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CRIME

Sweden’s first case against an overpriced rental goes to court – two years after law change

For the first time, a Swedish landlord has been prosecuted for overcharging their tenant and subletting their apartment without permission from their own landlord.

Sweden's first case against an overpriced rental goes to court – two years after law change
The tenant was charged around 3,000 kronor more each month than the price allowed by law. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden tightened its rules on subletting in October 2019, introducing a maximum two-year jail sentence for people found guilty of overcharging their tenants.

The landlord who is first to be prosecuted under the new laws is a man in his 40s, according to Hem & Hyra which was first to report on the case.

He was paying 6,527 kronor in monthly rent for the apartment in Hässelby, northern Stockholm, and the law states that a secondhand tenant or subletter should only be charged around 10-15 percent more than this (to cover bills and furniture). Instead, he allegedly charged at least two tenants 10,500 kronor.

The rules for people who own their apartment and sublet it are slightly different, since the base amount can be calculated based on what it would cost to get a new mortgage on the apartment, which means that subletting from someone who owns their apartment is often more expensive than subletting from someone who rents.

The case in Hässelby came to light after neighbours informed the property owner last winter that there were a lot of non-residents coming to and from the apartment. 

Then, the company that owns the apartment asked one neighbour to keep a log of who was living in the apartment and when moving companies were seen, which they then provided to police. Additional evidence included the advert for the sublet on classifieds site Blocket as well as text messages between the subletter and his tenants. The man denied the allegations when questioned by police.

As well as overcharging for the monthly rent, the charges allege that the landlord had not requested permission to sublet from the housing company, which is compulsory in Sweden. Secondhand tenants should always ask to see proof of this permission being granted, as well as a breakdown of the costs, to guard against illegal sublets.

The punishment for illegal sublets can include fines or even a jail sentence for the landlord, of up to two years.

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ALMEDALEN 2022

Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden. 

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