penelope wrote:There are no rates/taxes as such here, it's a completely different system to, eg the UK. Municipal tax is deducted from your salary, so it's based on what you earn - nothing to do with how big your house is or whether you rent/buy.
tizlit wrote: Your heating (for hot water you pay often between 15-20 E per person per month extra), is included in the rent.
sujitsu wrote:Welcome to Finland! I can't answer all of your questions, but I will try to help you a bit
Dogs: I think they will be fine in the cold weather - I have seen people walking Chihuahuas in -15C! The cold sounds bad on paper, but in Helsinki area it will always be somewhat tolerable if your dog is at least a bit furry House-wise, it seems much more common for Finns to have pets, so I imagine that landlords are more relaxed about it than in the UK. I live in an apartment block full of people renting and I always seem to be stepping over small dogs in the hallway...
Heating costs: I think that almost certainly these will be less than in the UK. If you live in an apartment, it's most likely that that you will be part of a communal heating system. So, you will pay a set amount every month (maybe for a big apartment ~€30+), but you will have all your heating and hot water sorted. Not only that, but your house will actually stay warm due to double-double glazed windows and good insulation (unlike UK!). In my opinion, this is the best thing about living in Finland!
House-hunting: I would definitely do this through a Finn, because the system here is a little bit different from the UK. Someone mentioned in this thread that people are reluctant to rent to foreigners... there may be some truth in this, perhaps through a fear of dealing with non-Finns (language and culture wise). I found that people's attitude changed if I attended viewings with a Finnish work-colleague, who could somehow vouch that I was trustworthy and responsible member of society (I work at a university and look really young, so they just assume I'm a student). It is useful to learn how to make your job-title in Finnish for this reason People say that August is the worst time for househunting, but this is mainly because it is when the students learn when they have been accepted to university. So this will be less of a problem if you are looking for something in a non-student area.
Learning Finnish: You don't need it, and you won't learn enough in 30 hours to construct a basic sentence. Most people speak English and all foreigners can get by without it. BUT. I HIGHLY recommend attending classes. They are hard and a bit boring, but understanding just small pieces of Finnish on a sign, or catching the gist of a conversation will make life here much easier. I didn't learn any for my first six months and I felt so alienated from society, I was a bit miserable. Now I take classes, and understanding just small things on a sign or on a tannoy or in a shop makes life much better, and I can tell that Finns really appreciate it when you make an effort to try out a few words here and there!
Anyway, a bit long winded but I hope that some of what I have said helps. And good luck with your move
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