Don't get scammed!
Unfortunately, there are people who try to make quick money of homeless students. During the fall semester, you might come across fake ads in newspapers and on the web. If you advertise that you are looking for accommodation, you risk being contacted by unscrupulous suppliers. These people try to rent out apartments that do not exist or that they themselves do not have access to. But what do you do if you are in desperate need of an apartment and feel a little unsure whether the landlord who has just offered a contract is reputable?
Look at the apartment
This is important in order not to be cheated out of the deposit. If you can't look at the apartment yourself, can you ask a friend or relative to look at it for you? You or your friend will also be able to judge the person showing the apartment.
Trust your gut instinct
Does the person showing you the apartment feel too strange or creepy? Then dare to turn down the apartment. There will be other offers.
Require to get everything in writing
The lease agreement should, of course, always be in writing. For help to get everything as it should be in the contract, you can download templates from our website. You are entitled to receive written invoices and payment receipts even if the landlord is a private person. Always watch out for landlords who refuse!
Contact the municipality, KOMBO or Hyresgästföreningen if you are unsure
Sometimes they have "black lists" of notorious landlords who have received many complaints, or who have even been convicted at the rent tribunal.
If you still hesitate, perform a credit check. You should not sign a contract with a landlord who feels suspicious, has received criticism from former tenants and who has large debts. Just remember that credit check is not secret – anyone subject to a credit check will receive a notification when the credit check is done.
It can be difficult to find the right apartment in the housing jungle, and unfortunately there are some bad guys out there. The ads and offers might look very legitimate, even with pictures from inside the apartment, but do not be fooled! It can be tricky to see through a scam but there are some signs that you can look for.
It's in the deposit, often to be paid before you get to see the apartment, that the advertiser earns their money. If the deposit is high in relation to the rent, be suspicious. The same applies if the advertiser wants you to pay before you can see the apartment. A deal with a deposit is not necessarily a scam, but be sure to check the apartment before you pay!
The recipient of the deposit is not situated in Sweden
For most of the scams we encountered the deposit is to be paid to an account in the UK. The scammer can for example claim that he/she has inherited an apartment in Sweden but lives in UK or that the deposit is to be paid to a parent who lives in the UK.
Deposit or rent to be paid through Western Union or Moneygram transfer
It's very common for scammers to request the deposit or first rent to be paid through Western Union or Moneygram transfer.
The landlord asks you to send a copy of your passport or ID
This does not necessarily mean you're being scammed but think through the situation carefully before you send copies of your identification documents. If it's a fraud, the scammer can then use your name and the copy of your passport/ID when contacting the next victim. At worst, you may also be subject to identity theft.
Screening questions in the ad text
Look at these examples of fake ads. The questions are designed to weed out all the potential customers who might ask uncomfortable questions.
Different ads for different apartments, written by the same person, or by different people with the same contact details
Google the name, email address or phone number in the ad and words like "apartment" or "lägenhet" to see if the person is trying to let out apartments in other cities as well.
The ads might be written in both Swedish and English, but are often directed at an audience that may find it difficult to call their bluff. For example, exchange students with no experience of Swedish rental procedures or young students in cities with severe housing shortage, such as Stockholm and Gothenburg. But Linköping and Norrköping are by no means spared, so be careful.
If you suspect that an offer is a scam, or if you’re unsure if a potential landlord is legitimate, you're always welcome to contact us at KOMBO!
Scams and aliases
Websites and aliases involved in scamming students. Please, do not accept any offers from these websites or aliases. The accommodations they offer do not exist. Click on these links to see examples of scam contracts 1 and 2 and scam conversations.
Julia I Pinto
Thelen Jasmin Maria
Charlotte m. Ehrnborg