In Finland, buying an apartment, in fact, means buying the shares of a limited liability housing company, which (based on the article of association of the Housing Company) owns or leases the plot of land and owns the residential building, and the shareholders own the shares that grant the possession of the apartment.

Residential buildings under the limited liability housing company can be apartment blocks, terraced houses, semi-detached houses or detached houses.

The General Meeting of Shareholders holds the highest decision-making power in a housing company. In the General Meeting of Shareholders a board of directors is appointed usually among its shareholders. The main duties of the board of directors are to choose a real estate management company and represent the shareholders.

Real estate management (isännöinti) is an expert service which ensures that everyday life in buildings under its management runs seamlessly, living costs can be anticipated and repair projects go according to plan. See the page REAL ESTATE MANGEMENT and MAINTENANCE in the Finnish Housing Company for more details.

The law that regulates the activity of the Limited Liability Housing Companies is the Limited Liability Housing Companies Act (Asunto-osakeyhtiölaki)

The current Limited Liability Housing Companies Act came into force 1 July 2010.