Housing in Sweden: A Complete 2024 Guide for Foreigners



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Sweden offers a range of housing options, from modern apartments in the heart of the city to traditional wooden houses in the countryside. Additionally, there are specific accommodations designed for students attending universities. Each type of housing comes with its own set of rules, requirements, and costs, making it essential to have a comprehensive grasp of the options available.

In this guide, we delve into the various aspects of housing in Sweden—covering everything from legal considerations and types of accommodations to the application process and living conditions.


  • Understanding Swedish housing laws can ease the rental or buying process.
  • The cost and type of accommodation vary significantly between cities and rural areas.
  • Neighborhood selection influences lifestyle and daily conveniences.
  • Overcoming common challenges, like housing shortages and high costs, requires proactive planning.
  • Additional resources, from websites to legal aid, can guide you through the complexities of the Swedish housing market.

Legal Aspects of Housing in Sweden

In Sweden, housing is regulated by various laws and governmental bodies. The “Hyreslagen” (The Swedish Land Code) and the “Bostadsrättslagen” (The Swedish Co-operative Housing Act) are two key pieces of legislation that you should be aware of. These laws stipulate the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords.

Tenant and Landlord Responsibilities

As a tenant, you are generally responsible for paying your rent on time, maintaining a certain level of cleanliness, and notifying the landlord of any maintenance issues. A security deposit is often required; failing to adhere to the contractual terms could result in its forfeiture.

Landlords, on the other hand, are obligated to ensure the property is in a livable condition. This means that amenities like heating, plumbing, and electricity must be functional. If any of these essential services break down, the landlord has to fix them.

Rent Control and Tenant Protections

Sweden has a system of rent control, which aims to ensure affordable housing for everyone. Rent is often negotiated collectively by tenants’ associations and landlords. This rent control mechanism prevents exorbitant rent hikes and protects tenants.

Additionally, eviction laws are stringent, providing robust protections for tenants. Arbitrary eviction is illegal; a landlord must have a valid reason to initiate an eviction process, such as unpaid rent or violation of lease terms.

Subletting and Secondary Contracts

It’s worth mentioning that subletting is common in Sweden due to the shortage of rental properties in many areas. If you’re considering this option, it’s crucial to have a subletting agreement in place. Both primary and secondary contracts should align with Swedish laws to avoid complications.

Types of Accommodations

Rental Apartments: The Most Common Choice

Rental apartments are the go-to option for many, both in the cities and in smaller towns. These apartments can be unfurnished, semi-furnished, or fully furnished, depending on the landlord. Rental contracts can be either short-term or long-term. Long-term contracts, usually spanning multiple years, offer greater stability but may require a longer commitment.

Buying Property: An Investment for the Long Haul

If you plan to stay in Sweden for an extended period, buying property might be a viable option. This could be an apartment in a multi-dwelling building or a freestanding house. When buying property, be prepared for additional costs like property tax, maintenance fees, and possibly renovation expenses.

Shared Housing: An Economical Alternative

Another cost-effective option is shared housing, where you rent a room in a larger apartment or house and share common areas like the kitchen and bathroom with other tenants. Shared housing is particularly popular among students and young professionals. It’s crucial to clearly agree with your housemates about chores, bills, and shared responsibilities to avoid misunderstandings.

Student Housing: Specifically Designed for Students

If you’re coming to Sweden for educational purposes, student housing is an option worth considering. These are typically studio apartments or shared housing units close to university campuses. Availability can be limited, especially in major cities, so applying for student housing is advisable as soon as you receive your acceptance to university.

Finding Housing

The digital age has made it easier than ever to find housing, and Sweden is no exception. Numerous websites and apps specialize in listing available accommodations. Websites like Blocket, Bostaddirekt, and Hemnet are widely used to find rental and for-sale properties. Make sure to check these platforms regularly as good listings often get snapped up quickly.

Though increasingly rare, some people still prefer to list their rental properties in local newspapers. If you’re in a smaller town or are interested in a specific neighborhood, picking up a local paper might yield some valuable leads. Bulletin boards in community centers or grocery stores occasionally have listings as well.

Sometimes the best opportunities come from within your network. Friends, colleagues, or acquaintances might know of available housing or could even be looking for a tenant themselves. Social media groups and online communities focused on living in Sweden are also useful resources for leads and advice.

