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Sweden - Renting Property

Though salaries are fairly high in Sweden, rent is the biggest expenditure for those living there, particularly in the capital city. Expect roughly 30% of your salary to go on rent. With nearly a third of the population living in rented accommodation, competition can be fierce and many have been known to wait months or even years for long term accommodation. It’s a complex market, with a distinct lack of available housing and the added difficulty of developers being unable to create more housing that is affordable. Renting a one bed apartment in a city centre would cost roughly 7,4300 SEK pcm. Outside the city centre the same apartment would cost around 5212 SEK pcm. A one bedroom apartment in Stockholm will cost around 13000 SEK pcm. When it comes to utilities and costs, it depends on your providers and the deals you have in place, but if living alone this can amount to 700+ SEK. If living in Stockholm expats tend to favour west Stockholm and east Stockholm due to their safeness, quietness, closeness to large parks and range of international schools.

The typical lease is a fixed term agreement of 6 months with the chance to renew for a further 6 months. You may find contracts which reach 12 months but Sweden does not have longer contracts than this. By law, landlords who own a flat (Bostadsrätt) must apply annually to sublet the apartment via the board of directors who represent the building. It is not permitted for tenants to pay a deposit to secure a rental property, so do be aware of this if you are asked to do so. The Swedish rental market is heavily pro tenant, with the tenant able to issue their 3 months’ notice at any time during the contract. They also have the right to prolong their contract with the landlord. Tenants can usually redecorate the property without permission from the landlord, and they are also able to sublet the property (this is very common), though with some conditions of tenure.

With so much competition it’s important to stand out as a reliable, viable tenant. More and more importance has been placed on putting forward a stand-out rental application. Details included aside from the usual are references from previous landlords, clear rent payment history (no defaults), and if you have a stable income plus full time employment.

Tenancy contracts are similar in form to standard issue contracts approved by the tenants’ association and formulated by the landlords’ association (Bostadsrättsförening). Whilst a verbal contract is technically still legal, a written contract is always advised. Tenants should carefully read the terms and conditions, check the notice period and rent cost, see whether utilities are included, check the length of the contract, and find out whether you can decorate. The contract must include the landlord's name, contact details and address, plus the tenant's name. If you are a smoker check whether smoking is permitted. If you are moving into furnished accommodation ensure there is an inventory carried out and that the landlord signs it.

Scams to watch out for involve landlords or agents asking for deposits to ensure that you get the flat, and on occasion asking for such a deposit to be paid into a foreign account. To ensure the landlord or agent is valid, ask to see their ID. Make sure during the bidding process you don’t get pushed to bid higher than you can by a pushy estate agent as some buyers end up bidding over what they can afford based on poor agent advice.

All rental accommodation is generally of a very high standard. By law, a tenant has the right to accommodation which is deemed as fully serviceable. This means all the necessities such as shower, fridge, washing machine, toilet and heating plus hot and cold water should be present and working. Furnished accommodation will include all things you need such as white goods, furnishings, curtains and kitchen appliances. There should be access to a communal washing machine if your own is not provided. There will be the basic kitchen utensils and potentially bedding too. Furnished accommodation will cost around 10% more than unfurnished. Unfurnished properties may vary in furnishings but it is common for white goods to be in place, basic decorations to be on the walls and no furniture to be in the space.

Long term rentals are mostly 6 months. They may be furnished or unfurnished. Apartments and flats are usually not furnished though they will include white goods. Short term rentals are from 1-3 months. Expats tend to opt for short term stays in temporarily vacated apartments, B&Bs or via Airbnb. Many expats move to short term rentals and use them as a base whilst they tackle the long term market. Short term rentals are less competitive, more widely available and cheaper than long term.

The most popular rental website is Blocket. Listings are in Swedish so a translation tool is necessary. Rooms and apartments all over Sweden are available.

BostadDirekt is a useful rental website which requires a payment to have access to landlord’s details. Requires English language translation tool.

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