What to keep in mind when renting out property to refugees in Sweden

TT/The Local
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What to keep in mind when renting out property to refugees in Sweden
File photo of an apartment building in Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Many Swedish residents are interested in opening their homes to Ukrainians fleeing war. But there are some important rules to make sure you follow if you're planning on doing so.


As a rule, housing a refugee in your home for a short amount of time is not an issue, as long as you have a suitable property, according to Fredrik Aldmo, a lawyer at Familjens Jurist.

"Think about the fact that it needs to be good for the person who will be moving in with you, so the property is suitable for them to live in," Aldmo told TT newswire. "If you live in a four-room apartment then, of course, you can house a family, but if you don't have a lot of space then maybe you should think about whether it's really a good idea," he said.

Rental properties

On a purely legal level, everyone has the right to let someone live in their home without asking for permission, whether you rent the property or own it. This is also the case if you live in a bostadsrätt, an apartment or house where you legally own the right to live in the property, rather than the property itself. 

At the same time, it's important to understand that you, as the owner or first-hand tenant, are always legally responsible for any damage or other issues that arise in the property.


Additionally, you can't rent out a rental property second-hand without the landlord's permission. If you don't continue to live in the apartment yourself, then it counts as a second-hand rental, and you need permission from the landlord -- whether you charge rent for the property or not. 

"Even if I were to rent out my apartment to a family without charging anything, my landlord might have their own views on that. In that situation, it's really important that you have written permission where it states that the family will be renting," Aldmo said.

If you're planning on renting out your rental property second-hand for a longer period, consider negotiating to remove besittningsskydd from your tenants' contract. This is a form of legal protection which automatically becomes valid after two years, giving renters the right to remain living in the property even if the landlord asks them to move out.

Once besittningsskydd is activated, tenants can only be forced to move out for a small number of special reasons, such as if they don't pay rent on time, cause damage or problems with neighbours, or if the property needs to be renovated or demolished.



For bostadsrätter you will need permission from the housing association if you wish to rent out your property second-hand, whether you plan on charging the tenant or not. However, if people will be moving in to live in your property with you, you do not need permission.

"The problem there is that, according to the law on bostadsrätter, you can't move someone into your apartment if it might have a noticeable effect on the housing association or on residents, which could be the case if there are a lot of people in the apartment or a lot of activity in the stairwells," Aldmo said.

Aldmo's advice is to always contact your landlord or housing association first, and also to draw up a rental contract with details on how long the person should live there, how much the rent will be per month, and what will be included.

It is also illegal to charge a higher rent for second-hand rentals than what you already pay, plus an additional fee for furniture which cannot be greater than 15 percent of the rental cost, as well as other real additional costs (for example, internet and energy costs).

If you rent out a room, the rent must be proportional to the rent you pay for the apartment as a whole. Otherwise, you could lose your right to stay in the apartment and be forced to move out.

Bostadrätt owners and property owners risk being liable to repay fees if the rent they charge is considered to be unreasonably high. If you are a property owner, you should also make sure there are not too many people in the property, both from a fire safety standpoint and to make sure there isn't too much noise.



You should also take a look at your home insurance, and see whether new people moving into the property or second-hand tenants will affect your premium.

The Migration Agency does not offer private homes to refugees looking for housing, and does not give any form of economic benefit to those who house refugees.

There are also special rules for children under 18 who arrive in Sweden without a parent or guardian, people wishing to help children must contact the social services in their municipality, as they are responsible for support, housing and schooling.

The Swedish Red Cross recommends that those wishing to help do so via an organisation, so there is support and sufficient checks on both the refugee and the person offering their home. Those who choose to house refugees in their own homes should think carefully about how the agreement will work in practice, the Red Cross says.


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