Renting in Sweden: All You Need To Know In 2024



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Navigating the rental market in a new country can often feel like navigating through a labyrinth, especially when you’re not familiar with the language and cultural norms. Renting a place to call home is one of the most crucial steps you’ll take when settling into a new country, and Sweden is no exception.

Whether you’re eyeing a modern apartment in Stockholm or dreaming of a quaint house in a smaller town, everyone has options. With a little preparation and understanding, renting in Sweden can be a straightforward and even rewarding experience.


  • Queue points (“bostadskö”) are crucial for getting long-term rentals in popular areas.
  • Legal tenant rights in Sweden are robust, offering various protections.
  • Financial aspects of renting include both obvious and hidden costs.
  • Online platforms and real estate agents are primary resources for finding a rental property.
  • The choice between short-term and long-term rentals depends on your specific needs and circumstances.
  • Utilities may or may not be included in the rent, and maintenance is generally the landlord’s responsibility.

Understanding the Rental Market in Sweden

Sweden offers a diverse range of housing options that cater to different needs and preferences. This variety is especially beneficial if you’re new to the country and are exploring what suits you best. To begin, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the types of rentals available and how the experience may vary depending on your location.

Types of Rentals Available

In Sweden, the rental market generally consists of three main types of housing:


These are the most common and are usually found in larger cities. Apartments can range from studio units to multi-bedroom spaces and may be furnished or unfurnished.


Typically found in suburban or rural areas, renting a house is often more suitable for families or those looking for more space and privacy.

Shared Accommodations

In this setup, you rent a room in a larger apartment or house and share common areas like the kitchen and bathroom with other tenants. This option is popular among students and young professionals.

Cities vs. Small Towns: How the Rental Experience Varies

The renting experience can differ considerably based on whether you’re looking in a bustling city like Stockholm, Gothenburg, or a smaller town. In cities, competition is fierce, and rents can be higher. It’s not uncommon for apartments in popular areas to be snatched up within days, or even hours, of being listed.

In contrast, smaller towns usually offer more availability and potentially lower rents. However, they may lack the amenities and public transportation options that cities provide.

Here’s where understanding your own priorities comes into play—do you value a bustling social scene, or are you looking for peace and quiet? Each setting has its own advantages and disadvantages, and what’s crucial is finding a location that aligns with your lifestyle.

The Importance of “Queue Points”

One of the most distinctive features of the Swedish rental market is the concept of “queue points,” or “bostadskö” in Swedish. If you’re new to the country, this system might initially appear complex or even daunting, but rest assured, it’s a structured way to ensure fairness in the rental process. Understanding how this system works is beneficial—it’s almost essential for anyone planning to rent in Sweden, particularly in larger cities with high housing demand.

Explaining the “Bostadskö” System

In essence, the “bostadskö” system is a waiting list for rental apartments. The longer you are in the queue, the more points you accumulate. These points then determine your ranking when you apply for an available rental. Generally, the person with the most points gets the first option to take the apartment.

While this may seem straightforward, there’s a catch: it can take years to accumulate enough points to be at the top of the list, especially in popular areas like Stockholm. However, don’t let this discourage you. There are often alternative options, like subletting or renting in less competitive areas, where queue points may not be as crucial.

You can check out Bostadsko for Stockholm here.

How to Accumulate Queue Points and Why They Matter

Signing up for the queue system usually involves registering on a municipal website or through a housing company. Once you’re registered, you begin to accumulate points for each day you’re in the queue. These points can be extraordinarily valuable, especially if you plan to stay in Sweden for an extended period. Even if you find an immediate rental solution, joining the queue as soon as possible is advisable for future opportunities.

Queue points are not just numbers; they’re essentially a form of social currency in the Swedish rental market. The higher your points, the better your choices when it comes to selecting a rental. This system also means it’s never too early to start collecting points, even if you’re not sure of your long-term plans.

Legal Aspects and Tenant Rights

Securing a place to live is more than just signing a lease and moving in; it involves understanding the legal framework that will govern your time as a tenant. Sweden has robust tenant laws designed to protect both the landlord and the tenant. Knowing your rights can put your mind at ease and equip you to handle any situation that may arise during your stay.

