When the accommodation, normally an apartment, has a rental contract and is not owned by anyone, e.g. a condominium or a house, we call it a tenancy. When the accommodation is owned, e.g. a condominium or a house, other rules and laws apply, see Condominium.
When you sublet second hand, meaning that you sublet a rental apartment, the first-hand tenant (your landlord) rents out an entire living space (a whole apartment) to a second-hand tenant (you). This means that you as the second-hand tenant have exclusive and independent right to use the space.
A second-hand contract is also a contract between two parts; however a second-hand contract is implicitly dependent on the existence of a first-hand contract.
The main definition of second-hand housing is when a person rents out his/her apartment to another person. Thus is created a binding contract (with or without an actual physical contract – oral contracts are binding according to Swedish contract law) between these people and thereafter the so called Hyreslagen (renting law) applies. Make sure that your landlord actually owns/has the first-hand contract to the apartment.
What laws apply?
If you rent an apartment for which your landlord has a rental contract, Hyreslagen applies for your agreement. This Swedish law protects the weaker part in a contract (in this case the tenant is regarded to be the weaker part) thus the laws are designed to protect the tenant.
Approval is required
For second-hand rental the first-hand tenant (i.e. your landlord) has to apply for permission to sublet the apartment – this can be denied by the landlord if you as a second-hand tenant are known to be a very disturbing person or if the first- hand tenant does not have good enough reason to sublet it.
Make sure that your landlord (the first-hand tenant) has permission! Otherwise the first-hand tenant can be evicted – therefor you risk being evicted.
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 (you) should pay the same amount in rent as the first-hand tenant (your landlord).
For a fully furnished apartment it is possible to add a 10-15 % increase on the monthly rent. Normally water and garbage collection fees are included in the first hand-tenants rent – this is not something you should normally have to pay extra for.
For example your landlord (i.e. the first-hand tenant) pays 4000 every month in rent, and pays 500 in total for electricity and internet, and he/she is leaving the flat furnished – then he/she can ask for 4600 + 500 for electricity and internet every month.
If you find that you have paid too much rent you can apply to Hyresnämnden (the rental tribunal) for a judgement. Should Hyresnämnden find the rent too high, the first-hand tenant (your landlord) will be forced to pay back the excess amount payed (with interest). 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. The landlord does not maintain the right to raise the rent size through Hyresnämnden.
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 us and we will look at it.
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 room and cleaning is done before the tenant moves out. It is important that it is clearly stated in the contract what the deposit regards so that you know what you have to fulfill in order to get the deposit back. Normally the deposit consists of one or two months’ rent.
The second-hand tenant (you) receives tenure towards the first-hand tenant if the rental period extends for longer than two years – but normally the rental period is for one year at a time since the first-hand tenant needs to have permission from the landlord for each one year-period that he or she sublets the apartment.
Termination and duration of the contract
You can always move out and terminate your contract with three months’ notice. The landlord can also terminate the contract with three months’ notice if your lease agreement is not for a specified time period. If so the landlord has to abide to the contract– however you as a tenant can still terminate it with three months’ notice although it has a specified time period.
Furthermore, your landlord, 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 you as the tenant get your own home insurance. If you are an international student, check what your insurance from home covers and also what the general insurance from the university covers.
You can put your own personal touch to the apartment and you can pay for e.g. repainting, new wallpaper.
You do not need the landlord’s permission for this, as long as you make sure that it is done by professionals. If alterations are not made professionally you might be forced to pay for a renovation.
You are allowed to put up painting with nails and screws as this is regarded legally as normal wear and tear, even if it often says in your contract that you are not allowed to do this.
What you are not allowed to do is change the apartment plan, take away a wall, change or take down permanent fixtures (cupboards or worktops). You are also not allowed to put up walls or arches between rooms. You are not allowed to install a sauna or a kitchen ventilator.
If you decide to change the cupboard doors, it is important that you save the old ones since they belong to the landlord. You are not entitled to compensation from your landlord for work and expenses you have made without the landlords agreement.
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.
When do you have to allow your landlord access to your apartment?
Your landlord does not have the right to enter your apartment without your approval.
There are, however, instances where you are obligated to allow your landlord access:
• For necessary supervision.
• For emergency repairs, for example of a leaking water pipe.
• For non-emergency repairs, the landlord is however obligated to contact the tenant in advance – this is a good opportunity for you to inform the landlord if you have a pet in the apartment.
• 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 you are 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. Should you chose to do so you should also inform your landlord with whom you have left the key in case of an emergency while you are away.
Together with your landlord, write an inventory of furniture and other things that he/she leaves behind and make sure to inspect the apartment. Also, write an inspection protocol with notes of all damages or deficiencies present in the apartment before you move in. You should keep one copy and your landlord should have the other. Follow the same procedure when you move out.
Never forget that it is your landlord, the first-hand tenant, who is responsible toward the primary landlord when it comes to:
• having permission for renting out (it is however in your interest as well that this is done)
If anything breaks in the apartment, e.g. there is a leakage or a vermin infestation; you are responsible to notify your landlord so that he/she can fix the problem. This should be done as soon as you discover the problem.
You are only allowed to use your rental apartment in the ways it was meant to be used. If, for example you have rented an apartment to live in you are not allowed to use the apartment as an office.