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HOUSING

These are Sweden’s most expensive rental apartments

Where is the most expensive rental apartment in Sweden? Perhaps surprisingly, it's not in Stockholm. Here's a look at the ten most expensive rentals from 2019.

These are Sweden's most expensive rental apartments
Gothenburg is home to the most expensive rental apartments in Sweden, according to data from 2019. Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/Imagebank.sweden.se

The most expensive home rented out in Sweden in 2019, at 32,160 kronor ($3,325) per month, was a seven-room apartment in central Gothenburg, according to property magazine Hem&Hyra, run by the tenant owners' union Hyresgästföreningen. 

The newly renovated apartment at Kungsportsavenyen 37 was almost 6,000 kronor more expensive than the second rental on the list, which is located in the same building. The building was built in 1897 and is situated along Gothenburg's iconic boulevard, often simply called Avenyn (The Avenue). 

The top ten priciest rentals, according to Hem&Hyra's analysis of 2019 data from housing associations and municipal companies in Sweden's five largest municipalities, were found in the most affluent areas of Sweden's three major cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.

But there were also very expensive apartments on the rental market elsewhere.

Last year a five-room apartment in central Uppsala went on the market for 19,817 kronor a month. In Linköping another apartment brought in close to 19,000 kronor each month. 

Top 10 most expensive rental apartments in Sweden

  1. Kungsportsavenyen 37, Gothenburg. 7 room. Rent: 32,160 kronor
  2. Kungsportsavenyen 37, Gothenburg. 5 room. Rent: 26,783 kronor
  3. Vasagatan, Gothenburg. 6 room. Rent: 25,773 kronor
  4. Marietorps allé 3A, Malmö. 7 room. Rent: 25,759 kronor
  5. Husarviksgatan 18, Stockholm. 6 room. Rent: 25,549 kronor
  6. St Paulsgatan 10, Stockholm. 7 room. Rent: 25,059 kronor
  7. Götabergsgatan, Gothenburg. 6 room. Rent: 25,000 kronor
  8. Köpenhamnsvägen 95, Malmö. 6 room. Rent: 23,426 kronor
  9. Valhallavägen 96, Stockholm. 7 room. Rent: 22,645 kronor
  10. Köpenhamnsvägen 93A, Malmö. 5 room. Rent: 22,635 kronor

Source: Hem&Hyra Data: Statistics from the five largest municipalities in Sweden. Not all private landlords are connected which means that more expensive rental apartments may have been mediated outside of the list.

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How much is 'normal'?

In 2019 the average monthly rent in Sweden for a three-room apartment was 7,147 kronor ($739), according to Statistics Sweden.

But there are large variations depending on where you live.

In a municipality with fewer than 75,000 inhabitants, a family pays on average 1,600 kronor less for a three-room apartment than a household in Stockholm does.

And these statistics only take into account so called 'first-hand' contracts, which are subject to rent controls. These contracts in Sweden are in most cases given on a first-come, first-serve basis which means that you join a queue and are given priority based on your position in that queue.

In larger cities it's often impossible to find a first-hand contract without having first spent years, or even a decade or more, in the queue. In larger cities it can take many years in this queue to be eligible for a first-hand contract, so sub-letting or 'second-hand renting' is common. 

Renting in Sweden

Recent figures show a slow increase in available housing, but the shortage is still felt nationwide, and is especially problematic in the larger cities. The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket) reports that 240 of Sweden's 290 municipalities has a housing shortage.

Municipal or state-regulated rental companies must abide by restrictions on how much they can charge in rent, based on aspects such as the number of rooms, quality of the apartment, location and proximity to services among others.

The Swedish Tenants Association negotiates rent for tenants who want collective bargaining, and in practice they negotiate levels of rent for 90 percent of Swedish rental apartments, which equates to over three million tenants.

A stated goal in their negotiations is that “rent should not exceed 25 percent of an average salary after taxes”. Based on the 2018 average salary of 34,600 kronor before tax each month, that would equate to a monthly rent of roughly 6690 kronor per person. 

