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You are a neighbour, too

In apartment buildings we live very close to each other. The building's atmosphere and everyone's comfort levels are affected considerably by how smoothly everyday life runs between the neighbours.

Borrowing something like sugar from a neighbour may be an awkward thing to do if you have never said hello to the neighbour before. However, anyone can become a great neighbour who people like living next door to and who everyone says hi to around the building. There are also situations where a neighbour may be a source of invaluable help.

Survey data on neighbourly relations

We asked a thousand people over the age of 18 what they thought was the most natural way of spending time with their neighbours. The survey revealed that, for more than half of those living in an apartment building or a terraced property, it is communal work gatherings, but 35% of the respondents also wanted communal events such as barbecues. One in four of the youngest respondents, i.e. those aged 18–24, and of the oldest, i.e. those aged 65 or over, hoped to meet their neighbours more thanks to shared, communal areas.

Well over half of those living in an apartment building or a terraced property think you do not need to personally buy or own everything. Not only items but also competencies could be shared with neighbours. The highest interest was reported in an items-sharing system, a communal flea market, and cleaning services. One in three hope to get neighbourly help for childminding or small renovations, for example.

Common rules and simple ways to make things smooth

To make things smooth for everyone, SATO buildings have Building Rules and Regulations, residents have the opportunity to organise nice events at their home building, and help in solving trickier situations is available from the service manager or building manager through, for example, the OmaSATO service. But the simplest way, however, is to say hello to your neighbours!

Greet your neighbours in the way that feels natural to you

A quick smile, saying hello or waving your hand are all excellent ways of taking other people into account. Greeting your neighbour does not mean you have to stop and have a chat with them, but it has a big impact on the atmosphere. The lift is a place where it is particularly polite to say hello as you will spend a little while in the same space.

Take part in activities or organise an event of your own

A great way to get to know people in your home building is to take part in doing things together in contexts such as the residents’ committee. If you are good at baking or fixing things, you could offer your skills for others to enjoy, too. You could organise a baking session or a bike-fixing afternoon with your neighbours.

If you want to organise a communal tidying-up or other work event, a flea market or some other larger event at your home building, get in touch with the service manager. An easy way to contact them is online via OmaSATO. Ask the service manager for a permission to hold the event and also ask if the home building budget might cover some of the costs such as items needed for the communal work event.

Take others into account in staircases and corridors

We all know that sounds echo easily in staircases and corridors. Remember to take your neighbours into account, especially if leaving early in the morning or coming back late in the evening. Slamming doors can often be heard from many floors above and below. Please also make sure not to have loud discussions anywhere other than your home or the outdoor areas.

Keep everywhere tidy

Overflowing waste containers annoy people, and so does laundry left in the drying room for too long. Make sure you flatten cardboard boxes and hang your laundry neatly on the washing line. It is nicer for everyone when no-one has to spend their time moving other people’s laundry or flattening cardboard boxes at waste containers.

Help each other out

You can get to know your neighbours through shared interests. Organise a play date for your kids in the play area or offer to water your neighbour’s plants when they go away on holiday. Friendly gestures may also prove to be invaluable to yourself at some point when you need help.

Could you be a neighbour mentor?

SATO has launched a new service: Neighbour Mentor activities where neighbours help new people moving in to settle in and feel at home in the neighbourhood.

As a Neighbour Mentor, you will help new residents to get to know the building’s services and practices such as waste sorting and laundry room and car parking space use. You will also give current as well as new residents advice on everyday issues relating to living in a SATO home and boost the community spirit by taking part in your home building’s events. Neighbour Mentors also communicate to SATO about residents’ needs.

You will receive Neighbour Mentor training to orientate you into the role. You get to actively contribute to a pleasant living environment for yourself and everyone in your building. You will also receive a certificate for the training and your participation in the activities. To become a Neighbour Mentor, you need to have skills in Finnish and are also hoped to know another language, with Arabic, Somali or Russian being particularly useful.

__If you live in a SATO building and are interested in becoming a Neighbour Mentor, please get in touch with us by email:

asuminen@sato.fi