Finding apartments in Stockholm is a nightmare. Sorry.
Unlike places like the UK and the USA for standard apartment rentals, there are no real estate agents that manage the process and research for you. You have to find an apartment all on your own.
Finding an apartment in Stockholm is difficult for everyone that lives here. I’m going to try and give you an intro into how to get started with finding an apartment, where to look, how the system works, and how to stay aware so you’re not left out in the cold.
Just a heads up. Stockholm has a huge housing crisis where there is just not enough apartments to fit everybody in. Therefore, the market now is incredibly competitive and saturated. Is a problem which is being worked on incredibly slowly by the government. It’s not going to change soon.
Finally, this is a big, complicated system. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments or via our contact page.
Renting in Sweden has 4 stages or types.
A first-hand contract is the crème de la crème for people wanting to rent. These are apartments built by the state that you can rent for a VERY low cost (half of a standard apartment) but there’s a long queue. Some people signup for ‘bostadskön’ which works on a first come first served basis. The longer you have been in the queue, the bigger pick of the apartments you have.
Most people will wait in the queue for 7+ years for a decent apartment in the city, but the demand is much less out of the central areas.
Once you have a first-hand contract, you have the chance to trade with others to move around. Of course, you are still renting and don’t own the property, but you have much more security since you are the one in control.
This is the most common type of rental. This is where someone that owns their apartment or has a first-hand contract, rents their apartment to someone else. There are quite a few rules around this but this comes at a cost and competition is high.
These can be short and long term, and often have a 1-3 month notice period if the tenant/landlord want to move out/in.
This is a grey area in Stockholm’s housing, but this is where someone with a second-hand contract rents to someone else. Most landlords don’t allow it and if you find one, look somewhere else as it’s a good way to lose money and end up being messed around.
Some apartment owners will rent just a room normally for singles. These can be much cheaper than a whole apartment and a great way to get into the community.
The easiest option but the most expensive. Apartments in Stockholm start around the 1.5 million SEK mark, and will go above the list price because of high demand from buyers. Sites like Hemnet are good places to start.
Apartments in Stockholm are sold in square meters (or kvm). Anything less than 30sqm is small, 30-50 is normal, 50+ is large.
The number of rooms is a little more confusing. a två:a or 2 room apartment is one bedroom and one room (i.e. living/dining room). The kitchen is then added as a half like a 1.5 room apartment.
As with any apartment search, decide what your budget is per month for an apartment. Here are some very rough estimations at what a standard apartment costs in town.
|Central Stockholm||20,000 SEK +|
|Södermalm||11,000 SEK +|
|Outskirts of town||6,000 SEK +|
Where to find apartments in Stockholm
#1 – Blocket
This is where most people start, on Sweden’s version of Craigslist/GumTree. Blocket lets people that want to rent their apartment list it here for a small fee.
It works like this:
- Find an apartment you like
- Email them via Blocket or call if they have a mobile number (check the listing as some add their number but don’t want you to call – odd)
- The person renting the apartment will receive over 200 emails in the first 20 minutes of listing the apartment – first, come first served
- If the landlord likes your application email, you might get called for a viewing. Normally 5-10 people get called for a viewing
- Go to the viewing and make a good impression
- If you like the apartment, let the landlord know
- If they liked you and want to rent, you might get a call. Act quickly; they don’t wait around
Watch out for apartments that sound too good to be true, and those that don’t show any pictures. Also, beware of scammers. Blocket is known for that. I once spoke to a guy who wanted me to transfer the deposit for an apartment before the first viewing as a security bond that I would turn up.
It’s worth getting a friend or a professional to translate your Blocket welcome email into Sweden to help get a callback.
#2 – Samtrygg
Another site that I’ve browsed through but never used. Samtrygg its a great site for Swedes and Expats looking for apartments in Stockholm, and helps connects renters with landlords.
#3 – Bostad Direkt
I’ve never used this site to get an apartment but they have a good selection of apartments ready to rent. You need to be a member and it is pricy, but should be a good start.
#4 – Qasa
This is a new company that shows what apartments are available, and makes the rental market safer for tenants and landlords. Blocket has a reputation of scammers so Qasa tries to make the whole process and little more regulated. I have never used the service but have heard good things and they are getting good traction from the Stockholm scene.
#5 – RentalSpy
This is a great new website I found out about from the comments of this article. With Rental Spy, you can get real-time alerts about new apartments that match your needs. You can then reply to landlords as soon as possible and get to the front of the queue. A great tool!
Many landlords want to rent to someone/a couple they can trust. It’s not alway about who can pay the quickest here. Take the time to make a solid, interesting, and unique application that shows you are serious and trustworthy.
Failure is very common here too. Be ready to not hear from most of the application emails you send and not take it personally when you are rejected for an apartment. Finding apartments in Stockholm is tough here and takes time, but keep going and you will find something.
Photo Credits: Helena Wahlman/imagebank.sweden.se