Tenancy law

Under this heading you will hopefully get some useful information that will help you as a tenant to understand your rights when renting.

The Swedish Land Code of 1970 contains statutory rules about real estate. The provisions on tenancy are contained in Chapter 12, often called the Tenancy Act ("hyreslagen"). Some believe that Sweden has got the world's fiercest pro-tenant laws!

If you have any further questions you are welcome to contact us at KOMBO.

 

Swedish tenancy rights - a brief overview

The information below is good to know before renting an apartment or other accommodation. Additional information is available on the following pages. For tenancy law on specific answers please use our Swedish Tenancy Law summary which covers moving out, rent, subletting, disruptive neighbours, rights to repairs, demolition and excessive renovations and inspections.

  • If nothing is agreed between you and the landlord, the provisions stated in the Swedish Tenancy Act ("hyreslagen") will apply.
  • Check the type of accommodation: is it a rented room in a house or a private apartment? Different types of accommodation have different rules. 
  • Some rules prevail regardless of what is stated in a tenancy agreement, as they are meant to protect the tenant. One example is that a tenant may always terminate a contract with three month’s notice, even when the contract states certain amount of time. Another example is that you are entitled to demand repayment of an unreasonably high rent that you have paid, even if the unfair sum was agreed upon between you and the landlord. 
  • In Sweden, a tenant has a right to “fully serviceable” accommodation. This includes heating, hot and cold water, toilet, a shower or a bath tub, electricity, a stove, a refrigerator and access to a washing machine. 
  • If you rent an accommodation from someone who is already a tenant, the agreement is called a sublet or second-hand lease. As the subtenant, you have no rights or liabilities under the original lease as there is no contract between the subtenant and the primary landlord. The agreement is between you and the person who rents the apartment to you. 
  • A verbal tenancy agreement is still legal, but you should always demand a written contract. You're legally entitled to a written contract if you're renting an accommodation. The contract does not have to be witnessed.
  • Read the contract carefully, because the act of signing means that you understand it and accept the terms. Check what your obligations are, what is included in the rent and what happens if you want to leave.
  • Private rented housing is usually furnished. In that case, try to get your landlord to sign an inventory list that describes which items included, in order to avoid disagreements at a later date. Check every item included as soon as you move in.
  • When renting, the landlord cannot turn up uninvited and let themselves in. Reasonable notice is required. However, the landlord is entitled to have a key to your apartment.
  • The landlord cannot shut down services such as water or electricity, without a good reason, such as necessary repairs.
  • You have the right to invite friends to visit you, but you must take responsibility for their actions. (However, if you rent a room in a private home, you might not be allowed to invite friends).
  • You don't have the right to sublet your apartment without the landlord's permission.
  • Many private landlords will want you to pay a month's rent in advance when you sign tenancy contract. This is normal, as you usually pay the rent one month in advance in Sweden.
  • You have the right to demand that the indoor temperature is maintained at a comfortable level. The minimum temperature should be at least 18°C in the room and 16°C on the floor. The maximum heat should be 24°C indoors. In really cold winters, you have to accept lower temperatures temporarily. During the summer, for example during a heat wave, you will have to accept that it might temporarily become warmer indoors.
  • If you are too cold or too hot, you should contact your landlord. If you live in a tenant-owner’s association, you should first contact the board of the association. If there is no improvement, you can contact your municipality.

What should a tenancy agreement normally contain?

  • The purposes for which you may use the accommodation.

  • Information about the rent: how much rent you need to pay, when you should pay it and how.

  • What is included in the rent; water, electricity etc.

  • The length of the tenancy: when does it start and end? Is it indefinite?

  • How much notice you are required to give if you choose to leave.

  • Do you have the right to change anything in the room, for example wallpaper?

  • Any special requirements in taking care of the accommodation (is smoking allowed?).

  • Both your name and your landlord's name, address and contact details.

  • Signature and date must be included.

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