FSD2938 Limited Liability Housing Companies Act's Functionality and Impact 2013: Board Members

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alternative dispute resolution, building maintenance, companies, conflict resolution, governing boards (organizations), home ownership, housing, maintenance, real property law

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The survey investigated how the new Limited Liability Housing Companies Act 2010 (Asunto-osakeyhtiölaki) functioned in Finland, what its impact had been and how it had been implemented. Separate surveys were conducted for shareholders of limited liability housing companies, members of governing boards, property managers and estate agents. This dataset contains the responses of board members.

The respondents were first asked basic information about the company, such as the types of buildings belonging to the company, number of apartments, and business premises belonging to the company.

Relating to management of the company, the respondents were asked about the number of members in the governing board, number of meetings in 2012, average time spent on a meeting, change in the time spent on meetings after 2010, division of labour within the board, documents drawn up to guide the work of the board, composition of the board, remuneration received by board members, and increase in the workload of the board. Further questions probed, for instance, the ease of attracting new members to join the board, interest shown by shareholders in the activities of the company, and effects of the new Act on the activities of the company.

With regards to property management, the questions surveyed whether the company had a property manager, who was responsible for property management, where the duties of the property manager had been set out, changes in property management services and their costs after 2010, and the need for allowing a property management company to assume the tasks of a property manager.

Concerning auditing, topics included person/people responsible for financial/performance audit in the company, differences in opinions about the duties of a performance auditor, and benefit of the performance audit to the company.

Views were charted on information and communication by the company, for instance, by asking whether invitations to meetings were sent out early enough, whether board members and chair answered shareholders' questions in the meetings, and whether shareholders were notified early enough about important decisions and plans made by the board. Further questions charting communication probed improvement/decline in communication by the board and property manager after 2010, issues the board and/or property manager should notify the shareholders about (e.g. the company's financial situation, renovating and maintenance instructions), and whether an Act should be in place that lays down provisions on communication between the company and shareholders during the fiscal year.

Concerning building maintenance, views were charted on the board's and property manager's knowledge of the law and regulations relating to responsibilities of the company and the shareholder in maintenance issues, and disputes between the company and shareholders about the division of maintenance costs. Relating to the maintenance needs report (which is required by law in cases when planned maintenance significantly affects the use of an apartment, company charges, or other costs incurred by the use of an apartment), questions charted, among others, discussion about the report in the company meeting, shareholders' opportunities to go over the report before the meeting, things included in the report (e.g. cost estimate, maintenance schedule), perceptions on the usefulness of the report, and the frequency of updating the report. Plans of building lifts in the buildings owned by the company were surveyed as well as the division of costs of building them. Further questions studied reimbursements awarded to shareholders for making the renovations planned by the company by themselves, and the equal distribution of maintenance costs.

Relating to renovations done by shareholders, questions examined rules set out for renovation notices by the company, number of notices filed per year, shareholders' neglect to file notices, need to add information to filed notices, and expert help hired by the company to assess renovation notices. Further questions about renovations investigated disputes resulting from the neglect to file a notice, processing fees for renovation notices, processing time of renovation notices, and supervision of and conditions set for the renovation by the company.

Perceptions of disputes and dispute resolution were surveyed. Disputes among shareholders, and increase or decrease in disputes between the company and shareholders after 2010 were studied as well as primary actor in resolving disputes, and the need for an independent third party to settle disputes and conflicts between the shareholders and the company.

Background variables included, among others, the respondent's gender, age, work experience in the governing board, and position in the board as well as the location or size of the municipality where the limited liability housing company operated, and the decade when its buildings had been constructed.

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