Different forms of housing

In Sweden there are different types of housing. You can rent or buy a flat. You can rent or buy a house. This section has information about different types of housing and what you can do to look for a house or flat. You can also read here about rights and obligations that you need to be aware of. The links will lead you to more information about different types of housing, contracts and much more.

How to look for a place to live

If you are looking for an accommodation, it is recommended to do it in several ways simultaneously. Here are some tips on getting started. Far below on this page, you can read about the different types of housing.

Rented flat

Register as a flat hunter with different housing companies and housing authorities. They normally have a website where you can register. Some may charge a fee for registering, others not. Once you have registered, you can begin looking at the vacant flats available. It is important to check the website often to see if any new flats have been advertised.

Many housing companies and housing authorities have what is known as a housing list. When you have registered as a flat hunter, you can automatically be given a place on a housing list. Once you are on the housing list you get points for each day since you registered. Your chances of getting a flat increase the longer you have been on the housing list. Rules may vary for different housing lists.

Many municipality presentations include information about local housing companies and links to the municipalities' own websites. Via municipalities' websites you can often find both larger and smaller housing companies in your immediate area.

Be as active as you can

Even if you are registered with housing companies and authorities, it is a good idea to be looking actively for flats in other locations. There are several companies that list vacant flats on the internet, for both leases (when a flat's owner is renting it out) and sublets (when a flat's tenant is renting it out). They also have ads from people who are looking for lodgers, and for houses to rent. It is also a good idea to check daily newspapers for ads for flats and rooms to rent.

There are many small housing companies that don't have a registration procedure, but that list vacant flats on their websites. It is always a good idea to contact these smaller housing companies personally to show that you are interested. You can often find links to some of them on the municipalities' websites. You can also ask your friends and acquaintances who their landlords are and for their names and contact information. You can then tell the landlord that your friends are already his/her tenants.

If you are looking for a flat in a specific building, you can also find out who the landlord is by checking the notification board in the building's entrance hall. Landlords are obliged to specify there who the building's administrator is and where they can be reached.

Another possibility is to post notices in shops, libraries, entrance halls or other places that have notice boards.

Tenant-owned flats and houses

If you are interested in buying a tenant-owned flat or a house, you can employ the services of local property agents. There are also many companies and internet services with ads for tenant-owned flats, houses and land plots for sale all over Sweden. Ads are also published in newspapers. Municipal presentation pages have links to the municipalities' own websites, which often have information about houses and land plots for sale. 

Rented flats

All of Sweden's municipalities have local housing companies through which you can look for flats to rent. These companies can be owned by private individuals or by the municipality. If it is owned by the municipality it is known as a public housing company. If you live in a rented flat, you are a tenant. Tenants rent their flats from a landlord, which is the company or person that owns the flat. If something stops working or breaks in the flat (e.g. a refrigerator or a cooker), the landlord must repair or replace it. As a tenant you do not have to pay for such repairs – unless you were the one who caused the damage, in which case you may be obliged to pay for the repairs. Normally the landlord inspects the flat for damage before you move into it, in order to make sure that you will not be required to pay for any damage caused by the previous tenant.

There are different types of rental contracts for flats. A lease means that you have the right to live in the flat for as long as you like. A sublet means that you rent the flat temporarily from the person who has the lease on it.

Illegal contracts

If contracts for rented flats are bought and sold (if the tenant pays for a contract), they are illegal. In Sweden landlords or tenants are not permitted to charge for, or sell, rental contracts. If someone asks you to pay for a rental contract, they are committing a crime for which they can be sentenced to jail. 

The tenant's right to terminate the rental contract

If you want to move, you always have a right as a tenant to terminate the contract on your flat. After giving notice of termination (telling your landlord that you want to end the contract), you may have to continue paying for the flat during a specified period of time. This is known as the term of notice and is normally three months, unless the contract specifies otherwise. The term of notice is counted from the month following your notice of termination.

The landlord's right to terminate the rental contract

The landlord is entitled to terminate the contract with the tenant under certain circumstances, such as if the tenant

  • is more than a week late paying the rent
  • transfers or sublets the flat without the landlord's permission
  • uses the flat for other ends than it is intended for, e.g. criminal activity or extensive business activity
  • is responsible for infesting the flat with vermin, or neglects to report that it has become infested
  • without acceptable reason refuses the landlord access to the flat, e.g. for repairs
  • neglects to maintain the flat or does not fulfil the obligations specified in the rental contract

Subletting 

Subletting is common in Sweden, and means that a person who has the lease on a flat (i.e. not the flat's landlord) rents the flat to you. It is also possible get a sublet from someone who is the tenant-owner of a flat or who owns a house. If you want to get a sublet, it is important to check that the landlord has approved the sublet. Make sure that a contract is drawn up for the sublet. If you don't have a contract, you can be forced to move if the person who has the lease demands that you do. Before you sign a contract for a sublet, make sure you know what your rights are as a sub-lessee.

Lodging

It is also possible to rent a room in someone's flat or house. This means you share the flat or house with the person who rents or owns it, and is known as being a lodger. There are rules and terms of notice for lodgers as well, so make sure that a contract is drawn up when you want to rent a room in someone's flat or house.

Tenant-ownership

A tenant-owned flat is a flat that you buy the right to use. That means you buy a share of the association (also called a cooperative) of tenant-owners who own the building together. You then become a member of the association and the tenant-owner of the flat. Tenant-owners pay a monthly fee to the association. If you borrowed money to pay for the flat you also have to make interest and amortisation payments to the bank. Each municipality has local property agents and housing companies that will show you flats which are for sale. The municipalities' websites usually list the local agents and companies. You can also use the internet to look for tenant-owned flats for sale.

Houses

In Sweden you can buy or rent a house. When buying a house, prices can vary greatly between big cities, smaller towns and rural areas. Each municipality has local property agents and housing agencies that will show you houses which are for sale. You can also buy a plot of land and build you own house on it. The municipal presentation pages have links to the municipalities' own websites, which often have information about houses and plots for sale. You can also use the internet to look for houses and plots for sale.

Help with accommodation

Those who have received a residence permit and live in a facility housing provided by the Migration Agency, can get help to be directed to a municipality.

To be assigned to a municipality means that the selected municipality is responsible to arrange an accommodation for you. The assignment applies to you and the family members you live with in the facility accommodation.

When you receive your residence permit, you are called for a conversation. During the conversation, you are asked if you want help with the accommodation or if you want to arrange it yourself.

You are entitled to one assignment from a municipality. If you refuse the offered place, you must arrange your own accommodation.

All municipalities must, on the basis of assignment, receive all the newly arrived to arrange accommodation for them.

More information from the Migration Agency

​​Everyone has a right to housing

In Sweden everyone has a right to housing. It is illegal to discriminate against people looking for a place to live because of their

  • ethnicity
  • religion or other belief
  • functional impairment
  • gender
  • gender identity or expression
  • sexual orientation
  • age

If you feel you are the  subject of discrimination, you can turn to your municipal consumer counsellor, anti-discrimination bureau or the

Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen,
or DO in Swedish)
.

National Registration

Everyone living in Sweden must be registered. Information such as who all live in Sweden and where they live is registered.

Many rights and obligations that you are entitled to, depend on whether you are registered and where you are registered.

The right to child allowance and accommodation allowance depends on whether you are registered. Where you must pay your tax and vote also depend on where you are registered.

This site contains information about the Swedish society and is run by the County Administrative Boards of Sweden
© Copyright 2016 Länsstyrelsen Västra Götaland

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