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The law relating to the requirements for obtaining a permit to own real estate in relation to actors from countries outside the European Union and the European Economic Area has proven to be necessary.

The law on the requirement to obtain a permit for the purchase of real estate in relation to actors outside the European Union and the European Economic Area came into force two years ago and, according to investigations by the Ministry of Defense, has been shown to be necessary.

As of November 30, 2021, the Department of Defense has received 1,101 applications for property acquisition permits. By the end of November, 1,059 decisions had been made. 888 permit decisions were granted for individuals and 171 permit decisions for companies and associations.

The largest groups of applicants by nationality are citizens of Russia, Ukraine, China, the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and India. Geographically, the permits granted are evenly distributed among the provinces, but in terms of nationality, there are differences in where the acquired property is located. Most of the properties were acquired for residential or recreational use. About 80% of those who obtained a permit already live in Finland.

Implementation of the state’s right of first refusal was considered in some areas less than five times during the law’s term, but all of these cases resulted in voluntary purchases. Deals were concluded between Finnish players and advance purchases were considered to secure the activities of the Armed Forces or the Border Guard and to develop activities.

Permit laws had a protective effect on irregularities in the real estate trade. In addition, the position of the Ministry of Defense with regard to property ownership has improved significantly. According to the Ministry of Defense, cooperation with the authorities has also gone well.

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However, further clarification is needed in both permit law and state law prior to purchase. Development goals include issues related to access to information, identification of clients, sources of financing real estate transactions and national security.

The goal is to develop legislation so that it responds faithfully to the specific objectives of these laws and, on the other hand, also to future challenges. The Defense Ministry has prepared to prepare a government bill to begin in the spring of 2022, if approved.

https://www.defmin.fi/files/5302/Forsvarsministerets_utredning_till_forsvarsutskottet.pdf

More information is provided in the Department of Defense by Sarah Kagander, Head of Unit, [email protected], Tel: 0295140 080 and Anu Sallinen, Consultant Officer, [email protected]Tel: 0295140335.