The Rental Contract: What to Look For

When you finally find a place that suits your needs, you’ll be presented with a rental contract, also known as a “hyreskontrakt.” It’s crucial to read through this document carefully. Ensure it clearly states the terms of the lease, including the rent amount, the rental period, and what’s included in the rent, such as utilities or any other amenities. The contract should also outline the terms for termination by either party.

It’s not uncommon for rental contracts in Sweden to be written in Swedish. However, you have the right to request an English version or get it translated so you can fully understand the terms. If you’re not comfortable with the language, don’t hesitate to seek help from someone who is.

Tenant Rights: What the Law Says in Sweden

Sweden is known for its strong tenant protection laws. Some key protections include:

  • Rent Control: Unlike some countries where rent can be increased arbitrarily, in Sweden, there are regulations that control how much a landlord can charge and how often the rent can be increased.
  • Security: Once you’re in a rental agreement, it’s relatively hard for a landlord to evict you without a legally valid reason, providing a level of security that many appreciate.
  • Maintenance: Landlords are obligated to maintain the property in a livable condition. If repairs are needed, it’s generally the landlord’s responsibility to take care of them.
  • Deposit: While it’s common in many countries to pay a hefty security deposit, Swedish laws limit this. Deposits are not as widely used, and when they are, they’re usually not more than a month’s rent.

The Financial Aspects of Renting in Sweden

When you’re budgeting for your new life in Sweden, understanding the financial implications of renting is crucial. Not only does it help you plan better, but it also equips you with the knowledge to make informed decisions that suit your needs and financial capacity.

Average Costs: Rent, Utilities, and Deposits

The cost of rent can vary widely depending on the location and type of property you choose. Larger cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö generally command higher rents compared to smaller towns or rural areas. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center could cost anywhere from 8,000 to 15,000 SEK per month, while the same apartment might be significantly cheaper in a smaller town.

Utilities like electricity, heating, and water may or may not be included in your monthly rent, so it’s crucial to clarify this beforehand. Deposits are generally not as hefty as in other countries, and it’s not uncommon for landlords to ask for just one month’s rent as a security deposit.

Location1-Bedroom Apartment (SEK/month)Utilities (SEK/month)Security Deposit (SEK)
Stockholm10,000 – 15,0001,000 – 2,0001 month’s rent
Gothenburg8,000 – 12,000900 – 1,8001 month’s rent
Malmö7,000 – 11,000800 – 1,7001 month’s rent
Smaller Towns5,000 – 8,000700 – 1,5001 month’s rent

Hidden Costs: Membership Fees, Maintenance Charges

While the headline rent and utilities are the most evident costs, it’s essential to be aware of other potential charges. Some apartments may require a membership fee, especially if they are part of a housing cooperative. In addition, while maintenance responsibilities largely lie with the landlord, certain small repairs or upkeep tasks might fall on the tenant, so factor these into your budget as well.

Related: Cost of Living in Sweden: A Practical Overview

Finding a Place to Rent

One of the most crucial steps in settling down in Sweden is finding the right place to call home. While this can be daunting, especially in a foreign country with its unique systems and regulations, it’s also an exciting journey filled with possibilities. With a blend of digital resources and traditional methods, finding a place that suits your needs is entirely achievable.

Websites and Resources for House-Hunting

In today’s digital age, your search will likely start online. There are several websites dedicated to helping people find rental properties in Sweden. Websites like Blocket, Hemnet, and various housing agencies offer listings in both Swedish and English, making it easier for you to navigate through your options. These websites are regularly updated, and you can filter searches based on your preferences—location, size, price, etc.

For those who are members of a university or a professional organization, don’t overlook their resources. Many educational and professional institutions offer housing boards or have partnerships with rental agencies. You could find exclusive listings unavailable on public platforms through these channels.

Role of Real Estate Agents

While it’s entirely possible to find a rental property on your own, some people opt for the services of a real estate agent. An agent can help you find a place that matches your criteria, assist with paperwork, and even negotiate terms on your behalf. However, keep in mind that using an agent usually comes at a fee, which can vary depending on the level of service provided. While this is an added cost, the convenience and peace of mind are well worth it for many people.

Cultural Norms and What to Expect

When renting in Sweden, you’ll find that some certain cultural norms and expectations may differ from what you’re used to. While adapting to these cultural intricacies might take some time, understanding them can make your transition into Swedish society smoother and more rewarding.

Open Houses and Viewing Etiquette

Swedes are generally punctual and expect the same from others. If you’re going to an open house or a viewing, make sure you arrive on time.

