Soon Stockholm will welcome all the new international students enrolled in the city’s many universities. For exchange students, it’s usually the partner university that arranges the accommodation; but as a regular student, be prepared to face Stockholm’s tough housing situation on your own.
Stockholm accommodation is often managed through a queuing system: you have to join a queue and every day you stay in the queue your chances of getting an apartment or a room will increase. We don’t want to scare you, but the truth is that the Stockholm renting market is far from easy. However, there are a number of options open to you:
Option 1: Student Dormitories
If you are a student it might be worth trying to get into one of the few student dormitories around Stockholm. However, keep in mind that the places available are way too few compared to the number of people interested. Sometimes your university will have some rooms that are privately rented out by the university itself, so the first step will be to go on the accommodation section of your university website and look whether your institution is offering this kind of service and what the deadlines are to apply. Still, be ready with a plan B, since the number of rooms managed by universities is not very large.
If you are not offered a place through your department or if your university doesn’t provide this type of service, it’s time to make your next move: sign up to the SSSB queue as soon as possible. SSSB stands for Stiftelsen Stockholms Studentbostäder, it’s the biggest students’ housing company and is managed by the Stockholm Federation of Student Unions.
However, don’t sign up too early, since you will have to become a member of your university’s student union within 90 days of joining the SSSB’s queue and you can only do that once the semester starts. If after 90 days you are not a member of a student union yet, you will loose your amassed credit days.
Tip: to avoid your credit days being reset to zero, you can freeze your place in the queue and it will be resumed once you join a student union.
The SSSB system is free of charge and although the queue can be quite long it’s worth a try, especially since from time to time they offer last minute accommodation on a first come, first served basis, disregarding how many queuing days you have up until that moment. You don’t need a personnummer to register through SSSB, but as soon as you get one, make sure to communicate it both to SSSB and your student union since this will make things smoother.
Another provider of student housing is Huge Fastigheter. They offer accommodation in southern Stockholm, mainly in Huddinge – Flemingsberg. You don’t need a personnummer to sign up and queue is free of charge.
You can also have a look at http://www.lappis.org/, a forum for students living in Lappis, one of the biggest student housing complex in Stockholm. Sometimes students living there need to leave their room for a few months or a semester, and will look for someone to sublet their room to.
Watch out for scams and illegal subletting: Lappis is part of SSSB system, so these rules for subletting also apply to Lappis housing complex.
Another alternative is to register with Stockholms Stads Bostadsförmedling. This option may be interesting especially if you are considering staying in Stockholm for a few years as the queue is also quite long (Swedes usually get signed up for this queue as soon as they turn 18). They provide accommodation for both students and non-students (however, you are not competing for the same flats since they offer different options for students and non-students). You need to have a personnummer to join the queue and pay 225 SEK per year to stay in.
A website that intermediates between you and the different housing associations (and one that I recommend) is Fixakontraktet. A subscription to Fixakontraktet costs 298 SEK for the first month and is especially useful to get notifications about last minute accommodation before everyone else, besides relieving you from staying in front of the computer and continuously refreshing the webpage looking for a last minute deal. Moreover, Fixakontraktet is aimed at finding first hand contracts, which are extremely difficult to spot in Stockholm. If you haven’t found a flat in 30 days you can choose to stay on and then pay 149 SEK for the following month until you find an apartment.
Option 2: Private Rentals
A good starting point into the private rentals jungle might be Akademisk Kvart, a platform founded by Stockholm Federation of Student Unions, financed by Stockholm’s five main universities and targeting students. Akademisk Kvart is totally free, both if you want to apply for accommodation and if you are looking for someone to share your flat with – or even looking to rent out your apartment.
I say it’s a good starting point because since it’s aimed at students you won’t have to compete with non-students looking for accommodation. It’s also free and you don’t need a personnummer to get full access to the website services. There is also helpful information about Swedish rented property law as well as examples of what is a reasonable rent and downloadable rental agreements.
There are many other websites for private housing aimed at students, for example Studentlya and Easy Roommate. However, scams are not unheard of on those websites, so pay extra attention and arrange for a viewing of the room or flat in person before transferring any money.
Apart from the websites targeting students, there are other websites for finding private rentals, the main two being Blocket and Bostaddirekt. You can find useful tips regarding private rentals in the articles featured in the past on YourLivingCity.
- Always be ready with a copy of your letter of enrollment/acceptance.
- Get familiar with Stockholm’s neighbourhoods.
- Get a mobile phone number as soon as you arrive in Stockholm: if the mobile number is available, it’s better to call the potential landlords instead of sending them e-mails.
- Prepare a short introduction about who you are, what you are doing in Stockholm and your lifestyle. This will make you stand out among the dozens of other people interested in the same room.
Good luck and happy house-hunting!
Images: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/imagebank.sweden.se, Ulf Lundin/imagebank.sweden.se