It is no shock to learn that it’s hard to find apartments in Uppsala, Sweden. In fact, every year some students have to literally sleep in tents when the school year begins because they can’t find a place to stay.
When I moved to Uppsala a year ago, I searched and applied for every apartment I could find on blocket.se.
Blocket is a website that’s similar to Ebay and Craigslist (or Swedish Ebay [Tradera)), in that people list items they want to sell (or in this case rent) and then you contact them to see if you can get it. Since moving to Uppsala I have lived in two apartments: 1) With a guy who owned the apartment, while I rented a room and 2) rented an apartment second hand. Both people told me why they selected me. The first guy stated he picked me because I was American, while the second apartment guy stated he selected me at random. Both advised me that they had over 60 applicants within the first few hours of posting the apartment. And this theme rings true time and again with everyone I’ve talked to about it.
The benefit to Blocket is that you’re renting from individuals and therefore you don’t have to wait in a queue. But Swedes love queues. After all, it’s the most fair–the longer you wait the more likely you are to get the apartment, as they typically go to the person who’s waited in line the longest (unless they don’t want it and then it goes to the next person in line).
Naturally this hurts foreigners since many Swedes know about queuing up and have signed up years before they ever plan to live in a particular city, like Uppsala.
Student apartments, like the ones you can get through Studentstaden take nearly four years of queuing, and by that time you may be finished with your studies. The benefit to living in a student apartment is that they are typically cheaper than other apartments (i.e. 5000-6000kr for a 56 sq meter apartment [one bedroom, one living room]).
AKA–sign up on as many websites as possible and get in as many lines as you can for as long as you can, since most are free and if you ever need a place to stay (in Uppsala), then you’ll have to queue. So start early; start often.
Another student (and employees of the University) website is Uppsala Akademiförvaltning. You have to work or be a student at Uppsala University to get these apartments and you can only select two types of apartments (i.e 2 rooms and 3 rooms, so then you can’t get a one room apartment if that becomes available, for example).
Another place to go as a student is to the Nations. Uppsala is notorious for its Nations. Historically people would come to Uppsala to study from various parts of the country and then they would create social groups from those areas (i.e. Norrlands Nation or Stockholms Nation) so that they could better bond with similar people.
Today though people from one part of the country (i.e. Göteborg/Gothenburg) may join any nation (i.e. Uplands Nation). For example, some people join a nation because it has the best reputation for parties or for bringing in musicians or because it has the most apartments for rent. Currently Norrlands Nation has the reputation for having the most apartments. And you must belong to that nation in order to get their apartments.
But don’t worry, if you belong to one nation but want to move into another nation’s apartment, you can switch which nation you belong to by signing up at that new nation (and paying the membership fee).
Other helpful websites where you don’t have to be a student are:
Rikshem: They have apartments all over Sweden. Some are short and others are long term contracts. They can even give you what seems potentially like a long term contract, because there’s no end date, however they write in the contract that they can kick you out within 30 days (so be cautious of what the contract entitles the company to do [not all contracts are like this])–this can be good though in that it’s easier to get an apartment and it’s a (relatively) short queue for these types of apartment.
Uppsalahem: Here you can apply for apartments in Uppsala. Probably will have to wait 5 or more years in this queue to get an apartment, but if you’re lucky it could be shorter.
Stockholmsbostadskö: This is a relatively good queue, in that people I know have (only) waited in line for two years, and they are nearly always in the top 10 and if lucky, sometimes number 1 in line to get a particular apartment. However, it currently costs 200 kr per year to join this queue (a cheap price to pay to ensure an apartment), but once you find an apartment through them, your points drop to zero (I think) so then you’d start over collecting points.