Tips for lodgers
If you are looking to rent a room from a private landlord or are already living as a lodger, there are some things you need to consider since it differs a bit from living in your own apartment or in a corridor. Most importantly, as a lodger you are living in someone else’s home and therefore respect is of outmost importance. Your landlord, off course, has to show you respect as well yet you do need to heed any conditions set out. If there is no such rules you should ask for a few to be made. This is to lessen the risk of conflicts or misunderstandings later on. You can off course ask to negotiate already existing rules also. It is important however to remember that after you have signed a contract (with rules included) you do not have the right to have them changed if the landlord does not want to make any changes. The same goes for the landlord, he or she cannot make changes in the contract without your consent.
Any rules set out should be available in writing. While an oral agreement is just as binding as a written one they are notoriously hard to prove should a conflict occur.
Here are some things that should be considered:
Cleaning - What are the expectations regarding cleaning, both of your own room as well as common areas? If the kitchen, bathroom and living room is shared(which in most cases they are) then it is reasonable that you are expected to help out with the cleaning as well as pick up after yourself. The work load should be equal. If the landlord is messy then he or she cannot expect you to be meticulously clean and tidy. Make a plan describing how you solve the cleaning, for example that you vacuum and mop the floors one week and the landlord the next.
Taking out the trash - Just like a house won't clean itself (unfortunately!), garbage won't take itself out. So, set an agreement on how often trash should be taken out, who does it and how recycling is handled. Like cleaning, having the responsibility for it every other week could be a good plan.
Time for cooking and showering - Some landlords might wish to shower and cook at certain times of the day, especially if you share one bathroom and/or the kitchen is small and cramped. If this is tha case, come to an agreement on how you solve this to avoid stressful mornings.
Space in fridge and cupboards and use of equipment - You will likely be sharing the kitchen with your landlord so you will need to know how mush space in the fridge, cupboards etc will be available for your own use. Most landlords include equipment in the rent but to be sure, ask whether you can use the landlords pots, pans, crockery and cutlery or if you will need to bring your own.
Guests - Some landlords do not allow any guests while others have no problem with you inviting half of your class now and then, so ask your landlord what his or her stand is. If you can invite people it should be specified how many can come as well as if overnight stays are ok or not.
Smoking - Many landlords only rent out to non-smokers. If you do smoke it might be worth a shot to ask whether the landlord can accept you only smoking outside If not ok you will simply have to keep looking since there isn't much room for negotiating. If you are willing to switch to chewing gum or plasters there should be no problem however.
Home insurance - It is recommended that lodgers get their own home insurance. As a lodging room counts as its own apartment it is seldom included in the landlords own homeinsurance. Ask whether the landlord requires you to have insurance. Remember that even if you are not required to get one it is a security for you to have one in case something would happen with the room during your stay. You can find good, cheap insurance at Länsförsäkringar.
Furniture inventory - If furniture is included in the rent an inventory should be kept, containing both which furniture as well as what shape they are in (photos are always good!). This way you are protected against false accusations of destroyed or abnormaly worn furniture and the landlord is protected against having anything ruined without being able to claim compensation.
Other general tips/good to know
Click with your landlord - You don't have to become best friends with your landlord off course. Some landlords prefers to keep your relationship neutral with little social interaction and some might want it to be more friendly and social. Either way, it does not hurt to have at least a little bit of chemistry between the two of you. You will, after all, live together and the experience might get very stiff and uncomfortable if there is none even if you are both respectful towards each other.
Address - Many people believe that as a lodger you should have mail sent to you as "care of [landlord]". This however is not the case. "Care of" means that the landlord is responsible for your mail which off course is not the case. You simply set out your name on the door so that you can have mail delivered and the address is written as normal.
Move-out cleaning - When you move out you will need to clean out your room the same way you would clean an apartment. If you have your own bathroom it should be cleaned as well, including the drain. Unless the landlord specifically states that you don't have to, move-out cleaning is to be done.