Tag Archives: Apartments

Finding an Apartment in Uppsala: For Students and the Public

It’s no shock to anyone familiar with Uppsala that finding a place to live can be a horrific affair. It can be so bad, that at the beginning of the school year, students are sleeping in tents, because there is no housing for them (Read that article here). Or read here about how an American student struggled to find housing for a month.

Feel free to skip to the bottom for various helpful websites that you can start queuing up in! 🙂

Slowly but surely, people land apartments, either with friends or family or through various contracts (some more legal than others). It’s just not uncommon to move two-six times over two years, before landing a first-hand contract.

Terms:

First hand contract–renting an apartment that you can live in for however long you want. It’s considered your apartment, so typically you can decorate it as you see fit or rent it out to others (check with the landlord though on their rules and regulations).

Second hand contract–when you rent from someone with a first-hand contract. Typically people can only do this for a limited time, because of the housing agency/apartment union. The good news is that legally the owner or first-hand renter cannot overcharge you (making a very small profit) because of the agencies/unions. The bad news is that often the owner/renter keeps all of their items in the apartment (this may be a positive if you don’t own furniture).

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Queue–the imaginary line you wait in in order to get an apartment. The person who’swaited the longest gets first dibs on the apartment. As Ricky Bobby says, if you’re not first, you’re last. So don’t count on getting an apartment if you’re not number 1 in line.

Deposits–many places do not require you to pay a deposit. The ones who do typically only charge one months rent as a deposit. I have yet to find a place that charges the first and last months rent plus a deposit.

The quickest (legal) way to get an apartment is to go through Blocket, where you rent out someone else’s apartment or a room in their apartment. These are often short-term contacts, although you may find some longer term apartments. Blocket is a website similar to Ebay or Craigslist where people list items they have for sale, but apartments for rent are also found on this website. For apartments in Uppsala click here.

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Having just moved to Sweden, I had no idea about this housing crisis, nor did I have any idea that I should be waiting in queues (multiple is much better than 1).

See the queue system is designed to promote equality–it’s not who you know or how much money you have, but how long you’ve waited in line. 1 day = 1 point (in most cases).

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However, this fails to take into consideration people who don’t know the system, especially foreigners. And since you may have to wait anywhere from 2 to 5 years to get an apartment through queuing, it’s important to join the queues as far in advance as possible.

Below are several websites that can be helpful when trying to find a place to live in Uppsala:

Studentstaden is a good queue to join if you’re a student (or going to be a student) at Uppsala University.

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You can find an apartment here within weeks or months, but only if you accept living in a dorm-sized apartment and if you’re lucky–aka: lots of housing options and few students applying. Typically the bigger the apartment, the smaller the queue, perhaps because they’re more expensive. However, the competition is stiffer and therefore the people wanting bigger apartments have probably been queuing for a longer period of time (expect to wait 5 years to get a 50+ sq meter apartment). Notice that currently there are over 100 people trying to get any given apartment (and one only gets it!).

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Different companies have different rules–for example, with Studentstaden, you will receive an email to look at the apartment only if you’re ranked 1 through 20. Expect that if you’re number 2, you won’t get the apartment.

Education used to be free in Sweden. Recently they started charging university fees to foreigners studying at here. If you’re a master’s student studying here as an exchange, then the good news is that your thousands of dollars of tuition costs just sprung you to a guaranteed place to live thanks to university housing (and then of course you still have to pay rent somewhere between 2,700 and 4,500 SEK per month–which is fair). Click here for more information.

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Finding Apartments in Uppsala

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.

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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.

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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HSB

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