An apartment or real estate often represents the majority of the assets of both the buyer and the seller. The buyer nor the seller seldom have legal expertise or expertise in construction. Often the parties rely solely on the estate agents expertise although it is estimated that every fourth house in Finland has some form of moisture or mould damage.
Not all defects in an apartment or real estate is considered a defect according to the Finnish Housing Transaction Act or the Code of Real Estate. An apartment has a defect in quality, e.g., when the apartment does not meet the terms that have been agreed, or the apartment does not correspond to the information provided by the seller before the transaction, and such information can be considered to have influenced the transaction. An apartment is also defective if the seller before the transaction has failed to inform the buyer of any specific matter concerning the apartment, or there is a hidden defect in the apartment. Moisture and mould damage is often a hidden defect.
The seller of an apartment is liable for a hidden defect in an apartment for two years after the possession of the apartment has been assigned to the buyer. The liability of the seller of real estate is five years for hidden defects. When the buyer discovers a defect in the apartment or real estate after the transaction has been concluded, he shall immediately give notice of the defect to the seller. If the buyer fails to give notice of a defect he forfeits his right to invoke the defect. We advise that the buyer immediately contacts an attorney after discovering a potential defect in his apartment or real estate. Accordingly we advise the seller to contact an attorney after being notified of a defect by the buyer.