Tag Archives: rent

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.


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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