In this chapter we will discuss the rights and obligations for you who rent a condominium or a house. Normally, these two categories abide to the same law (Lagen om uthyrning av privat bostad), but sometimes not. We will clarify this below. What you need to know right away is that when you rent an apartment with a rental contract, is not the same as renting an apartment in a condominium association. If you do, look under Tenancy.
About Lagen om uthyrning av privat bostad
A new law was introduced in 2013, Lagen om uthyrning av privat bostad (the law on leasing of owned residence). The Swedish Justice Department describes the law like this:
This law applies for leasing an apartment as a living space under condition that this is not a part of a business. A person renting out a living space he/she is not currently using is not viewed as a business. A person renting out three or more living spaces is viewed as conducting business. If a person is renting out more than one living space then this law is applicable only for the first lease. For the rest of them the Swedish rental law applies (Hyreslagen: 12th chapter in Jordabalken). The living spaces leased under this law can be e.g. condominiums, villas, furnished or unfurnished rooms, or owned apartments.
A lease of a rental apartment is however not covered by this law.
Lagen om uthyrning av privat bostad has few regulations in comparison to the rental law. The assumption is that Hyreslagen (the rental law) applies to all cases not covered by Lagen om uthyrning av privat bostad (the law on leasing of owned residence). A tenant is for example responsible for maintaining the residence even if that residence is owned and not rented (ref. 24§ hyreslagen). The same applies if the tenant does not hold up his/her responsibilities (ref. 42 § hyreslagen). Hyreslagen also apply when it comes to paying rent (ref. 20 och 21 §§ hyreslagen).
Approval may be required
When renting a condominium you need to make sure that your landlord has gotten permission to sublet the apartment from his/her condominium association.
If you are renting a house or a villa then your landlord does not need to apply for permission at all.
About the rent
A new law was introduced in 2013 differentiating rent prices between rental apartments and condominiums/houses (Lagen om uthyrning av privat bostad). This law is more generous in the aspect of deciding the level of rent if you compare it to Hyreslagen which applies for subletting of rental apartments. Therefore, the two parts (you and your landlord) are free to come to an agreement on the size of the rent. This rent should however be a cost-based rent (see below how to calculate it), so even though you are freer to decide the rent, it cannot be completely unreasonable.
According to Swedish law, it is unreasonable for a first-hand contract holder (your landlord) to profit from renting out his/her apartment second-hand which means that you as a tenant never should pay part of your landlord's mortgage as a part of your rent. If the agreed upon rent is significantly higher than the accumulated costs for capital and maintenance costs for the living space, then it is possible for the second-hand tenant (you) to appeal to Hyresnämnden (rental tribunal) to adjust the rent size. The landlord does not maintain the right to raise the rent size through Hyresnämnden. Also, if Hyresnämnden decide to lower the rent, you are not allowed to get the excess of your previously paid rent back.
Capital costs are measured through a reasonable return interest on the living space’s market value. If the living space was recently purchased then you should have a good idea of the market value. A suggested value for the return interest is about 2 % above the interest level of Riksbanken (the Swedish Central Bank). This calculation is not connected to the landlord’s actual loan costs. Whether or not the acquired living space is purchased through a loan or not is therefore irrelevant to the rent levels. Maintenance costs are costs of maintaining the living space in the condition it is when leased. Such expenses can be e.g. fees to the condominium association, electricity bills, internet costs, wear and tear of furniture etc. It is the actual costs that are to be covered – the idea is not that the landlord should gain an income.
Calculation of rent: A condominium apartment, worth 3 million kronor is rented out second hand.
The fee to the condominium association and other maintenance costs add up to 1900 kronor per month. With a reasonable return interest of 3 %, the cost of the apartment per month will be:
(3 000 000*0,03)/12 + 1 900 = 9 400 kr
If the rent is agreed to be 9 000 SEK per month, the landlord has no right to appeal for a raise of the amount at the tribunal. If the rent is agreed upon at 11 500 SEK, then the second hand tenant (you) can appeal for a reduced rent at Hyresnämnden (rental tribunal) The tribunal will then in this example decide to lower the rent if the amount significantly exceeds 9 400 kr.
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 for a judgement. Remember that the cost of the owner's own loans is not to be included in the tenant's rent.
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.
Changing the terms of the contract
Both the tenant (you) and the landlord are entitled to apply for changed conditions at Hyresnämnden (rental tribunal). However it is best for both parts to try to come to an agreement by themselves first before starting a legal process. When the opposite part is informed of the desire to change the contract conditions, an application may be send to Hyresnämnden (rental tribunal). This applies to both a desired change in rent and a desired change to other contract conditions.
Termination and duration of the contract
The landlord may need to use the living space. For that reason the landlord has the right to give three months’ notice of termination. For a second-hand tenant (you), living conditions can change quickly. For that reason the tenant has the right to give one month’s notice of termination. In both cases the time intervals are calculated from the beginning of the month after the day of notice.
Example: If the tenant gives notice of termination on the 12th of August, then the contract seizes to apply on the 30th of September. If instead the landlord gives notice of termination on the 12th of August then the contract seizes to apply on the 30th of November.
The tenant has no right to prolong the contract against the landlord’s wishes. This applies regardless of the length of time the contract has lasted.
If the landlord gives notice of termination, the tenant is obligated to move out once the notice of termination is over. If a contract is signed for one year of housing then the tenant is obligated to move out when this period has passed without a notice of termination from the landlord.
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.
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.