‘Sauna Rental’ Politicians Planned Small Living Arrangements

City inspectors say the 62 square metre sauna is not supposed to be used as a residence, and the MPs must immediately stop living there.

File picture of sauna showing bucket and two towels / Credit: iStock

Two Finns Party members of parliament say they planned to live from time to time in a small sauna they rented, and claimed as their Helsinki home-from-home.

In a new statement to parliament, MP Ville Vähämäki says that he rented the sauna as a second home because the rent notice stated that it could be used as a pied a terre – a small apartment for occasional use – since his primary residence is outside the capital region.

Previously, Vähämäki said he never planned to live there permanently, just stay from time to time as his parliamentary schedule dictated.

The landlord who leased the sauna to Vähämäki in 2013 says that he told the Oulu politician it was a sauna facility, and not meant to be lived in.

Parliament is now expected to take up to two weeks to decide whether the MP is entitled to an increase allowance for using the sauna as a home. In August, a city inspector checked the premises and said it was not authorised as a residence, and that such arrangements must immediately stop.

Second Sauna Occupant

The 62 square metre sauna facility was also used by another Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen, who said in a statement that Vähämäki never told him it was unsuitable to live in.

Hakkarainen has had other legal troubles this year.

In June, he was convicted of assault and sexual harassment for accosting a female MP in parliament in December 2017, grabbing her by the throat, and forcibly kissing her.

He was fined more than €3000 and ordered to pay a further €1400 compensation to Veera Ruoho (NCP). Hakkarainen had been attending a Christmas party, and admitted to being so drunk that he couldn’t remember the attack.

After the conviction, the Finns Party said they wouldn’t be taking any more action against Hakkarainen, who received a warning from the parliamentary group, and took time off work to get help for his alcohol problems.