summer cottage or a single house, it should be straight forward to get a permit, and the idea is those permits will be issued, and it will not take a long time” he adds.

There’s more details available in English on the Ministry of Defence website.