What’s new in Sweden? Here are five important events in October

What's new in Sweden? Here are five important events in October
Moving into a new apartment this month? Make sure you know the rules. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
From Brexit to new housing laws: here are some of the changes and news stories happening in Sweden in October.

This article is available to Members of The Local. Read more Membership Exclusives here.

Sweden is cracking down on dishonest landlords 

The laws for hyresrätter (rented accommodation) are changing, making it more difficult for landlords to charge too high a rent to second-hand tenants. In principle this means second-hand tenants should pay the same rent as first-hand tenants, with extra charges only for furniture, equipment and other items the tenant has access to. Previously, landlords who overcharged tenants could be forced to repay, but now the stakes have been raised as those who fall foul of the law could actually lose the apartment altogether.

The new regulations also make it a crime not only to sell but also to buy a first-hand rental contract on the black market. People found guilty of these offences face losing the rental contract immediately, and the typical punishment will be fines or a jail sentence of up to two years, although this could be increased to four years in very serious cases. The law changes will come into force on October 1st.

The Local wrote more about the new rules earlier this year in this article for Members.

The law changes only apply to hyresrätter, not bostadsrätter. Photo: Yvonne Åsell/SvD/TT

Brexit is (probably, maybe) here

We could not write this article without mentioning the B-word. At the time of writing, Britain is set to leave the EU on October 31st and what shape and form the divorce will take remains unclear. The Benn Act forces the British government to seek an extension if the alternative is to crash out of the EU without a deal, but such an extension would still have to be approved by the EU and leaves no guarantee against a hard Brexit.

Sweden has said that British nationals will be able to continue to live and work in Sweden for at least a year after Brexit, but it is still unknown what happens after that. In general, unless the Swedish government says otherwise, Brits without Swedish citizenship will have to obtain a third-country national work or residence permit.

But even if you are not British, Brexit is likely to have some manner of impact on your life, so it is worth paying attention. This could be a direct impact, for example, if you work for a company that trades with the United Kingdom, or an indirect impact from the financial measures Sweden takes to protect itself against Brexit shockwaves.

Here are all The Local's articles about Brexit, as well as a no-deal checklist for Brits in Sweden.

A 'Brexit Now' banner tied to railings outside the UK parliament. Photo: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Telecom services will be forced to retain data

From October 1st, Swedish telecommunications and internet operators will again be obligated to store data needed for government agencies' work on crime prevention. They should be able to answer questions about who communicated with whom, when, where and how – and store the data for two months.

It used to be possible to do this for up to six months according to Swedish legislation, but the requirement was scrapped in 2016 when the European Court of Justice tore up the law after telecom giant Tele2 refused to comply with the rules. The revised law aims to bring Swedish legislation in line with EU data laws.

However, several internet providers have threatened to appeal any request by Swedish authorities to hand out information about their customers, which means we may not have seen the end of this.

The new law is meant to help authorities fight crime, but it has also received criticism. Photo: Naina Helén Jåma/TT

Verdict due in high-profile police shooting trial

The verdict in the case of the fatal shooting of severely disabled man Eric Torell, 20, is due on October 3rd. Torell was shot dead in the morning of August 2nd by police officers responding to a call about an armed man they believed could be linked to a previous incident in the area. He was carrying a plastic toy gun, but had Down Syndrome and autism, and according to his parents had the same mental level as a three-year-old.

One of the officers who hit Torell in the back is accused of breaching official duty, and the other, who wounded him fatally, is accused of involuntary manslaughter. The court's decision will come down to whether or not it agrees the officers could have been considered to reasonably believe they were acting in self-defence. The police task force leader, who was not directly involved in the shooting, is also charged with breach of duty.

A court sketch of the trial. Photo: Ingela Landström/TT

Turn your clocks back for winter time

Sweden will turn back clocks at 3am on October 27th, but it could be one of the last times this happens.

The European Parliament earlier this year voted to end the traditional changing of the clocks in spring and autumn from 2021, as The Local reported at the time. However, it is up to the European Council, made up of the leaders of member states, to have the final say and it has not yet made a decision. The Swedish government has said it is not against ending the practice if there is broad support in the country or parliament.

In a Europe-wide survey last year some 80 percent of Europeans voted in favour of stopping the clock changes, with most people appearing to prefer to stay on summer time rather than winter time. A separate survey in Sweden suggested that two thirds of Swedes would be up for ditching the seasonal time changes. 

You will gain one hour on October 27th. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix/TT

Member comments

  1. @antontree: Yes, there are so many different requirements and situations it is hard to make sense of it all, so that’s a good idea! Thanks!

  2. On the fate of British nationals post-hard Brexit (if it is) those who have been here some time and are married to a Swede should not have an issue. Maybe a short article clarifying the requirements for Brits in different situations would be helpful.

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