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PROPERTY

Nudity to BBQs: What you can (and can’t) do on your balcony in Sweden

What better way to enjoy summer in your apartment than by making full use of your balcony? The Local spoke to Henric Gartz, a lawyer who specialises on issues related to housing, to find out how to stay on the right side of the law.

Nudity to BBQs: What you can (and can't) do on your balcony in Sweden

“You should look at your rental contract to see if there are any special rules in regards to what you can and cannot do on a balcony”, Henric Gartz, lawyer at Fastighetsjuristerna Göteborg, a legal firm specialising in housing issues, told The Local.

“If nothing is specified, then you should follow the general rules and be considerate towards your neighbours.”

The three common issues that arise during the summer when Swedes take to their balconies are grilling, smoking and nudity, he said.

Barbecues

The summer season is perfect for grilling, and although many residential areas in Sweden have communal grills in the garden, this is not always the case. Even if they do, some people prefer grilling on their balcony to be closer to the kitchen.

“If you grill, it will smell of meat, fish or vegetables and it could smell bad for a neighbour”, said Gartz. 

Electric grills are often more suitable for balconies. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

It’s also important to check with your housing association or your landlord to make sure they allow grilling on the balcony before you get started.

“A housing association has a lot of freedom to choose whether barbecues are allowed or not,” Maria Mati, property lawyer at HSB, Sweden’s largest cooperative housing association, wrote on their website.

“Therefore, you need to check to find out what applies in your association. But even if it’s allowed, you need to make sure that you grill in a fire-safe way.”

“And respect your neighbours,” she added.

Smoking

So, is it legal to smoke a cigarette outside on your balcony?

“You are allowed to smoke on your balcony,” Gartz said, “But if neighbours don’t like the smell of cigarette or cigar smoke, then be considerate.”

According to HSB, there’s no general ban on smoking in apartment blocks, and a housing foundation can’t ban you from smoking on your balcony or outside space.

“But you should also make sure you show consideration here,” Mati said, warning that you could end up on the wrong side of the law.

“The Residential Tenancies Act’s rules on disturbances in the property, or the Environmental Code’s rules on nuisance could be used in cases involving tobacco smoke,” she said.

“However, in one case, the district court in Falun decided that smoking on a balcony was permitted to a reasonable extent, even if irritated the neighbours,” she said.

Again, it all boils down to showing consideration for your neighbours.

“Maybe if you see that they are drinking coffee and you know smoke annoys them, wait until they finish before smoking”, Gartz said.

Just because your balcony is small doesn’t mean you can’t try your hand at growing your own vegetables. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Can I have plants on my balcony?

Flower boxes are a great way to liven up a balcony or even try your hand at growing vegetables during the summer months – just make sure they’re hanging on the inside of your balcony so they can’t fall down and injure someone, and try to avoid water and soil raining down on your neighbours below when you water your plants.

Is it legal to sunbathe naked on my balcony?

It depends how you do it.

Stripping off on your balcony isn’t necessarily forbidden. However, you do need to consider whether the neighbours might see more than they want to while you’re catching some rays. 

As is generally the case with rules for what you can and can’t do on your balcony, the law says that you’re more than entitled to take off your clothes in your own private space – but this shouldn’t impact your neighbours. 

To get around this, you may want to put up a screen between you and your neighbour’s balcony (you may have to ask permission from your housing foundation if this involves drilling any holes in the wall), or even go full Adam and Eve with a strategically placed plant or two.

Another option is position your parasol so it blocks your neighbour’s view – just watch out for any gusts of wind that may strike at an inopportune moment.

If, however, people see you from the street this could be more problematic, and in some cases end up in court depending on the gravity.

Similarly, you can’t have sex on your balcony where others could see or hear you – this could lead to a police report for förargelseväckande beteende (disorderly conduct).

In a nutshell:

Apartment living is often about compromise, and this also applies to what you do on your balcony. Speak to your neighbours and make sure they’re not irritated by your behaviour – similarly, let them know if something they’re doing is irritating you and see if you can figure out a solution which works for everyone.

“It is important to respect each other and talk about issues, if you live close to other people”, Gartz said.

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