The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
  Reply to this topic

Think before buying a Swedish leasehold

Or the complete trampling over of the individual

post 26.Sep.2013, 12:56 PM
Post #1

I always believed that, at least in Sweden, laws were fair and abuse of power was not allowed. So complete surprise for me and my wife, owning a leasehold (bostadsrätt i HSB) in the south of Stockholm, when the following chain of events occurred (and is still occurring) The board (styrelsen) decides to renew coldwater-, warmwater- and drain-pipes (no problem, they legally have to do this). It is a big undertaking, there are 400 appartments in total. The board decides to use the opportunity to completely renovate all bathrooms (2 per appartment). And also to renew all the electricity-cables in all appartments. The whole package is presented to the leaseholders as one deal, take it or leave it. Apparently, legally, this is perfectly OK. The package is approved (the pipes are 60 years old and leaks already happened). This is positively the most expensive solution to the tune of 145mSKK. The not-for-profit company that owns the freehold (bostadsrättsföreningen) turned from a healthy surplus (when we bought the lease-hold) to a minus of 90mSKK in a couple of years. Apparenly, this is perfectly OK, a loan from the bank has been secured. Thus the leasehold-payments will be chock-increased to be the most expensive in the area. Apparently this is perfectly legal. Although there are two bathrooms, all water and drainage will be cut off under six weeks in the middle of winter. Apparently there is no redress for this in the courts. If you want an evacuation-appartment for the duration of the works, you have to have children or present a doctor's note stating why you cannot go to an outside loo or shower 500m away in the middle of winter. Apparently, you will simply have to find yourself in these circumstances. If you decide to move to somewhere else for the duration of the works, neither the freeholder nor the renovation-companies nor my insurance company can be held responsible for burglaries or damages. Oh, and by the way, you are responsible for moving all furniture out of the way for the builders. Sweden as a democratic society? Sweden respecting individual rights? Sweden respecting usufruct? If somebody out there knows of a fighting lawyer in the Stockholmarea, please let me know. Apart from that, leaving this complacent, xenophobic society cannot happen soon enough
Go to the top of the page
post 26.Sep.2013, 01:22 PM
Post #2
Joined: 2.Nov.2008

The board decides to use the opportunity to completely renovate all bathrooms (2 per appartment).

What do you mean by "completely renovate" ? I thought that a bathroom was primarily the responsibility of the leaseholder rather than the association.

If the members don't like the way that the board is doing it, you can always call a meeting.
Go to the top of the page
post 26.Sep.2013, 01:23 PM
Post #3
Joined: 23.Dec.2009

You are a member of the BRF and these proposals have been voted through by the members. If the BRF were to pay for relocation then they would have to charge the members to recoup this so you would pay for it in the end anyway. Your building needs repairs and the members have agreed to this, who would you expect to cover this bill if not the members themselves?
Go to the top of the page
post 26.Sep.2013, 01:34 PM
Post #4
Joined: 23.Jul.2008

Very curious how this was a complete surprise to you. Was there no meeting concerning this ? If it was a take it or leave it deal, how was the option to leave it presented ? Were you being completely passive as a BRF member until the implications dawned on you ? Some enlightenment please.

ps Can see why it was cheap to start with with the need for extensive repairs looming.
Go to the top of the page
post 26.Sep.2013, 01:48 PM
Post #5
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 1.Sep.2013

And the biggest danger of all with BRFs is when you have a bunch oif idiots on the board that have little economic skills, get blinded by large numbers and have no clue how to run a business. Everything is there crystal clear in the rules and regulations covering BRFs in Sweden, it isn't uncommon that when they are badly managed they run out of funds and have to ask their members to inject yet more capital. You must always check it's historic annual reports/finances and the future plans before joining/buying.

An investment like that in the BRF would have gone to the AGM and/or special member vote, it will have been included in the maintenance plan and financial plan etc. If none of that was done, then maybe they have done something naughty. The fact that it was a as you describe a take it or leave it deal, someone must have had chance to say leave-it.
The price-tage implies that it is a large BRF, otherwise someone is having gold-fittings installed as standard biggrin.gif

You probably didnt even read about the complete inconvenience that will take place as they do the work!, last stämbyte I went through the company doing it said we could stay in the buildings, but that proved absolutely impossible. After that I said next place must have already had that done!
Go to the top of the page
post 26.Sep.2013, 04:11 PM
Post #6
Joined: 10.Jul.2005

First, don't call a bostadsrätt a leasehold. They are co-ops and should be named as such.

You clearly didn't do your homework by not finding out whether major renovations were planned before buying.

If you aren't prepared for collective (i.e., democratic!) decision making, you shouldn't buy a bostadsrätt. It's that simple.

With your own house, you can renovate or not renovate at your leisure.
Go to the top of the page
post 26.Sep.2013, 05:54 PM
Post #7
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 30.Nov.2005

welcome to Sweden - suck it up
Go to the top of the page
post 26.Sep.2013, 06:19 PM
Post #8
Joined: 23.Dec.2011

"Är stammarna bytta?" ("Has all the pipes been changed?") is usually the first thing a Swede planning to buy a bostadsrätt in a older building asks the real estate agent. Dont buy a bostadsrätt with unchanged pipes if you dont want them to change the pipes, and fix the bathrooms while you have to go to the bathroom somewhere else, buy one where it´s already been done, even if it will be a little more expensive. Some people are naive and goes "This place is cheaper, and the rent is lower, let´s take this one" but most people have heard from a friend what a nightmare a "stambyte" (pipe change) can be, so most people will think twice before buying an apartment where it hasnt been done yet.Sometimes it can become really expensive in the long run to go for the cheaper apartment with the unchanged pipes.
I think it´s very important to ask what renovations has been done and which is planned to be done in the years to come, so this things dont come as a surprise.

If the board suggest something in a take it-or-leave-it-deal, a member can put another suggestion forward and the all members can choose which one they prefer, the boards suggestion or the members suggestion.
Go to the top of the page
post 26.Sep.2013, 07:23 PM
Post #9
Joined: 12.Aug.2008

Yes, you should "think" as apparently you need to realise that you do not "own" the flat. You own the right to occupy the space between the walls, which are owned by the housing association. So what do you expect to achieve with a lawyer? So they renovate everyone elses pipes but yours? Are you stupid or something?
Go to the top of the page
Bender B Rodriquez
post 26.Sep.2013, 08:20 PM
Post #10
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

Unlike the plumbing, to renovate the bathrooms is not considered maintenance work. If one member opposes such a renovation then the board needs to call for a vote, and two thirds of the votes are needed for the proposition to pass. Also, the decision needs to be approved by Hyresnämnden (official judicial authority).
Go to the top of the page

Reply to this topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members: