Digitalisation of housing company share certificates – instructions for home owners

Share certificates on paper are becoming a thing of the past, as they are transferred to the National Land Survey of Finland’s digital system. The change will affect housing companies and owners of housing company shares (owners of apartments in blocks of flats, or of semi-detached houses, separate houses or terraced houses). Home owners do not have to act urgently. Read more about what home owners need to know about the digitalisation of share certificates.

Do housing company share certificates need to be digitalised urgently?

If you are a home owner, there is no hurry to digitalise the share certificate of your apartment. In the first phase, digitalisation of housing companies’ lists of shares is the responsibility of housing companies only.

Housing companies must digitalise their lists of shares by the end of 2023. When the housing company has done this, it will notify shareholders of their obligation to digitalise their apartments’ share certificates.

When must a home owner digitalise their share certificate?

There is a long transition period for this: when the housing company has transferred the housing company’s list of shares to the Residential and Commercial Property Information System, the shareholder has ten years to digitalise the share certificate.

The ten-year period does not apply if the home’s owner changes after digitalisation of the housing company’s list of shares. In such a case, the new owner must apply for registration of the property within two months of the transfer of title.

If the owner does not digitalise the share certificate within the time limit, they will lose the right to participate in shareholders’ meetings.

How are share certificates digitalised in practice?

As the apartment’s owner, you can only digitalise your share certificate after the housing company has transferred the list of shares to the electronic system. You can deliver the paper share certificate and an application to the National Land Survey of Finland by post or by visiting a service point. You can also authorise a proxy to do this on your behalf. You can print out your registration application from the National Land Survey of Finland’s website.

If your housing company was established after 1 January 2019, you do not need to do anything. The share certificates of new housing companies are already in digital format.

What does the digitalisation of housing company share certificates cost?

A fee based on the bank’s list of charges and fees may be charged for digitalisation of a housing company share certificate. The fee can be paid with an OP cooperative bank owner-customer’s OP bonuses. Fees set by the National Land Survey of Finland may also have to be paid.

What should you do, if the paper share certificate is being held as collateral?

If the bank holds the paper share certificate as loan collateral and you have received notification that the list of shares has been digitalised, the validity of the pledged collateral is not dependent on digitalisation of the share certificate.

Your bank will not automatically digitalise a share certificate pledged as collateral: if you like, you can request a separate order for the digitalisation. The bank will charge a fee based on its own list of charges and fees and the fees of the National Land Survey of Finland.

If you repay your loan in full during the ten-year transition period, when your loan repayments end you can request the share certificate and digitalise it via the National Land Survey of Finland’s website, in which case you will only have to pay the National Land Survey of Finland’s fees.

What should you do if you plan to sell a home that you own?

If you’re planning to sell a home that you own in the next few years, you can digitalise the share certificate upon selling the home. In such cases, the buyer usually pays the digitalisation fees.

What should I do with the paper share certificate?

You should send the paper share certificate to the National Land Survey of Finland, where it will be voided. If you have agreed with your bank on the digitalisation, the bank will send the share certificate for you. You must not, under any circumstances, destroy the paper share certificate yourself. If the share certificate has been lost, you should apply to have it annulled by the district court.

Why are share certificates being digitalised?

Transfer to a digital system and migrating away from paper copies will streamline the granting of credit and digitalise the home purchasing process. It will also ease the daily work of several parties. Apartment owners will no longer have to think about where they can store their share certificates safely.

An electronic ownership note in the Residential and Commercial Property Information System will increase the reliability of apartment information and ownership notes, and make them more available. Electronic ownership notes will be used instead of paper share certificates in property transactions and as loan collateral.