Housing in Sweden

Bolig i Sverige
Here you can find tips on finding a house or apartment in Sweden, and information about the Swedish housing market and the different types of housing in Sweden. You can read about renting and buying houses, holiday cottages and apartments. You can also see what applies when someone from another country wants to buy a property in Sweden, and what applies in terms of tax liability when you sell a private property.

Moving from another country and finding somewhere to live - regardless of whether you want to buy or rent - can be difficult if you do not know the language or are not familiar with the housing market.

Hopefully, it will be easier for you to navigate round the Swedish housing market and be in a good position to find your dream property in Sweden when you have read this text.

Can people from other countries buy property in Sweden?

Both Swedish and foreign citizens can buy property in Sweden. You do not need to be a Swedish citizen or have a Swedish personal ID number,

but you must meet the requirements relating to the house purchase. If you want to buy a property, the agreement must be in writing, it must include a transfer declaration, information about the purchase price, and both buyer and seller must sign the document.

What types of housing are there in Sweden?

There are three main types of housing in Sweden.

  • You can live in a house. You can choose to live in your own house on its own plot. If you buy a house on its own plot, you decide for yourself and are responsible for almost everything in connection with your home. You can also own the house, but lease the land the house is built on. This means that you have the right to rent the plot itself (tomträtt) from the municipality for an indefinite period. You can contact the municipality and find out what this costs.
  • You can live in an apartment in a housing cooperative (bostadsrättsförening). If you live in this type of apartment (bostadsrätt) you have the right to live there. You buy a percentage of the property itself and have the right to use your apartment within the property. Together with the other residents of the house, you own the property and together form part of a joint housing association. There are certain restrictions involved with this type of property - for example, you are not allowed to rent out your flat without the approval of the housing cooperative board. It is the housing association that jointly owns and administers the property in which the apartment is situated. The association is jointly managed by everyone living in the property, and the rules vary from association to association.
  • You can live in a rental apartment and pay rent for it. You can also rent a house, but renting an apartment is more common, and you pay a monthly sum.

There are also other ways you can live in Sweden. For example you can live in a cooperative rental apartment (kooperativ hyresrätt) which is something between a rental apartment and a housing cooperative apartment, or you can live in an owner-occupied apartment (äganderätt) where you own your home without being a member of a joint association.

How do I rent an apartment in Sweden?

There can be many reasons for choosing not to buy property in Sweden. For example, you do not know how long you will be living in Sweden, you cannot afford to buy your own home, your stay in Sweden is to be short, or you prefer not to have the responsibility for everything when something needs to be repaired in your home.

In Sweden, the demand for rented accommodation is high , so it can be difficult to find an apartment. Apartments can be rented via municipal organisations and private rental and housing companies. These are called ”bostadsbolag” and “hyresvärdar” in Swedish. If you want to rent a property (hyresrätt), you can contact the Swedish municipality to which you want to move, for information about any municipal letting companies. Municipalities have their own letting agencies where you can put your name on a waiting list. You can also contact a private landlord in the Swedish municipality to which you want to move.

Generally, you must have been on a waiting list for housing for a long time. There is no central register of Swedish housing companies. If you are looking for a rental property, you can find them on various housing portals, or by searching using the terms "hyresvärd" or "bostadsbolag". There are some housing portals that compile many housing companies' tenancies, where you must pay a fee to be registered as a housing seeker.

You can find property advertisements in the big newspapers, in the local media in the area you want to live, and online.

When you rent an apartment in Sweden, you are entitled to a rental contract that shows how much rent you are to pay and what is included in the rent. Standard equipment/facilities in Swedish apartments are fridge, cooker and freezer, shower and/or bath, and access to a laundry. It is the landlord who is responsible for paying for maintenance and repairs, and you must contact the landlord if you need something repaired. Normally, a deposit is not required in Sweden.

What are your best tips for finding an apartment in Sweden?

Do you think it is difficult to find your way in the Swedish housing market? You are not alone, and there are many questions. Should you put your name on a waiting list? Are you entitled to apply for housing allowance? What can you do to reduce your housing costs?

We have put together answers to the most common questions to help you when you are looking for an apartment to rent.

  • Put your name on the municipal waiting list as quickly as possible, and be willing to live less centrally in the town or city.
  • Look for accommodation from private landlords. Private landlords often have their own website where you can put your name on a waiting list and register your interest. Some private landlords may not apply a waiting list in consecutive order, and do not just choose tenants based on how long they have been in the queue,. They may have their own way of prioritising the order.
  • Some landlords accept applications by email, so sent a mail to landlords, write a couple of lines about yourself, and say you are interested in living in one of their properties.
  • If you are looking for a temporary apartment or an apartment at short notice, you can sublet an apartment or choose to live in a room in a house or apartment.
  • You can choose to live in a collective or in a housing association. Due to the housing shortage in Sweden, this has become more and more common. It also enables you to reduce your living costs and find new friends in a new country. Check carefully what is written in the lease, as in most cases this means that you are subletting or living with someone else when you live in this way. This means that you can more easily be given notice.
  • You can look for advertisements online and on social media. You can look on the website blocket.se and look for housing in the part of Sweden where you want to live, or put in an advertisement that you are looking for somewhere to live. On Facebook you can find groups in the town you are planning to move to, where private individuals may advertise apartments and other forms of housing they want to rent out.
  • You may be entitled to housing allowance if your income is too low. You must pay your rent every month.

Can I sublet an apartment in Sweden?

It can be very difficult to get onto the housing market in the big cities in Sweden, That is why many people choose to enter into a subleasing agreement (subletting contract). In Swedish this is called ”att hyra i andra hand”. If you have a subletting contract, it means you are not the sitting tenant in the apartment - you are renting it from the primary tenant, not the owner of the property. The owner must have permission from the housing association or housing company to sublet the property to you.

This type of apartment is often more expensive than an ordinary apartment, and the rental is for a limited period. Make sure you always have a rental agreement before you move into an apartment. Unless agreed otherwise, the period of notice in Sweden is one month.

Can I get special accommodation as a student or an elderly person in Sweden?

You can sign up for student housing in the larger cities or housing for the elderly at the municipal housing companies. The municipality in Sweden to which you are moving can give you information about this.

To be considered for student accommodation, various study-related requirements must be satisfied. You can find relevant student accommodation portals in Sweden if you enter the Swedish words for student (“student”) and housing (“bostad”) in a search engine.

Can I live permanently in a summer house in Sweden?

You can also buy a summer house in Sweden and live there. There are no restrictions on the right to register in the Swedish Population Register and live in a holiday cottage on a permanent basis. You should ask your municipality about what types of municipal service you are entitled to in your holiday cottage.

Regardless of the type of property you are looking for, you can find tips, information and relevant links that will help you in your search on the websites of the The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning and the Consumer Association.

Do I pay tax in Sweden if I sell my property?

According to the Swedish Income Tax Act, you are taxed on any financial gain when you sell a property. If you move to Sweden and register in the Swedish Population Register before you sell your property in the country you move from, you must pay capital gains tax to the Swedish Tax Agency. If you sell your property before you move to Sweden, you are not taxed in accordance with the Swedish regulations.

You should therefore consider whether you want to sell your property in the country from which you are moving before you move to Sweden. The Swedish Tax Agency can give your more information on capital gains tax generated by the sale of a private residence.

In Sweden you also have to pay property tax. This means that everyone who owns a house or an apartment must pay tax to the municipality. This is called property tax (fastighetsavgift).

If you own an apartment in a housing association, it is the housing association (bostadsrättsföreningen) that pays the property tax.

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