The way you present yourself matters, as it often forms the first impression. Neat attire and polite manners are highly valued. At the viewing, it’s not uncommon for multiple people to be present, so be prepared to potentially make quick decisions if you’re interested in the property.

Communication Style and Building Relationships

Swedes are known for their straightforward communication style. While they may seem reserved at first, they value honesty and clarity. When dealing with landlords or real estate agents, being direct yet polite is usually appreciated. This directness also extends to written agreements; make sure you read all contracts carefully and feel free to ask questions about anything unclear.

Community Living and Quiet Hours

If you end up in an apartment building, you’ll likely notice the emphasis on community and respect for neighbors. Many Swedish apartment complexes have communal spaces like laundry rooms, and these shared amenities often come with their own set of rules. For instance, there are generally designated ‘quiet hours,’ during which loud noises such as music or heavy machinery are discouraged.

Sustainability Practices

Sweden is at the forefront of sustainability, and this often extends to the living spaces. Recycling is not just a good habit here; it’s often mandatory. Your apartment complex will likely have designated areas for sorting recyclables, and there may even be guidelines on how to dispose of organic waste.

Renting Short-Term vs. Long-Term

The nature of your stay in Sweden—whether it’s for a few months or several years—will greatly influence your rental options. Both short-term and long-term rentals come with their own sets of advantages and considerations. Understanding the differences between the two can help you make a decision that aligns with your needs and lifestyle.

Short-Term Rentals: Flexibility at a Price

Short-term rentals, often ranging from a week to a few months, offer the advantage of flexibility. This option is particularly useful for those who are in Sweden temporarily, perhaps for a work assignment or a study program. Short-term rentals often come furnished and may include utilities, offering a turnkey solution for your housing needs.

However, this convenience typically comes at a premium. Short-term rents are generally higher on a per-month basis than long-term rentals. Moreover, short-term leases give you less leverage in negotiating terms and conditions simply because of the temporary nature of your stay.

Long-Term Rentals: Stability with Commitment

On the other hand, long-term rentals usually require a more extended commitment, often at least a year. These rentals are generally more cost-effective over time and offer the stability of a consistent living situation. If you’ve amassed enough queue points in the “bostadskö” system, a long-term rental might offer you the option of a highly sought-after location.

However, long-term rentals often come unfurnished, requiring you to invest in furniture and household items. You’ll also typically need to set up utilities, which can be an additional responsibility.

Hybrid Options: Sublets and Corporate Housing

For those who find themselves in between these two categories, there are hybrid options available. Sublets offer somewhat more flexibility than traditional long-term rentals and may come furnished. Corporate housing solutions can also provide a middle ground, especially if you’re relocating for work and your employer offers housing options.

Utilities and Maintenance

One of the less glamorous but essential aspects of renting in Sweden—or anywhere, for that matter—is managing utilities and maintenance. From knowing what’s generally included in your rent to understanding your responsibilities for keeping the property in good shape, being well-informed about these aspects will give you a comprehensive view of what to expect and how to prepare.

Understanding What’s Included

Firstly, clarifying what utilities are included in your monthly rent is important. This can vary significantly from one rental agreement to another. Common utilities like water, heating, and garbage collection are often included in Swedish rental apartments, but this isn’t a given. Electricity, internet, and cable TV are typically the tenant’s responsibility.

Always make sure to confirm what is and isn’t included in your rent. This will help you budget more accurately and avoid any unpleasant surprises down the line.

Setting Up Utilities

If utilities like electricity and internet are not included in your rent, you’ll need to set them up yourself. While this may sound daunting, especially if you’re not fluent in Swedish, rest assured that many providers offer customer service in English. You can usually set up utilities with just a phone call or an online application, but do remember that some services might require a Swedish personal identity number.

Maintenance Responsibilities

In Sweden, the landlord is generally responsible for the property’s maintenance, ensuring it remains in a habitable condition. This includes major repairs like plumbing issues, electrical faults, and structural damage. However, as a tenant, you’re expected to maintain the day-to-day cleanliness of the property and promptly report any issues to the landlord.

Certain minor repairs or maintenance tasks, like changing light bulbs or unblocking drains, will often be your responsibility. Check your rental contract for specific details, and when in doubt, consult your landlord for clarification.

Related: Au Pair in Sweden – Insights and Tips


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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