Stockholm is not that different from any major UK city, unless of course you arrive in winter when the temperature is minus 20°C and everything is covered in a thick layer of snow, but looking for some accommodation for the first time can be very weird experience.
Finding a Flat
Finding accommodation in Stockholm, and generally in Sweden, can be a huge problem. Most of the rental apartments are owned by big housing associations, which have long queuing systems to allocate flats to waiting tenants. I have friends in Stockholm who waited over 15 years to rent their flats.
As foreigners don’t usually have 15 years to wait, there are two options to get around this: subletting or buying. Subletting (or getting a “second hand contract” as it’s called in Swedish) is a big market and the good news is that there are strong rules about not being overcharged. Specifically, the original tenant cannot charge you more than he or she is paying for rent, with a small increase if the flat is furnished. Typical prices are between 5,000 to 9,000 SEK (£450 to £850) for a 35 square metre flat. The ‘Swedish Union of Tenants’, is a good place to get more information and a ‘Bostad Direkt‘ is a popular website for searching for flats.
Buying a flat is a strange process in Sweden, with auction-style bidding often done via text message. At least there are plenty of houses and apartments for sale, unlike the rental market, if you choose this route.
About the author
I arrived in Sweden in 2009 to take a PhD position at Stockholm University and have lived here ever since. I have a part-time job working for a publishing company in Stockholm, which I found out about from a friend. I first lived in a studio flat, which I sublet from a colleague at the University who was travelling abroad for a couple of years, before I moved in with my Swedish partner. We have been dating for a year. It took us 2 months before we had our first trip to Ikea for furniture.
Check the prices of removals to Sweden.
Contribution by Michael Pawlicki