Eight things to love about renting in Sweden

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Eight things to love about renting in Sweden
Apartments in Sweden are compact. Photo: Shutterstock

A housing crisis means that short-term sublets are the norm in major cities and rent regulation rules are frequently flouted. But this week, The Local has decided to look on the bright side of renting an apartment in Sweden.

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1. Clever storage
You might end up in a tiny studio on the wrong side of the city from your office, but you can pretty much guarantee there'll be plenty of space to store your stuff. Swedes are the masters of compact living, so expect under-the-bed storage, niftily designed flat-pack furniture or built-in wardrobes. Many apartment blocks also include basement lock-ups. You'll be channelling minimalist Scandinavian chic in no time.
Built-in wardrobes are common in Sweden. Photo: Shutterstock
2. Industrial strength washing machines
Washing machines are a luxury item in Sweden and most apartment dwellers use communal laundry rooms. Yes it is incredibly annoying that you usually have to book a slot in advance and turn up on time. But in many places you can pick speedy cycles and put several loads on at once. Swedes love tumble dryers too, so there's no need to spoil that minimalist vibe by hanging out washing in your living room (especially as this may also be the room you cook and sleep in).

Many apartment blocks boast large shared washing machines. Photo: Shutterstock

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3. Warmth
Heating is regulated in many apartment blocks. This means you can't choose to whack your radiators on full blast in the summer, but you'll be kept warm in winter, often for a fixed price included in your monthly rent. Useful in a country where night time temperatures regularly drop well below 10C between November and March.

You need somewhere cosy after a snowy commute home in Sweden. Photo: TT
4. Independence
Single? In Sweden it is the norm to live on your own and if you're a working professional you should be able to afford it. Even if your landlord breaks rent regulations, a studio apartment in Stockholm or Malmö should still work out cheaper than in major cities in the UK, the US or Australia, where high rents force plenty of people to flat share well into their twenties and thirties, or southern European and Asian countries where family and economic pressures mean that many live with their parents until they settle down. The down side? If you're a sociable person you might feel lonely. And it will always be your fault if the washing up doesn't get done.

Whether you are messy or clean, living alone isn't everyone's dream. Photo: Shutterstock
5. Sightseeing
So you found your dream apartment but then the person you were renting it from came home from abroad, broke up with their girlfriend, or simply had to move back in because of Swedish laws that limit the length of sublets? If you're new to Sweden, being forced to move home more frequently than in most other countries is at least a good way to explore the city you're living in, so you can pin down the areas you like best.

Which neighbourhood in Malmö would you pick? Photo: TT
6. Maintenance
Sweden may have failed to build enough new homes in recent years, but strict regulations mean that properties of all ages are required to be well maintained. So you shouldn't have to put up with a shower that doesn't work or a kitchen that's falling to pieces. As one French expat puts it: "In Paris, New York or London you usually have one choice: picking either an expensive apartment or a rubbish one. Here in Sweden - especially if you get that elusive first hand contract - you will find a flat that is decorated and maintained to a high standard". 

Landlords are obliged to repair properties in Sweden. Photo: Shutterstock
7. Communal areas
You don't just get a laundry room to share with fellow apartment dwellers. In many housing blocks you'll also find saunas, bookable games rooms, bike storage areas or communal barbecues. It's often said that Swedes enjoy "being alone together" though, so you're more likely to spot your neighbours sitting in silence than exchanging 'in' jokes.

Fancy a sauna with your neighbours? Photo: TT
8. Surrounded by nature
Wherever you end up based and no matter how small your apartment is, you'll never be far from a park, lake or mountain. So if you get cabin fever, pull on a warm jacket and head out for a run, walk or cycle in the great outdoors. It's one of the things Sweden does better than almost anywhere else in the world.

Stockholm has a higher proportion of green space than almost all other European cities. Photo: TT

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