In news that should surprise absolutely no one that has attempted to find housing (legally) in Stockholm, a recent study (summary in Swedish and in English) shows that about 40% of apartments are rented illegally.
I am coming up on my three year anniversary of waiting in line over at Stockholms Stads Bostadsförmedlingen. In 2009 there were only 105 apartments in Innerstaden that were rented out to people who had waited in line for 0-4 years. Out of 947. That’s 11%. But it gets better. Because of those 105 apartments, only 18 were classified as a “Vanlig lägenhet.” That means they were not set aside for youth, seniors, or that they weren’t newly built apartments. That doesn’t exactly leave a lot to choose from.
To be fair (because what is more fair than waiting in a line where 40% of the apartments are illegally occupied?), moving farther away from the city increases your chances of getting a place to live. Outside of the inner city 44% of apartments were rented by people waiting in line from 0-4 years.
Most of the illegal contracts are because people keep their contracts and then move out, placing the contract on the black market. Often with a somewhat inflated price. Then all those people who have been waiting in line for three years and are tired of waiting convince themselves that yes, maybe it is worth it to pay a little extra for that contract. Everyone else is doing it after all. Or at least 40% of everyone else. The lesson in all of this? If you’re moving to Sweden and looking for a place to live, start now.
It’s no wonder then that 40% of apartments are illegally rented. Waiting in line for several years with little chance of living in town isn’t conducive to a healthy rental market. Yet some people still believe that the current system works and should continue as it is. There is a fear that a free rental market will result in you not having a place to live. You know, kind of the way it is now. But change is scary. I should know. I’m a registered Republican.
The good thing to come out of this is of course that two new jobs were created at Svenska Bostäder to look into the fraud. Sweden’s job creation plan hard at work.
Welcome to Sweden. And breaking the law. Breaking the law.
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