VVO Group participates in debate on housing policy, so that the number of rental apartments can be further increased to meet, for example, the needs of those relocating for work. The Group’s stable financial development and long-term owner base enable development of responsible rental housing in Finland.
The Group issued its housing policy theses in early 2015 to ensure an extensive range of rental apartments and a sufficient volume of new development.
1. Increasing rental housing production is important for labour mobility
Ensuring an extensive range of rental apartments and a sufficient volume of new development serve to benefit a home seeker and increase their freedom of choice. Rental housing production activity must be boosted by deregulation and investment in promoting an increase in the housing supply.
Factors that slow down residential construction must be tackled actively. Rental apartments must be built according to demand and customer needs, focusing on small apartment types. Municipalities must zone a sufficient amount of plots suitable for construction, and vacant offices must be converted for residential use. Zoning, as well as building and environmental permit processes, must be streamlined.
2. The conditions required for improving new construction
Factors that make construction expensive must be tackled systematically. Decreasing the amount of norms and regulations does not generate costs, and good and safe apartments can also be constructed under looser regulation. Detailed apartment size, facade, accessibility, parking space and air-raid shelter requirements must be lightened. In zoning and design solutions, the focus must be on overall financial and operational scrutiny. With sufficient zoning and supply of plots suitable for construction, the constant rise in plot prices can be stopped.
3. Control must be gained over the constant pressure on the cost of living, resulting from increasing costs
In decision-making, attention must be paid to its effects on the cost of living. Taxation-related solutions, such as energy taxation and property tax, create a clear pressure to make constant rent increases. Similarly, mending the municipal economy with changes in municipal waste, water and energy companies’ tariffs has an immediate effect on living.
4. Responsible and sustainable operations must be brought to centre stage
Development and ownership of rental apartments is a long-term activity that must be carried out responsibly. In the operating environment, it is important to ensure the predictability and stability of regulation: rental housing investments are made for decades.
Anti-grey economy work and wise energy consumption in properties must be promoted through economically viable solutions. Provisions for housing stock renovation and repairs must be made, and methodical efforts must be carried out to implement these activities. Long-term and systematic operations throughout the lifecycle of the properties as well as the stable development of the cost of living are in the best interests of the tenant. Renovation and repairs must be carried out during the entire lifecycle of the property, and residential areas must not be allowed to deteriorate due to neglect of these activities.
5. Support for living must meet housing needs
The difference between support for living and support for housing production must be clarified. Labour mobility is improved by targeting support for living at those who need it and directly at the cost of living. Everyone must be able to choose a home according to their needs. Housing allowance is targeted at the tenant and follows them if they move. Site-specific interest subsidy in own-risk rent determination is “wall-bound” housing allowance, which should be replaced with direct support for the cost of living.
Support for housing production should be provided through models that genuinely encourage the construction of properties, such as start-up assistance.