The lift possessor’s responsibilities and obligations

After a lift is taken into use, the possessor of the lift shall take every measure necessary to ensure the safety of the lift.

The possessor of the lift means the owner of the lift, or in practice, the owner and possessor of the building. In a residential housing company, the possessor of the lift is typically represented by the chairman of the housing company’s board of directors and the property manager.


The possessor shall take care of the following:

  • the lift maintenance program
  • servicing the lift in accordance with the maintenance program
  • repairing all defects and deficiencies detected in the lift sufficiently quickly
  • carrying out the periodic inspections
  • making all lift documentation available to the lift maintenance company and the inspectors
  • safe evacuation from the lift.


The possessor shall ensure that a valid maintenance program is issued for the lift and that the lift is duly serviced in accordance with the maintenance program. The maintenance program specifies the routine maintenance tasks to be performed in the course of the maintenance visits, and the schedule of regular maintenance visits. In practice, the possessor contracts maintenance out to a lift maintenance company.

The possessor shall draw up a maintenance program in cooperation with an expert of the lift sector. The lift usage amount, operating environment and type of the lift should be taken into consideration when drawing up the maintenance program and specifying the scope of the preventive and routine maintenance required. The maintenance instructions issued by the lift installer, including the maintenance tasks specified therein, are the starting point in the preparation of the maintenance program.

Ensuring proper maintenance

Proper maintenance is essential in terms of the safety and reliable operation of the lift. Great care should be taken with the maintenance contract and when selecting the maintenance company. Inadequate maintenance may result in defects and mechanical malfunctions that require separate repairs and may also compromise safety. The maintenance company must allocate sufficient time and resources for the maintenance tasks to be performed during the scheduled maintenance visit.

The possessor can ascertain appropriate maintenance by monitoring the following, for example

  • What is the general condition of the lift and how clean are the lift shaft and the machine room?
  • Does the lift operate faultlessly?
  • Are there any minor defects or deficiencies in the lift?
  • Are there any major defects or service disruptions manifest in the lift that require separate repairs?
  • What does the maintenance log look like, have maintenance tasks been performed in accordance with the maintenance programme?
  • What does the periodic inspection report show, have the inspections revealed many defects?

Repairs of defects and deficiencies

The possessor shall ensure that all defects and deficiencies detected in the lift will be repaired without undue delay. The possessor must instigate the repair of a defect or deficiency sufficiently quickly if, for example, a user, a maintenance company or an inspector informs the possessor of a detected defect in the lift. In practice, the possessor assigns the task of repairing the lift to a lift maintenance company.

Defects and deficiencies detected in the periodic lift inspections are recorded in the inspection report. The report is addressed to the possessor who shall ensure that all reported defects and deficiencies are repaired. The possessor may not, at their discretion, choose to disregard the repair of defects and deficiencies detected and reported in the inspections. Instead, they may appeal the inspection report in accordance with the appeal instructions enclosed in the inspection report issued.

Lift inspections

The purpose of inspections carried out on a regular basis is to secure the safety and appropriate maintenance of lifts. The possessor shall ensure that all periodic inspections of the lift are carried out. A passenger lift is subject to a periodic inspection every second year.

A lift inspection is based on a commission between the lift possessor and the inspection body, i.e. an inspection contract is concluded by the possessor and the inspection body. The possessor can also assign the maintenance company to agree on the time  of the maintenance visits. In most cases, a representative of the maintenance company is present to assist with the inspection.

Lifts may be inspected by accredited bodies approved by Tukes.

Further information on inspections is available in the section Lift inspections.


The possessor should carefully store all lift documentation. Such documentation includes, e.g., the structural design schematics, operating and maintenance instructions, maintenance programme, maintenance log and inspection reports.
Of these documents, at least the maintenance programme, maintenance log, maintenance instructions and emergency evacuation instructions must be kept available in the immediate vicinity of the lift for the purposes of maintenance personnel and inspectors. The documentation may be stored in the lift’s machine room or, in case there is no dedicated machine room, in the control cabinet.

Emergency evacuation

Despite proper maintenance and regular inspections, the lift may stop between two levels in the event of a malfunction and trap passengers inside the car. If the lift stops due to a malfunction, a competent evacuation specialist with sufficient knowledge of the lift is required. Incorrectly executed evacuation operations may place both the person being rescued and the rescuer in serious danger. Customarily, the lift possessor agrees with the lift maintenance company on the organisation of evacuation operations.

As a rule, calling regional rescue services to the scene should be limited to incidents in which a passenger trapped in the lift car is injured or in immediate danger or if there is another specific reason for asking the rescue services to assist with the evacuation.