Different forms of housing

Last updated: 2 11 2018

In Sweden there are different ways to have a home. You can rent or buy a flat, or you can rent or buy a house. More information about different types of housing is available here.

  • 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 anything breaks in 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.

    Different types of contracts

    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

    As a tenant you always have the right to give notice on your rental contract if you want to move. After having given notice of termination of the rental contract, you may have to continue paying rent for a specified period of time. This is called the term of notice. The term of notice is usually three months, unless your contract specifies something else. The term of notice begins at the end of the month in which you gave notice of termination of your rental contract.

    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:

    • rent out or transfer the property to someone else, without the landlord's permission.
    • use the property for other purposes than as a residence, e g criminal activity or for running a big company from the property.
    • are responsible for allowing vermin to infest the property, or fail to report the appearance of vermin there.
    • refuse to let the landlord enter the property without having a good reason to do so, e g in the event of repairs.
    • neglect to look after the property.
    • do not abide by conditions in the rental contract.
    • are more than a week late paying rent.
  • 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 municipalities' websites usually have information about what properties are for sale.

  • 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.