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Don’t panic! How to find student housing in Sweden

Help, I'm starting university in Sweden but I don't have a place to live! Read these top tips.

Don't panic! How to find student housing in Sweden
Finding student accommodation can be tricky. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Student accommodation can be difficult to find in any country, and in Sweden your options can vary considerably between cities. There are always going to be housing shortages, landlords who want to take advantage of your lack of knowledge of the market, and last minute mess-ups. 

Know your options

Sweden does not tend to offer boarding-school halls of residences with breakfast or dinner included as some other countries do. But there’s a range of options: from renting an en-suite apartment with your own kitchen, to student dorms with a communal kitchen and shower in the hallway.

There are several alternatives available, but some of the most common formal routes include renting via the university’s own housing scheme if they have one, the municipality’s official housing queue (which often has apartments available specifically for students) or, if you’re studying in Lund and Uppsala, via the student nations’ own halls of residence (read more about student unions here).

It is worth contacting your university’s housing office for information on your specific options, but do start looking as soon as you get your acceptance letter, as apartments in some towns are hard to come by.

Don’t rely on university housing

Places in university halls are often limited. Partly because of the increasing number of students, and not enough universities to accommodate everyone. Some municipalities offer a “housing guarantee” for all students, but most don’t have an obligation to provide accommodation.

Even if you’re part of the Erasmus programme or some kind of exchange student, a place to stay isn’t always guaranteed.

Check out The Local’s guide to how to navigate Sweden’s rental market if you want or need to look for an apartment outside the university accommodation system. You can also rent second-hand apartments via housing sites such as Blocket, but it is usually easier if you’re already in Sweden and know the system.

University housing can be difficult to obtain. Photo: Magnus Liam/

What do I do if the semester is about to start and I still can’t find a place to stay?

Have you contacted your university housing office yet? If you are in luck there may be a last-minute opening in one of the university complexes, and even if there isn’t anything available, they can point you to off-campus apartment complexes or housing offices in the area that the university has agreements with or find reliable, giving you the best chance at reasonable rent prices and finding a place that is close to the university.

But if it’s very late in the season, most university housing will be full, so it is best to look into subletting. Some towns or universities have an online notice board where other students can sublet their apartment if they, for example, go on a semester abroad (for example Studentboet in Uppsala).

Subletting, although useful, means you need to check extra carefully that everything is legitimate. Make sure you have approval from the landlord, don’t pay a deposit larger than a month’s rent and make sure you get insurance that covers any damages that may happen while you’re living there. Read more about it here.

Many student dorms come with a communal laundry room. Photo: Magnus Liam Karlsson/

Contact your student union

Your university’s student union is a great resource and they are more than happy to advise incoming students. You can get the inside scoop on where the best off-campus housing is and what to avoid, as well as making new friends. Some student unions have temporary housing programmes to help tide new students over when they’re still looking for housing. 

You can also look into youth hostels in the area. It may not be ideal, but it can be a safe place to stay while you get on your feet, and you may meet other students in a similar situation to you and look for an apartment together.

You could stay temporarily with a fellow student. Photo: Tina Stafren/

Use your friends, colleagues, family and acquaintances to your advantage

This is frustrating advice if you’re a newcomer, but networking is one of your best bets. Know a couple of people already studying in Sweden? Contact them and ask for advice, especially if they’re going to the same university as you. Maybe they know someone who needs a housemate, or are moving out of their apartment and the lease is still up for grabs. Or you could ring up your uncle’s best friend’s cousin’s boss who happens to live in Stockholm and who also happens to be a landlord. 

Connections are particularly helpful in major student towns such as Uppsala and Lund or in big cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg, where the number of students often exceeds the number of rooms offered by universities and are plagued by long waiting lists.

Get by with a little help from your friends. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Lastly, the internet is your ultimate tool

If you don’t have any contacts in Sweden, don’t worry. You can try using online marketplaces such as The Local’s property page.

Thankfully, social media is also useful to find somewhere to live. With Facebook groups such as Rooms/Housing in StockholmUppsala Housing or The Local’s own Living in Sweden group you have somewhere solid to ask questions and survey your options, and talking to people who are, or were, in similar situations can help you better understand the process and the advantages or disadvantages of options.

Article first written by Saina Behnejad in 2016 and updated in 20201.

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MAPS: New tool reveals cheapest places to rent an apartment in Sweden

Rory Crean, a British postdoctoral researcher at Uppsala University, has developed an interactive website to compare rent prices throughout Sweden. The Local got in touch with him to find out how the site can help newcomers navigate the rental market.

Rory Crean next to graph of Swedish rent prices
Rory Crean, originally from the UK, has developed a web application to visualise how rent prices differ across Sweden. Photo: Private

Rory developed the web application using national number-crunching agency Statistics Sweden’s data on rent prices across the country, which stretches back to 2016 and covers almost every region (previously län, now region) and municipality (kommun) in Sweden.

“I mainly wanted to improve my programming skills. It’s best to decide on a topic and learn as you go along – so it made sense to pick something I was interested in,” he told The Local.

The data he used shows the median rent price in the area, divided by the area of the apartment in square metres. He chose to use the median value rather than the mean as skewed data is badly represented by a mean, thus enabling a better comparison.

His graphs are interactive, meaning that users can easily compare how rent prices differ across the country as well as how prices have changed in the past five years by hovering their mouse over different areas.


Sweden’s rental market is notoriously competitive, especially in the big cities, where renters are forced to either wait for years in the public housing queue or pay markedly higher rents for sublets (despite Sweden’s housing laws banning overpriced rentals).

Meanwhile in more rural areas, rents are often much lower and waiting times shorter.

Rory hasn’t had much trouble finding housing himself, despite living in busy university town Uppsala – his decision to develop the tool was built on curiosity. “It wasn’t too bad really – I was just curious to see how they differ and to see if it really is all located in the cities,” he said.

“It was interesting to see how in certain places, median rent has shot up – mainly in Stockholm – in comparison to other parts of Sweden. Eight out of the ten most expensive municipalities were in Stockholm.”

Rather than drawing his own conclusions on the data, he aimed to make the data accessible and enable people to look at it for themselves. His figures also make it possible to easily see which areas of Sweden are generally cheaper to rent in, which could be useful for people planning a move to Sweden and trying to figure out where to live if they want to save money.

Even though renting is more expensive in the big cities, there is still price variation. The application also enables users to see the ten most and least expensive municipalities to rent in – only two of the most expensive municipalities are not located in Stockholm county, these are Lomma in the southern county of Skåne and Uppsala, north of Stockholm.

Vallentuna in Stockholm county is now the most expensive municipality in Sweden to rent in – rent prices there have increased by over 20 percent in the last year – overtaking nearby Täby which was number one last year.

Editor’s note: The maps we had originally embedded in the article have hit their maximum amount of views, so we had to remove them. You can still look at all the maps and charts HERE. Any programmers interested in seeing the underlying code and raw data used to generate the web application can take a look at the GitHub repository here.