Real Estate Agents: Professional Help for Specific Needs

If you have particular housing requirements or are looking to purchase property, a real estate agent can provide tailored assistance. While their services are not free, their expertise can save you time and potentially money in the long run. They can help you navigate the complexities of the Swedish housing market, which can be especially helpful if you’re not fluent in Swedish.

Application Process

Documentation: The Foundation of Your Application

The first step in securing housing in Sweden involves gathering the necessary documentation. Landlords or real estate agencies typically require:

  • Proof of income or employment
  • Identification documents, such as a passport or national ID card
  • References from previous landlords, if applicable

These documents verify your identity and ability to pay rent on time. Some landlords might request additional information, such as bank statements, to assess your financial stability further.

Credit Checks: A Standard Procedure

In Sweden, it’s standard for landlords to run credit checks on potential tenants. This process involves reviewing your financial history to assess your creditworthiness. A credit check provides the landlord with an insight into your financial reliability. If you have a history of late payments or debts, this could impact your ability to secure a rental property.

Deposits and Fees: The Financial Commitments

Before moving in, you’ll often be required to pay a security deposit, usually amounting to one or three months’ rent. This deposit serves as a safeguard for the landlord and will be returned to you when you move out, provided the property is in good condition. Additionally, some rentals might require an administration fee, which covers the cost of paperwork and is non-refundable.

Application Forms and Waiting Lists

Once you’ve found a property you’re interested in, you’ll usually have to fill out an application form. This form will ask for details about your employment, income, and personal information. For highly sought-after properties, especially in big cities, there can be long waiting lists. Being prompt with your application can give you an edge in such competitive situations.

Related: Renting in Sweden: All You Need to Know in 2024

Contracts and Leases

The Importance of a Formal Agreement

Having a formal contract or lease agreement is crucial when securing housing in Sweden. A well-drafted contract serves as a legal safeguard for both the tenant and the landlord, outlining the terms and conditions of the rental arrangement. Make sure to read the contract thoroughly and ensure that it complies with Swedish housing laws.

Common Clauses in Swedish Leases

Lease agreements in Sweden usually contain a number of standard clauses. These may include:

  • Duration of the lease: This specifies whether the contract is for a fixed term or indefinite period.
  • Rent: This section will detail the monthly rent, the due date, and any additional costs like utilities or maintenance fees.
  • Security deposit: The contract should state the amount of the deposit, the conditions under which it may be retained, and the timeline for its return after the lease ends.
  • Termination: This section explains the notice periods required from both the tenant and the landlord to terminate the lease.

Short-term vs. Long-term Leases

Short-term leases are usually easier to obtain but often come with a higher monthly rent. They offer greater flexibility, especially if you’re uncertain about how long you’ll be staying in Sweden.

Long-term leases provide a sense of stability and often have a slightly lower monthly rent. However, these usually require a longer commitment, often one year or more.

Terminating a Lease

Ending a lease requires giving notice in accordance with the terms set out in the contract. Failure to adhere to the notice period can result in financial penalties. The process is generally formal and should be conducted in writing to ensure there’s a record of the termination.

Cost of Living

LocationOne-Bedroom Apartment Rent (SEK/month)Additional Monthly Expenses (SEK)Public Transportation (SEK/month)
Major Cities7,000 to 12,0001,000 to 2,000500 to 1,000
Small Towns4,000 to 7,0001,000 to 2,000500 to 1,000
Rural Areas4,000 to 7,0001,000 to 2,000May vary

Regional Variations: City vs. Countryside

One of the first things to consider when looking for housing in Sweden is the significant cost disparity between urban and rural areas.

Cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö have higher rents and property prices than smaller towns or rural settings. While city living offers convenience and many amenities, it comes at a premium.

Price to Expect in Major Cities

In major Swedish cities, the cost of a one-bedroom apartment can range from 7,000 to 12,000 SEK per month, depending on the area and condition of the property. More luxurious accommodations in prime locations can cost considerably more. Utilities such as electricity, water, and internet usually add an additional 1,000 to 2,000 SEK to your monthly expenses.

The Economical Side: Smaller Towns and Rural Areas

Smaller towns and rural areas offer a more affordable lifestyle. A one-bedroom apartment in these regions may cost between 4,000 and 7,000 SEK per month. Utilities are generally in the same range as in cities but can sometimes be slightly cheaper.

