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UKRAINE

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

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.

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

sAs 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.

Bostadsrätter

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.

Insurance

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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UKRAINE

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, boosting spirits in the embattled nation fighting off a Russian invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania”, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” implored frontman Oleh Psiuk in English from the stage after their performance was met by a cheering audience.

In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the triumph was met with smiles and visible relief.

“It’s a small ray of happiness. It’s very important now for us,” said Iryna Vorobey, a 35-year-old businesswoman, adding that the support from Europe was “incredible”.

Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum-pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognisable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.

Music conquers Europe

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation in its third month of battling much-larger Russian forces.

Mahmood & BLANCO  performing for Italy at Eurovision 2022

Mahmood & BLANCO perform on behalf of Italy during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.

“This win is so very good for our mood,” Andriy Nemkovych, a 28 year-old project manager, told AFP in Kyiv.

The victory drew praise in unlikely corners, as the deputy chief of the NATO military alliance said it showed just how much public support ex-Soviet Ukraine has in fighting off Moscow.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest,” Mircea Geoana said as he arrived in Berlin for talks that will tackle the alliance’s expansion in the wake of the Kremlin’s war.

“And this is not something I’m making in a light way because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery of” Ukraine, Geoana said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.

And European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”.

‘Ready to fight’
Despite the joyous theatrics that are a hallmark of the song contest, the war in Ukraine hung heavily over the festivities this year.
 
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbour.
 
“Stefania”, written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb
to perform their act.
 
 
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” resonated all the more as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.

Kalush Orchestra received special authorisation from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.

Psiuk said he was not sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.

“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.

Britain’s ‘Space Man’

Ukraine beat a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national healthcare while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.

Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.

After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.

Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.

Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.

Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant
“Sentimentai”.

Other offerings included Greece’s “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord and “Brividi” (Shivers), a duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy had hoped the gay-themed love song would bring it a second consecutive Eurovision win after last year’s “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin.

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