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How to find accommodation in Sweden

Finding accommodation in Sweden can be a real challenge. Not just for Newbies – anyone searching for a place to call home will find themselves challenged by the rental shortage in Sweden.

In this guide we walk you trough the basics of the Swedish rental market and give you some insider’s tips that will make your rental search significantly easier.

1. Why is it so difficult to find accommodation in Sweden?

The short answer to this question is simple: the demand is bigger than the supply. This is especially the case in bigger cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Lund. The construction of apartments all over Sweden has lagged behind, while the population in the cities has grown rapidly, creating an urgent shortage on accommodation.

So, if you are having a hard time to find a home, remember that you are not alone: you share this challenge with the rest of the Swedish population.

2. What you can do to increase your chances to find accommodation

There are many things you can do to increase your chances of finding accommodation on the Swedish rental market.

a) Adjust your expectations

This is a tip that no one wants to hear, but adjusting your expectations to the reality will dramatically increase your chances of finding a place to stay. Just to make yourself an idea about what the rental market looks like: these are pretty normal price ranges for accommodations in Stockholm city centre (other cities might be a bit cheaper):

  • a room, for 6 months -> about 3000-4000 SEK/ a month
  • a 1-room apartment, for 6 months – > about 8000 SEK/ a month
  • a 2-room flat, for 6 months – > about 13000 SEK / a month

 b) Look outside the city centre

Your chances of finding accommodation increases significantly the further away from the city centre you are willing to live. The demand for apartments close to the city centers is huge. But the question you should ask yourself is: Do you really need to live in the middle of city?

The areas considered the “city” in Sweden are usually quite small and the surrounding areas might just be 10, 15 or 20 minutes away with public transportation (which is both reliable, fast and well coordinated). Living in a suburb (“förort” in Swedish) normally means that you live close to nature while you’re still will be able to enjoy all the fun and comfort that a city life provides.

c) Write an outstanding rental application

The shortage on the rental market makes the application processes very competitive. Writing a rental application that really stands out from the rest will improve your chances of finding an apartment in Sweden. Find out more on how to write an outstanding rental application here.

Another good tip for those looking for accommodation in Stockholm is to download the app provided by Easy Rental. This app makes it easier for you to keep track of all the ads matching your search criteria.

3. Long-term contracts vs. short-term contracts

You will soon notice that it’s easier to get hold of a short-term than a long-term contract. Most Newbies who plan to stay for a longer period will look for something more lasting – no one likes to move every three months. But opting for a short-term contract might have some significant pros – especially in the beginning of your stay in Sweden. Here we try to outline the pros and con of each approach.

Short-term contracts

Abroad and planning to move to Sweden? Or have you recently arrived and are urgently searching for a place to stay? Then we recommend you look for short-term contracts. Knowing that you will have to move again shortly might not be your dream, but going for a short-term contract has its pros:

  1. Plenty of apartments to choose from: many choose to rent their apartments when going on vacation or to work abroad. So there are many more short-term than long-term contracts.
  2. Fewer competitors: People already living in the city look for long term rentals, so you will find less people asking for these apartments.
  3. Lower price: Short term contracts are usually a bit better priced (1 to 3 months).
  4. Get to know the city before you settle permanently: Once you are in the city and you have a clearer idea about where you want to live, how the Swedish apartments are and what your net salary is (in case you already have a job) you can search for something more permanent.

Long-term contracts

Finding a long-term contract is what most people search for. Being able to settle and focus on getting your life going instead of being in the search for a new place to stay is an important step. There are however a few matters to consider:

  1. The one-year limit: Most long-term contracts are for 6 months with a possibility of another 6-month extension. In some cases you can get a one-year contract straight away, but it’s rare that you find something longer than that. After one year, most of the landlords that own a “Bostadsrätt” (flat in a building) have to ask for permission to sublet the apartment to the board of directors of the building.
  2. Sign up for a bostadskö: If you are considering a longer stay in Sweden, you might consider signing up at a “bostadskö”. Most swedes sign up as soon as they are allowed (nowadays once they turn 18) and the waiting time on these “bostadskö” are very long. However, if you are patient and not too picky with your choice this might be an option.

