A work group appointed by the Ministry of the Environment has completed the evaluation of the Land Use and Building Act. According to the evaluation report, the most fundamental principles of the Act are working well, but its 14 years of existence have also created a need of reforms.

Land Use Planning and Promotion of Competition

The work group recommends a reform of the land use planning system. The aim of the reform is to update the system to respond to contemporary challenges, such as the Finnish municipal reform. This involves clarifying land use planning and requiring more active land policy from the municipalities. Such a policy change would promote competition, especially in the areas of housing development and commerce. Furthermore, the work group recommends boosting the supply of building land by amending the prerequisites for the redemption of undeveloped land – especially in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

Rapid Reforms Especially in the Area of Commerce

The reforms presented in the evaluation report will be launched immediately. During autumn 2014, the Parliament will handle a bill that covers certain aspects of the overall reform. This first bill will concentrate on the aim of competition promotion, integrating the duty to promote competition into the Act’s provisions. In addition, the bill defines land policy as the responsibility of municipalities. These reforms also aim to solve the problems related to the application of the rules governing the location of large retail trade units.

Improvement of Construction Legislation

In the future, the authority supervision of construction activities will be centralised into larger units. The provisions regarding maintenance and repair that must be performed during a buildings’ life cycle will be clarified to the effect that these duties are clearly imposed on both the owner and the holder of the property or building. In addition, the reform includes changes to the right of appeal to curtail the possibilities to appeal the same decision twice.

Castrén & Snellman’s real estate and construction law experts are closely monitoring the reform of the Land Use and Building Act.

The evaluation report is available in Finnish at https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/42827