Housing health, inspections
We provide advice on issues related to indoor air and housing health. We conduct housing inspections at the request of residents if there is a reason to suspect that housing conditions are causing a health hazard. The inspections are based on the Health Protection Act. We carry out inspections in Espoo, Kauniainen and Kirkkonummi. Our customer service, tel. 043 826 6263, is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 to 11:00. You can also contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Housing conditions must not cause harm to the health of the residents.
The owner of the property is responsible for maintaining and repairing buildings and investigating the reasons for any damage. When a health hazard is suspected, you should first contact the property owner or their representative, for example the building manager (“isännöitsijä” in Finnish), the chairperson of the board or the lessor.
Health hazards may be caused, for example, by coldness, poor indoor air quality, dampness or noise. If the property owner fails to carry out the required investigations or repairs, you can contact Espoo Region Environmental Health Services.
We ask you to preferably contact us through the housing inspection request form. Fill in the form and send it as an email attachment to email@example.com.
You can find a more detailed definition of a health hazard in sections 26 and 27 of the Health Protection Act (763/1994).
- Download file: Asunnontarkastuspyyntö.pdf.Asunnontarkastuspyyntö.pdfFile is only available in FinnishFile is only available in Finnish
A dirty or cluttered dwelling does not automatically cause a health hazard as defined in the Health Protection Act. Residents are allowed to live as they please as long as their living conditions do not cause a health hazard or danger to others. If you suspect that the dirtiness of a dwelling causes a health hazard and, for example, abnormal odours are spreading from a dwelling to the building staircase and other dwellings, you should first contact the owner of the property or their representative (usually the building manager or the board of the housing company).
The Limited Liability Housing Companies Act and the articles of association define the responsibilities and obligations of the housing company and its shareholders. The property owner may make an inspection visit to a dwelling in order to issue necessary cleaning requests and to investigate the need for repairs. If necessary, the property owner may also take temporary possession of the dwelling.
If there is reason to suspect that the occupant of the dwelling has life management or mental health problems, we recommend that you contact the Adult Social Work Unit of the Western Uusimaa Wellbeing Services County. Social workers will assess whether the resident needs help at home or if the dwelling is in need of special cleaning. If you are concerned about someone, you can submit a notification of concern (notification of the need for social welfare services) through the website of the Western Uusimaa Wellbeing Services County or by calling the number for adult social work. If the apartment is filled with clutter (= fire load), you should also notify the Fire Prevention Officer / Rescue Department of the matter.
If, despite the cleaning requests issued by the property owner, the occupant does not clean the dwelling, the property owner can contact Espoo Region Environmental Health Services in the matter (firstname.lastname@example.org). Espoo Region Environmental Health Services may only inspect the dwelling with the occupant’s consent. The inspector can only assess the possible health hazard caused by the conditions in the dwelling, such as abnormal odours, and, if necessary, request that the property owner (housing company) take action to eliminate the health hazard. The occupant of the dwelling may also be issued a cleaning request. Environmental Health Services does not take a stand on financial issues and does not provide or procure cleaning services (these are the responsibility of the housing company).
- Detailed instructions for keeping summer chickens are available on the website of the Finnish Food Authority: Checklist for people keeping chickens for the summer or as a hobby(external link)
- If you intend to keep summer chickens in Espoo, Kirkkonummi or Kauniainen, you must submit a notification to Länsi-Uudenmaan maaseutuhallinto(external link).
- Keeping poultry and other similar farmed birds outdoors is not allowed in the spring season between 8 February and 31 May. The birds must be kept indoors, or alternatively, their outdoor area must be fenced and covered with a sufficiently fine net. The ban prevents the spread of the bird flu between wild and farmed birds.
- The keeper of summer chickens must ensure that the feed given to the chickens will not attract rats or other pests. The chicken coop must be kept sufficiently clean.
Espoo Region Environmental Health Services does not recommend having one or more roosters in a detailed plan area where residential buildings are close to each other. The reason for this is the noise nuisance caused by their crowing.
- If you decide to have a rooster in a detailed plan area, you should be aware of the noise nuisance affecting your local area. Crowing may have a negative impact on neighbourly relations, and it is therefore advisable to discuss this issue with your neighbours before getting a rooster.
- In the summer, roosters may start crowing early in the morning, between 4:00 and 5:00, but they may also crow in the middle of the night. In these situations, the noise nuisance caused by crowing takes place during the quiet hours, typically between 22:00 and 7:00 for housing companies.
- The noise made by a rooster is very loud. In a densely built-up area, its crowing may bounce off the building walls and become even louder.
- You can have a closed chicken coop with walls where the birds can stay during the night. A well-built, preferably insulated chicken coop reduces the noise nuisance caused by crowing.
- Hens do not need a rooster to lay eggs.
Below you can find the guidelines of Espoo Region Environmental Health Services concerning the feeding of small birds.
- In an urban area, bird feeding should only be done on a small scale.
- It is recommended that you only feed birds during the winter.
- You should use suitable bird feeders and make sure that the area around them remains clean.
- Do not place a bird feeder very close to buildings.
- Bird food on the ground may attract rats. You should stop feeding birds if rats appear.
- If necessary, housing company rules may prohibit the feeding of birds.
The feeding of large birds, such as jackdaws, ducks and seagulls, is not recommended in urban areas.
- Download file: Lintujen ja oravien ruokkiminen.pdf.Lintujen ja oravien ruokkiminen.pdfFile is only available in FinnishFile is only available in Finnish
- Occasional sightings of individual rats are normal in urban areas. If there are sightings of more than one rat at a time or several sightings of individual rats during a short period of time, pest control should be considered. You can prevent rats by keeping yard areas clean and ensuring that household waste is protected from rats, e.g. waste containers are closed and intact.
- You should not feed deer in urban areas. Deer can cause dangerous situations and accidents in traffic. In addition, the feeding site may attract pests, such as rats.
More information on rats and deer is available on Espoo’s webpage on animals.
Burn wood cleanly
- Use dry and clean firewood
- Burning waste or rubbish in the fireplace of a residential building is prohibited.
- Chimney sweeping prevents smoke nuisance. The chimney of a residential building must be swept once a year.
- Factors that affect the formation of smoke include the lighting method, the size and amount of firewood, air and draught adjustments, and the size of the load. You should not overload your fireplace, especially when you are first lighting the fire.
- Each fireplace is unique. By experimenting with different methods, you can find the best way to burn firewood in your fireplace without causing smoke.
- According to the so-called tolerance obligation, neighbours must tolerate a certain amount of smoke nuisance. As a rule, smoke nuisance occurring once a week should be tolerated.
- If smoke nuisance occurs more than once a week or its duration is exceptionally long, it may cause a health hazard.
- Even short-term exposure to smoke can cause a sore throat, cough and shortness of breath.
More information on wood burning is available on the “Burn wood cleanly” website of the Helsinki Region Environmental Services(external link)