4. Where to find rental ads and landlords

There are many websites and online services that can help you find accommodation in Sweden. Here we walk you through the pros and cons of the more common ones.

Easy Rental

Easy Rental is a service (free for roomers) that helps you to find a second hand rental in Stockholm. When you sign up you get informed via mail and mobile when a new rental becomes available in all of the major rental websites. Therefore, you don’t have to check them manually every few minutes.

As you are informed as soon as a rental is available, you have the chance of being among first ones contacting the landlord, which dramatically increases your chances of renting this room or apartment.

Blocket.se

Blocket.se is the biggest classified ads website in Sweden with a lot of rentals posted everyday, but also the place that most people use, so the competition here is high. However, it does come with some down-sides for Newbies:

  • most ads are in Swedish (see insider tip below)
  • competitive: landlords receive a huge amount of inquiries so it’s difficult to get an answer. So make sure to write a good rental application. Learn more here.

Tips about blocket.se

Translate the ads to Swedish: Use the browser Google Chrome and right click to select “Translate to English” to read a translation of the ad in English. The translation is not perfect but it’s good enough to make a decision.

Use pre-filtered searches: Here you have some handy links for Stockholm:
All Properties in a 30-minute radio to T-Centralen
Properties outside of the city center but still within 30 minutes to T-Centralen

BostadDirekt.com

BostadDirekt.com is a website where you can find a lot of rooms and apartments. The website has an English version (for the menus and help pages) but the available rentals are usually in Swedish. You can search their website for free but if you want access to the landlords’ contact information you can subscribe for 695 SEK for 30 days. The downsides are:

  • a bit pricy
  • there is no easy way to spot new listings, so you will spend a lot of time trying to spot the new apartments posted after your previous visit.

Tips about BostadDirekt.com

Once you’ve made a first filter, use the chrome translate this page feature and it will translate all the ads at once (until you make another search)

When you pay, you create a personal profile which the landlords have access to. Some landlords prefer to pick tenants manually instead of placing a listing, so if you add plenty of information to your profile you can be contacted by them.

Facebook Groups

There are plenty of Facebook groups for people looking for accommodation in Sweden. The most common posts are shared rooms or individual flats (1 room) but even if you are looking for a bigger apartment it’s always worth a try. A plus is that you can meet people who already live in the city.

The biggest English speaking groups for Stockholm are:

Tips about Facebook groups

Facebook groups are usually closed groups. Apply to join and then check them daily because when a property is posted there the landlords get PMs quite fast.

Watch out for fraudsters: fraudsters are not uncommon on these groups so make sure to read up on how to recognize fraudsters and how to avoid them.

5. How to avoid accommodation fraud – the golden rules

Rental frauds have – unfortunately – become increasingly common on the rental market during the last years in Sweden. Tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee for an accommodation that does not exist or cannot be rented. This is especially common in the cities – like Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Lund – where the accommodation shortage is growing. You can however learn how to recognize and avoid fraud. Learn more here.

Golden rules to avoid rental fraud

  1. Never pay the deposit before viewing the apartment and signing a contract. Note that some fraudsters even show you an apartment before they take off with your deposit.
  2. Never pay in cash. Cash payments are difficult to track and it will be very difficult to prove that you have actually paid, if you have any problems with the landlord.
  3. Never send your scanned id (passport) to a landlord. Professional fraudsters collect ID’s for future frauds.
  4. Always ask for the landlords ID in order to see if the ID matches the information in the contract. The information you need is: name, surname, phone number and personal number (personnummer).
  5. Googling name and surname of the landlord might help you find people who have reported this person in previous frauds. You might find this information in blogs and forums.
  6. If the offer seems to good to be true, it probably is.
How to avoid fraud

 

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