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International students struggle to find housing at Swedish university

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International students struggle to find housing at Swedish university
Lund University. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT
11:11 CEST+02:00
International students have been struggling to get accommodation through Sweden's Lund University this year after almost 500 homes normally set aside for them were lost.

Some students said they have resorted to living in a van or considered changing university due to being unable to find housing, according to Sveriges Radio, who first reported the story.

"At the end of May we contacted the group we judged would have a very hard time or no chance at all of getting housing, and made it clear that they would need to look for housing elsewhere. Only students who are subject to a housing guarantee are promised housing. No one else is promised housing in any way," Lund University’s head of housing Nikolas Pieta Theofanous told The Local.

The loss of 480 student homes was caused by the end of an agreement between the university and student housing company AF Bostäder.

"We knew for a year that the agreement would no longer be valid. That has been very clearly communicated to all relevant parties at Lund University. We have also emphasized during the application stage that this year's application is tougher than in previous years because we have a smaller housing stock," he continued.

The University normally aims to keep 1,500 homes aside for foreign students, but has not managed to this year. It has instead tried to help students find housing through alternative sources, Theofanous explained:

"We have strengthened our organization in order to answer questions and provide guidance on how to find other housing during the end of the spring and the entire summer."

READ ALSO: Our guide to the different ways of finding student housing in Sweden

IN-DEPTH: The story of Sweden’s housing crisis

According to the Swedish National Union of Students' yearly housing report, 13 Swedish cities are currently in a "red zone" where new students cannot be guaranteed housing during their first six months of term. In 11 cities it can take less than six months but some of the housing is too expensive or has other shortcomings, while in nine cities students are guaranteed secure housing within a month.

Lund is one of the student cities marked as red, and it is becoming more common for international students to opt against taking up an offer of studying there due to problems finding housing, the report notes.

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