One of the first things to consider before moving to Sweden is finding a place to live. The process of finding a flat or house will vary depending on where you plan on living. In larger cities the housing market can be quite competitive, making it relatively difficult to find housing. In other areas, it can be much easier. According to a study published in 2017, 29 of the 33 municipalities in Skåne have housing shortages, so leave plenty of extra time for your housing search.
Apartments in Skåne are regulated by a rental control system to keep the rent below what the market would dictate, and those apartments are distributed through queues or contacts. Renting a flat is a good option for those who are not yet ready to buy a home. Flats are rented through either first-hand contracts (förstahandskontrakt) or sublets (andrahandskontrakt).
A first-hand contract is signed between the tenant and the owner of the building. These contracts can be either permanent or for a set period of time. The most common way to get a first-hand contract is to register for your local municipal housing queue (bostadskö). In larger cities, it can be difficult to find a first-hand flat, as queuing can take several years. In smaller towns, you can often register with the local municipality and get a flat right away; however, you will need your Swedish personal identity number and landlords will often ask for proof of income or employment before signing the contract.
Every region has a different housing queuing system. For Skåne, the regional housing agency is Boplatsyd. Their website offers over around 8 000 apartments for rent. However, to get access to these apartments you must subscribe to their online services as soon as possible. This is important even if you aren’t ready to begin your apartment search. Notably, this comes at a cost. With a yearly subscription to their services, you are able to view and express an interest in apartments…all across Skåne. Housing companies such as MKB, Rikshem use the regional agency to advertise and safely rent apartments. As such, it is the largest online directory of apartments in the region.
A second-hand (Andrahand) contract is in essence a sublet, which may or may not have the consent of the landlord–and this is usually an agreement for a specified time period. Keep in mind that if you sublet an apartment without consent from the landlord, you run the risk of being evicted at short notice. Deposits are a common procedure, but shouldn’t be more than a month’s rent. You should also get a receipt (even hand-written) for your deposit. The contract is also handy if you find out that you’ve been paying more rent than the landlord can legally charge; in which case you can contact the regional rent tribunal to apply for compensation from the landlord.
A regular studio apartment in the center of the bigger cities in Skåne (Malmö, Helsingborg, Lund) costs around 10,000 SEK/month. Make sure you visit the apartment before you pay anything. And if you rent a furnished apartment, make sure the furniture is of acceptable quality.
There are a number of ways to find available sublets. One of the most common is through websites like blocket.se. Others include bostaddirekt.se, hyralya.se and andrahand.se. Most of these sites will be in Swedish, so familiarize yourself with some basic Swedish housing vocabulary:
- Lägenhet/hyresrätt = flat/rental flat
- Hyra lägenhet = rent a flat
- Uthyres (i andra hand) = to let (sublet)
- (Number) rum och kök = the number of rooms a flat contains aside from the kitchen and WC. “2 rum och kök” is a 2-room flat with a kitchen.
Your rights as a tenant
As a tenant in Sweden you have comprehensive rights regarding everything from your monthly rent to maintenance in your building. The Swedish Union of Tenants (Hyresgästföreningen) is a membership organization that can assist you if you have any questions regarding your rights as a tenant.
A flat that you buy in Sweden is called a bostadsrätt, which basically means that you purchase the right to live in the flat, similar to the concept of a leasehold in some other countries. You actually buy a share in the building, which includes access and joint decision rights concerning the building’s courtyards and common facilities. It also means that you must ask your building’s housing board (in which you may choose to take part) for permission if you want to sublet your flat to others. Recently the regulation around this has soften a lot and it’s easier, although still more expensive, to rent a flat second-hand.
In addition to the price paid for the apartment itself, you will also pay a monthly fee (månadsavgift) that covers building maintenance, renovation and other costs. Still, this is normally way lower than the monthly rent for renting a flat – though newly produced apartment buildings tend to have high monthly fees.
If you purchase a house in Sweden, you will have full ownership of the house and its property.
As in many other countries, real estate agents (mäklare) in Sweden assist individuals in locating and purchasing houses or flats. There are real estate agents that specialized in specific areas, cities or types of housing.
The websites below are a good starting point for finding a home. There you can browse homes for sale throughout the country and get an idea of the offerings and prices in different areas. Swedes are very keen on their home, as well as interior design, and many tend to browse hemnet.se just for fun.
Boverket – the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning
Hyresnämnden – The Regional Rent Tribunal
Hemnet – Housing Market Place
Booli – Housing Market Place
Unions and Associations:
Hyresgästföreningen -The Swedish Union of Tenants
Blocket – Classfieds
Bostadsdirekt – Housing Agency
Hyralya – Housing Agency
Andrahand.se – Housing Agency
Easy Rental – Housing Agency
- apartment – (en) lägenhet, (en) bostad
- house – (ett) hus, (en) villa
- summer house – ett fritidshus (en sommarstuga)
- an owned flat/an owner-occupied apartment – en bostadsrätt
- rented apartment – (en) hyresrätt
- plot of land – (en) tomt
- broker – (en) mäklare
- monthly rent including heating, waste disposal and water – en avgift
- owner – (en) ägare
- landlord – (en) hyresvärd
- tenant – (en) hyresgäst
- for sale – till salu
- for rent – uthyres
- flat demonstration/visit – (en) visning
- bid – (ett) anbud (bud)
- bidding – (en) budgivning
- housing society – (en) bostadsrättsförening