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How do I make sure I get my rental deposit back in Sweden?

How do I make sure I get my rental deposit back in Sweden?
There's no need to let unscrupulous landlords get away with wrongly withholding your deposit money. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
Paying a deposit is a normal part of the rental process in Sweden, but getting it back at the end of your tenancy can occasionally prove tricky.

The idea of paying the deposit is that if you as a tenant cause any damage to the property (or its furnishings, if you rent a furnished apartment), the property owner can use the deposit to cover those costs rather than having to chase you for the money.

If you're renting secondhand, in other words from a private individual who owns or rents the apartment themselves, a typical deposit would be equivalent to one to two months of the rental fee itself.

The deposit may be withheld by the landlord if the tenant causes damage to the apartment or furnishings beyond normal wear and tear, or if the tenant fails at their duty of care for the apartment, for example by neglecting to take necessary measures for the property's maintenance. 

And it may be withheld if you as a tenant failed to pay your rent.

RELATED: How do I get money back if I've been paying too much rent in Sweden?

When you sign a rental contract, the deposit amount should be written down.

If possible, it can help to ensure that the contract also states when the deposit will be repaid after the end of the rental period, and to add an appendix of items that were present in the apartment at the time of moving in (if you're renting it furnished) and any flaws such as broken appliances, stains or other problems, preferably with photos. 

As well as ensuring your rental contract has such a clause, it's prudent to keep a record of your deposit payment (so make sure you include a reference that makes it clear what it is) and to take as many photos of the apartment as possible, both directly after moving in and after you clean it before you leave.

At the end of the rental period, your landlord will most likely want to carry out an inspection of the apartment before transferring the deposit to you.

As a tenant, you're generally expected to leave the apartment in the same condition you found it. That means either carrying out a thorough clean, or paying for a professional to do this. If you take the latter option, you should keep receipts in case your landlord disputes the cleanliness of the apartment. 

Even if you didn't have a clause in your contract regarding the deposit, you're still protected by Swedish law.  

That's because law states that it's the responsibility of the landlord to prove that any damage they claim you've caused did actually take place during the rental period.

If your landlord refuses to return the deposit after you move out, you can contact Hyresgästföreningen (The Swedish Union of Tenants) for advice and to start legal proceedings against the landlord.

If they believe you are likely to win the case (for example, if you signed a contract with a clause on the deposit and have proof or payments, but not only) they will often help you. You can also contact Kronofogden to help recover the money.


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