Additional Living Expenses

Beyond the rent, consider other living expenses such as groceries, transportation, and healthcare. Public transportation is efficient but can add an additional 500 to 1,000 SEK to your monthly budget. Groceries may cost around 2,000 to 3,000 SEK per month per person, depending on your eating habits.

Balancing Cost and Convenience

When deciding where to live, you’ll want to balance the cost of housing with other factors such as proximity to work, availability of public transport, and local amenities like schools, healthcare facilities, and shopping centers. Sometimes paying a little more for convenience can save you time and stress in the long run.

Related: Cost of Living in Sweden: A Practical Overview for 2024

Living Conditions and Standards

Quality of Housing

Sweden is generally known for its high standard of living, which extends to its housing. Most residences, whether apartments or houses, are well-built, equipped with modern amenities, and adhere to rigorous construction and safety standards. Even in older buildings, it’s common to find central heating, double-glazed windows, and functional plumbing and electrical systems.

Utilities and Infrastructure

When it comes to utilities, expect reliable services. Electricity, water supply, and waste disposal are highly efficient and seldom experience outages. Internet connectivity is excellent even in remote areas, making Sweden one of the most digitally connected countries in the world.

Heating and Insulation

Given Sweden’s cold winters, heating is a crucial aspect of housing. Most residential buildings are equipped with central heating systems, and the cost is often included in the monthly rent. Good insulation is another standard feature, which not only keeps the home warm but also helps reduce energy consumption.

Safety and Security

Sweden scores high on safety and is considered one of the safest countries globally. Most neighborhoods are safe to walk around, even during late hours. However, getting local advice on the area you’re considering moving to is always a good idea, especially if you’re unfamiliar with it.

Public Transport and Commute

Proximity to public transport can be a significant factor in choosing a place to live. Sweden’s public transportation system is comprehensive and highly efficient, making commuting from suburbs to city centers easy. This allows for more flexibility in choosing a residence that might be farther away but offers a lower cost of living.

Outdoor Spaces and Community Amenities

Another aspect to consider is access to outdoor spaces like parks, forests, and water bodies. Many Swedish cities are designed to be close to nature, offering excellent opportunities for outdoor activities. Community amenities like gyms, pools, and recreational centers are also commonly found.

Neighborhood Selection

Factors to Consider

Choosing the right neighborhood is a critical aspect of your housing journey in Sweden. Your choice will impact your day-to-day life and your experience of integrating into Swedish society. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Proximity to Work or School: Minimizing commute time can enhance your work-life balance. Proximity to public transport can be a valuable asset if you don’t own a car.
  • Amenities: Evaluate the availability of grocery stores, healthcare facilities, and other essential services. These factors contribute significantly to your daily convenience.
  • Safety: Sweden is generally safe, but like any other country, the safety quotient can vary from one area to another. Research crime rates if possible and consult locals for their opinion.

Researching Neighborhoods

Before committing to a particular area, it’s advisable to do thorough research. Online platforms can offer a wealth of information, and visiting the area yourself can provide invaluable insights. Walk around at different times of the day to get a feel for the neighborhood. Notice the cleanliness, noise level, and overall vibe.

Community Dynamics

Each neighborhood has its unique community dynamics. Some areas are known for their vibrant arts scenes, some are family-friendly, while students or young professionals prefer others. Choose a neighborhood that aligns with your lifestyle and needs.

Future Developments

Pay attention to any future developments planned for the area. New construction, transport links, or commercial projects can impact property values and the quality of life.

Local Regulations and Bylaws

It’s also beneficial to be aware of any local regulations or bylaws that might affect you. For example, some residential areas may have restrictions on parking, pet ownership, or alterations to property exteriors.

Additional Resources

There are several online platforms that can assist you in finding a place to live:

  • Blocket: A popular classified ads website where you can find various housing options.
  • Hemnet: A comprehensive real estate marketplace for buying properties.
  • Bostaddirekt: Specializes in sublets and is often used by people looking for shorter-term housing.

Various government websites offer helpful information on housing laws, renters’ rights, and more:

If you’re a student, don’t overlook the housing office at your educational institution. They can provide lists of student-friendly housing options and sometimes even assist with the application process.


Sofia is our Relocation Expert, who brings first-hand experience in moving to Sweden from abroad. She moved to Sweden over a decade ago and navigated the complexities of relocation herself.

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