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A close look at student housing in Rovaniemi

Published : 11 Jul 2020, 22:51

  DF Report by Gishnizjani Golnar

DF File Photo.

DAS (Domus Arctica Säätiö) is a familiar name for all students in Rovaniemi, whether Finnish or international. They know part of their lives will be spent in houses called DAS and they will have this chance to experience real multicultural communications during their stay in these houses. Despite the fact that the coronavirus situation has caused confusion about the time of and how the next educational year will begin, individuals are still applying for student housing and this report is intended to help them get a clear picture of their future homes.

DAS Managing Director Kirsti Saviaro told the Daily Finland that the foundation has 1,022 apartments and 1,660 flats that can accommodate 1,550 to 1,660 students. Although the number of new students accepted by the University of Lapland and the Lapland University of Applied Sciences has an important impact on the number of applicants for student housing, DAS, on an average, receives 500 applications during the autumn semester. Saviaro also mentioned that due to the COVID-19 situation, this number for the coming semester is still uncertain.

Student houses in the north of Finland have several facilities that are mostly free or the monthly rent covers the charges for DASnet, Telia cable TV network, laundry service, sauna turns, club rooms, items to borrow, for example sewing machines, tools, board games, sports equipment, bicycles, kicksled, rowing boats, and ice fishing gear. Saviaro said, “there are also services with small monthly or one-time payment, such as gym, club rooms for studying or gathering together, car park with heating, one ski waxing room and storage space for skis.”

A Vietnamese student who is living in a DAS apartment for about two years now said the facilities are good enough and fairly priced for a student’s budget. She and her flatmate complained only about the heating system in the apartment that is not warm enough for the long cold winter. They said that radiators not only turn on late but sometimes do not work well to heat the room properly. Although it is not directly related to DAS, two other students criticised the high price of door-opening service or key replacement and asked for discounts or better facilities for students in this regard.

Acknowledging that there are always deficiencies and complications, the DAS managing director said, “Tenants and students are part of our team and they should have a voice to criticise and express their opinions. Undoubtedly some problems such as delays in payments and apartments’ conditions that are needed to fix happen frequently, DAS, however, tries to solve small and big problems in cooperation with the students.”

A South Korean tenant of DAS, who left the city recently, termed the trouble-shooting system fast and satisfying. According to this former DAS tenant, the rent is quite fair in comparison with that in other countries, but it is possible to find cheaper shared student apartments in the south of Finland. On this issue, Saviaro said the DAS Board will decide about any changes in the prices and rents in October and everything will remain as it is until then.

In the end, she said, according to the strategic plans to 2025, DAS is not going for any large expansion of the number of apartments. “We will rearrange the two-room shared apartments in a way that after that a two-room apartment will change into two studios. Besides, DAS will also go for some face-lifting by changing the floor materials, repainting the walls, and providing dishwashers in some apartments.