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Responsible for the service Regional State Administrative Agency

Licence for operating a private lost and found office

  • Permit or other obligation
  • Nationwide except the Åland Islands
  • Public service

An applicant willing to establish a private lost and found office for properties found in public places must obtain a licence from the AVI Agency for Western and Inland Finland. A private lost and found office may only be operated by an authorised natural or legal person. Lost and found offices are governed by the Lost Property Act (778/1988) and the decree on lost property (1079/1988).

A private lost and found office may only store and handle properties found in a public place. Property found in a public place means lost property discovered on public transport, at a railway station or bus station or other similar transport location, in a business facility, agency, office, workplace, educational institution, hospital, theatre, sports hall or other similar facility.

The AVI Agency supervises the operation of lost and found offices. The lost and found offices shall, notwithstanding secrecy provisions, provide the AVI Agency with all documents and data needed for the supervision. The AVI Agency may disallow the operation of a lost and found office if it is operated illegally without a licence. The prohibition may also be applied to employees of parties engaged in such operation or to others acting on their behalf.

If a lost and found office or the responsible manager neglects a duty laid down in the Lost Property Act, the AVI Agency can request said office or manager to fulfil the responsibility by a set deadline. If the acts of negligence are serious or reoccur despite the issued request, the AVI Agency can terminate the operation of the lost and found office either in part or entirely for a fixed term, however for six months at most. The AVI Agency can impose a conditional fine to enforce the above-mentioned prohibition or request.

The AVI Agency shall cancel the licence for operating a lost and found office, if:

  • the lost and found office has ceased to operate
  • the conditions for issuing the licence laid down in section 21a of the Lost Property Act are no longer met
  • the lost and found office no longer has a responsible manager who meets the conditions provided in section 21(2) of the Lost Property Act, and the office has not, despite a request issued by AVI, named a new responsible manager by the set deadline, or
  • serious or reoccurring negligence is detected in the operation of the lost and found office or the responsible manager and a temporary prohibition of activities has already been imposed on the office earlier.

Do the following

Before initiating the lost and found office operations, submit a licence application to the AVI Agency. The application can be freely worded, but it must contain the following information:

  1. The applicant’s name, municipality of residence and contact information
  2. All operating locations of the lost and found office and the contact information thereof
  3. Name and personal identification number of the responsible manager of the lost and found office or, if a personal ID is not available, their date of birth.

Attach to the application a written consent for the task from the responsible manager.

Applications should primarily be submitted electronically to the registry of the AVI Agency for Western and Inland Finland. Nevertheless, you can always deliver your application personally or by post to any AVI Agency office. To smoothen the processing, however, we do ask that you deliver the paper applications directly also to the registry of the AVI Agency for Western and Inland Finland.

The AVI Agency will investigate ex-officio the responsible manager’s reliability and the fulfilment of the requirements imposed on the applicant by requesting a statement from the Legal Register Centre and, if necessary, from the police.

Notify the AVI Agency for Western and Inland Finland without delay of changes concerning the operation of the lost and found office (e.g. a new place of business or address) or the responsible manager and of termination of activities.

To whom and on what terms

The AVI Agency can authorise the applicant to operate a lost and found office for property found in public places, if:

  1. the applicant has the right to carry out business operations in Finland
  2. the applicant has not been declared bankrupt and, if the applicant is a natural person, he or she is an adult whose legal competence has not been restricted
  3. the applicant has appointed a responsible manager who fulfils the requirements provided in section 21(2) of the Lost Property Act.

The responsible manager must be an adult and reliable person who has not been declared bankrupt and whose legal competence is not restricted. The responsible manager shall be deemed reliable if they have not, in the last five years, been sentenced to prison or, in the last three years, sentenced to a fine for an intentional offence that can be deemed to proof that they are clearly unfit to act as a responsible manager. The responsible manager shall not be deemed reliable if they have otherwise in the past acted in a way that shows that they are clearly unfit to act as a responsible manager.

A fee is charged for the service.

Fees are determined by the Government Decree on the Regional State Administrative Agencies’ Fees in 2019 and 2020.


Processing time

The processing time for an application is on average less than one month.

Period of validity

The issued licences are valid until further notice.

Basic information

The service is provided byRegional State Administrative Agency
Responsible for the serviceRegional State Administrative Agency
Area Whole Finland (except Åland)
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish
Text edited by: Regional State Administrative Agency
Updated: 9/9/2020