When having a rental contract and not owning a condominium or a house is what is called a tenancy. When you own a condominium or a house other rules and laws apply, see Condominium.
When you have a second hand rental, meaning that you sublet your rental apartment, the first hand tenant (you) rents out an entire living space (a whole apartment) to a second hand tenant. This means that the second hand tenant has exclusive and independent right to use the space.
What laws apply?
If you rent out your rental apartment Hyreslagen applies for your agreement.
Approval is required
If you want to rent out your apartment, you need to get permission from your landlord. You as the first hand tenant need to apply for permission (in written form) from your landlord.
If the landlord does not grant permission, then you can apply for permission from Hyresnämnden (rental tribunal). In this case you will need to prove that you have compelling reasons as to why you need to rent out second hand (both reasons as to why you need to leave the living space and reasons why you should keep it as a home). Compelling reasons in the eye of the law are, e.g. when you are testing living with your partner, temporary work arrangement or studying in another city. Your landlord does however have the right to deny permission to this if there are compelling reasons to do so. Such an example could be that the second hand tenant is known to disturb his/her surroundings. Permission is usually given up to one year at a time. Put together, the time interval may not be longer than three years. In test-living situations, the permission is never given for longer than one year in total. If you rent out without permission from the primary landlord you can lose your contract, meaning you may lose your apartment. Even allowing someone else to live in the apartment for free or blocking one of the rooms of the apartment, without you yourself living there, can have the same consequences.
According to Swedish law, it is unreasonable for a first-hand contract holder to profit from renting out his/her apartment second-hand. This means that the second-hand tenant should pay the same amount in rent as the first-hand tenant.
For a fully furnished apartment it is possible to add a 10-15 % increase on the monthly rent.
Should the rent exceed these limits it is possible for the second-hand tenant to apply to Hyresnämnden (the rental tribunal) for a judgement. Should Hyresnämnden find the rent too high, the first-hand tenant (you) might be forced to pay back the excess amount payed.
This applies in situations where there is a first-hand tenant. In situations where the person renting out actually owns the home, different rules apply, see Condominium.
If you need help finding out what a reasonable rent amount is in your specific situation you can always contact Hyresgästföreningen (Housing Tenants Association) or a municipal housing company, e.g. Uppsalahem.
Write a contract
It is important that you sign a written contract with your second hand tenant. You can find contract templates at our webpage. Keep in mind that there are legal regulations that over cede contract law in favor of the second-hand tenant.
It is common for landlords to ask for a deposit from the tenant as a safety measure. Normally this deposit is to make sure keys are returned, the state of the apartment and cleaning is done before the tenant moves out. It is important that you clearly state in the contract what the deposit regards so that the tenant knows what he/she has to fulfill in order to get the deposit back. Normally the deposit consists of one or two months’ rent.
Termination and duration of the contract
If you, for example, have decided to rent out for a year then you cannot break this contract ahead of time in case you need to move back home for some reason. However, regardless of the agreed upon time the second-hand tenant can always terminate the contract with three months’ notice. Furthermore, you, as a first-hand tenant, are according to the law, always forced to abide a three month notice when you have a contract without an end date or a contract longer than three months.
We always recommend that the tenant gets his or her own home insurance. If the tenant is an international student, ask him or her to check what his/her insurance from home covers and also what the general insurance from the university covers.
Advice before signing a contract
Check out your second-hand tenant before renting out. It is important that you, before applying for permission to the primary landlord, check out your potential tenant, making sure that he/she is trustworthy and can pay rent. If your tenant misbehaves towards the neighbors then you, the first hand tenant, may lose your apartment. The first hand tenant needs to make sure that the bad behavior stops without delay once informed by the primary landlord. You should not hesitate checking out friends and acquaintances as well. Before choosing a second-hand tenant you should, at least, do the following things:
• Make an appointment with the potential second hand tenant. During this meeting try to get a feel for the person in question, whether or not he/she is a reliable person to rent out to. This is important, since entering a renting agreement can be a lengthy process and the relationship between you and your tenant needs to work.
• Check the second-hand tenant’s credit situation. Check what incomes he/she has.
• Contact the Kronofogdemyndigheten (baillif office) and check if there are any outstanding debts etc. for your potential second-hand tenant. If you are worried that the tenant’s income is too low you can demand that they have a guarantor sign a certificate saying that they will provide your rent if the tenant does not pay.
Your tenant is allowed to put his/her own personal touch to the apartment and can pay for e.g. repainting, new wallpaper.
He/she does not need your permission for this, as long as he/she makes sure that the work is done by professionals. If alterations are not made professionally you can ask your tenant to pay for a renovation.
Your tenant is allowed to put up painting with nails and screws as this is regarded legally as normal wear and tear.
Your tenant is not allowed to change the apartment plan, take away a wall, change or take down permanent fixtures (cupboards or worktops). He/she is also not allowed to put up walls or arches between rooms nor is he/she allowed to install a sauna or a kitchen ventilator.
Sometimes you find clauses in your contract that says that you are not allowed to have pets in your apartment. Despite the clause in the contract you are allowed to have pets as long as you do not live in a building that is specifically designed for people suffering from allergies or anything similar. Having a pet is regarded as normal wear and tear and thus you should allow your tenant to have pets if he/she wishes to. If you are not comfortable with a tenant that wants pets, you should consider a different tenant.
When are you allowed access to your apartment?
You as a landlord don’t have the right to enter your apartment without the approval of your tenant.
There are, however, instances when you have the right to enter the apartment:
• For necessary supervision.
• For emergency repairs, for example of a leaking water pipe.
• For non-emergency repairs. In these cases however you are obligated to contact your tenant in advance.
• For viewing by potential tenants in case the apartment is about to become available. You, however, do not have to be there for this.
• When the tenant is away from the apartment for a longer period of time, it is wise to leave a key with someone who can keep an eye out for the apartment, e.g. you as the landlord. The tenant can however also choose to give the key to someone else.
Write an inventory of furniture and other things you leave behind and make sure to inspect the apartment. Once you have permission to rent out and everything is ready, you should meet with your second hand tenant and go through the apartment, writing an inventory list of everything you are leaving behind and an inspection protocol writing down all damages or deficiencies present in the apartment before your tenant moves in. You should keep one copy and leave one copy to your tenant. A similar procedure should be followed when your tenant is to move out.
For rental periods longer than two years you should include tenure retraction!
A second hand tenant can never establish tenure toward the primary landlord or have the right to take over the first-hand contract. However, the second-hand tenant receives tenure towards the first-hand tenant (you) if the rental period extends for longer than two years.
Never forget that it is you, the first-hand tenant, who is responsible toward the primary landlord when it comes to:
• having permission to rent out
• making sure rent is paid on time
• no disturbances occur during the rental period
• that the apartment is not damaged during the rental period.