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Renters in Sweden struggle to make ends meet

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08:33 CEST+02:00
Sweden's renters are having a tougher time meeting their monthly obligations, resulting in increased evictions as well as applications for housing assistance payments.

Sweden's Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) reports it has received 30,000 more applications for housing supplements (bostadstillägg) and housing allowances (bostadsbidrag) so far this year than during the same period in 2008, the Hem och Hyra magazine reports.

The bulk of the rise in applications comes from pensioners seeking housing supplements, which are housing supports reserved for people living on a fixed income such as a pension or disability payments.

Applications for housing allowances, which are offered to people between 18- and 28-years-old, have increased by 7,000.

“Earlier we saw a decrease in applications during the summer months, but we're not seeing that now,” the agency's Pekka Kairento told the magazine.

At the same time, new figures from the Swedish Enforcement Agency (Kronofogden) show that the number of evictions so far in 2009 has increased from the figure reported for the same period last year.

The agency reports that about 1,500 hundred tenants, about eight per day, have been forced to leave their homes so far this year.

Close to 200 of those evicted are between 18- and 25-years-old, Sveriges Radio (SR) reports.

“Evictions are increasing among young people today. It's due naturally to an increase in youth unemployment, but we've also have a view among young people whereby they don't prioritize their rent and instead just assume everything will work out,” said Rickard Stenberg from Insolvens, a national support group for the indebted, to SR.

“Unfortunately, you then learn the hard way that things don't work out.”

Stenberg also attributes the increase in evictions to the dwindling patience of landlords in the face of long queues for rental apartments in Sweden's large cities.

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