It’s a well-known fact that salaries are quite high in Sweden, however, so is the rent. The cost will rise when you look at properties in the capital city. When planning your budget, look at about 30% of your income going towards rent.
Almost one-third of the country live in rented accommodation so competition can be brutal. Those looking at their ideal property have been known to wait for months or even years. None of this is helped by the lack of housing and the fact that developers struggle to build affordable housing.
A one-bedroomed flat in a city centre might set you back around 10,000 SEK per calendar month. The same-sized apartment outside the city centre is still going to cost more than 5000 SEK PCM. If you want to live in Stockholm it is going to cost more like 13,000 SEK PCM. The cost of utilities will vary depending on the deal you make with the owner of the property, the company you use, and whether you are living alone or with others. You can still expect the cost to be approximately 700 SEK PCM.
Expats will choose the west and east over south and north. The east and west tend to be safer and quieter. They can also find property closer to large parks and international schools.
The maximum period of time for a contract is 12 months. Most are for 6 months with the option to extend for another 6 months. The law states that landlords who own a flat (Bostadsrätt) have to apply to the board of directors of the building to be able to annually rent it out.
Tenants are highly looked after in Sweden. Don’t be surprised if you aren’t asked for a security deposit, on the contrary, it is not permitted. You can also give your 3 months notice at any moment of the contract. Tenants also have the right to extend the duration of their contract with the landlord. Two things we might find strange, tenants can decorate without the landlord’s permission and they can also sublet the property with some conditions.
Reliability is a necessary quality in order to stand out from the high amount of competition. One thing you can do to improve your chances is to prepare an outstanding rental application. This application will contain references from previous landlords and a history of your rental payments, with no defaults. You will also include any regular income you have and your employment details.
Tenancy contracts are prepared by the landlords’ association (Bostadsrättsförening) and approved by the tenants’ association. Verbal contracts are legal but you should always ask for a written contract. As with any contract, you must read all of the terms and conditions with care. Here are some of the most important things you should check in a rental contract:
- The landlord’s name, address and contact details
- The tenant’s name
- The cost per calendar month
- If the utilities are included
- The length of the contract
- The notice period
- If you can decorate
Before signing anything, it is also worth checking if there is an inventory of furniture for you to check. Make a note of the condition of the furniture too. Some landlords have strict rules about smoking so ask first.
Unfortunately, there are scammers! The main scam to be aware of is when a landlord or agent asks for a deposit, especially if the deposit is to be paid into a foreign account. Always ask to see ID from the landlord or agent. If they don’t have anything it’s a worrying sign. Finally, don’t get trapped in fear of loss. Agents may engage in a bidding war trying to increase the rent amount. If you can’t afford it, don’t follow the bad advice of an agent.
You should expect high standards when renting in Sweden. Properties are rented out ‘fully serviceable’, which means it should come with all of the following necessities:
- A shower
- A fridge
- A washing machine
- A toilet
- Hot and cold water
If your accommodation if furnished, there should be:
- White goods
- Kitchen appliances
If you don’t have your own washing machine, there out to be a communal washing area that you have access to. The chances are there will be a good selection of kitchen utensils and possibly even bedding. If you prefer (or need) a furnished property, you will have to pay about 10% more.
Long-term rentals are considered more than 6 months and it is possible to rent furnished or unfurnished. While flats come with some furniture, they are normally unfurnished. Short-term rentals are considered from 1 to 3 months. A popular chose for expats is short-term rental in apartments, B&B’s or through Airbnb. They are handy to stay in while looking at the long-term market. They are cheaper and the short-term market is less competitive.
Blocket is a rental site with rooms and apartments across all of Sweden. BostadDirekt is another great rental site, translation help is also needed, and you will have to pay if you want to see the landlord’s details.