Finding a place to call home is an important part of settling into a new country. Here you will find information on the various forms of housing and where to start your search. Keep in mind that the rental market, particularly in central Gothenburg, can be very competitive.
Renting an apartment
In Sweden apartments are usually classified by their size in square metres (boarea) and number of rooms (excluding kitchen and WC). There are two types of rental contracts available. Both usually include the cost of heating and water in the rent. Other services such as electricity and broadband may or may not be included in the rent. All apartments will have a cooker, fridge and freezer in place and most have a washing machine or access to a shared laundry room.
First hand contracts (förstahandskontrakt)
You rent directly from the owner of the building. It is currently very difficult to obtain such a contract in Gothenburg and queuing can take several years. In surrounding municipalities, however, the queueing times are often much shorter. First hand contract apartments are always unfurnished.
Second hand contracts (andrahandskontrakt)
This is when you sublet from the individual who rents directly from the owner. Normally these contracts are for a limited period of time. The apartments or rooms may be furnished or unfurnished.
Landlords often receive many applications, so you should try and respond to listings quickly. And when doing so, make sure to introduce yourself properly and to try and show why you would be a suitable tenant. You can get some advice on renting an apartment in a safe way at rentingsafely.com.
Tip: broaden your search!
Gothenburg has a network of trams and buses that cover most of the city. In addition, many surrounding municipalities, such as Mölndal, Lerum, Kungsbacka, Härryda, Mölnlycke, Öckerö, Partille and Kungälv, as well as the cities Trollhätten, Borås and Skövde, have good public transport connections to central Gothenburg.
Where to search
Boplats is the main portal for first and second hand rental apartments in the Gothenburg region. All of the municipally owned apartments as well as apartments from some of the biggest private landlords are advertised here. In addition, you will find ads for rooms to rent, which is a popular option among international students.
If you plan on staying in the Gothenburg region for a few years we recommend that you register with Boplats, which costs SEK 100. Municipal housing companies rank applicants by the number of days they are registered, so the longer you on there, the better your chances are of securing a first hand contract with these landlords. According to Boplats, if there are more than 50 applicants ahead of you, your chances of being offered a viewing are minimal.
Private housing companies using Boplats operate differently. They can simply choose the applicant who they think is most suitable, based on things such as monthly income.
For apartments outside of the Gothenburg region, contact your municipality to find out how to sign up for your local housing queue. In addition, their websites sometimes have information about local apartments for rent.
Sublets and lodgings all across West Sweden can also be found on the popular and cost-free site Blocket (in Swedish). Other alternatives include the sites bostaddirekt.se, residensportalen, qasa.se and findroommate.se (in English), as well as the following sites in Swedish hyrabostad.se, andrahand.se, bostadsdeal.se, and hyralya.se. Note, many of the housing sites charge some form of subscription or membership fee. Make sure you read closely the terms and conditions to avoid any unwanted additional charges.
There are also Facebook groups where accommodation is sometimes advertised. An example in English is Find accommodation in Goteborg!.
Landlords often receive many applications, so you should try and respond to listings quickly. And when doing so, make sure to introduce yourself properly and to try and show why you would be a suitable tenant.
Good to know
Lägenhet = apartment/flat
Uthyres = rentals
Hyra/avgift = cost
Antal rum = number of rooms
2 rum och kök = 2 room apartment (1 bedroom) and a kitchen
Områden = area/district
A number of companies offer furnished apartments, generally for short periods of time. Some of them include Apartment Sweden AB, Red Apple Apartments, Företagsbostäder, SGS Veckobostäder and WOW Apartments.
If you have a company and are looking for accommodation for your employees, relocation companies may be able to help. Some of the region’s major relocation firms include Cito Moveo, Key Relocation, Human Entrance, Nordic Relocation Group and Alfa Quality Moving & Relocation.
For immediate accommodation options, such as hotels and hostels, visit the official tourist guides for Gothenburg and West Sweden. Another option is Airbnb, where you can rent a place or room from a local host.
If you are studying at a university, apart from the options above, you can also apply for student apartments. Gothenburg students can find more information on the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers websites. If you are studying in Borås, the university website has helpful information. In Trollhättan, the municipal landlord Eidar arranges accommodation for University West students; while the University of Skövde takes care of the application process for its students.
Another useful site for international students is Housing Anywhere, where you can find rooms offered by other students.
Good to know
Subletting is very common in Sweden, at the same time scams can and do occur. Here are six tips to avoid being scammed:
Check with the property owner that the landlord occupies the apartment and has permission to sublet (NB. Permission is not required for renting out a room).
Require identification from the landlord and a tenancy agreement.
Never pay a deposit or rent in advance until you have visited the accommodation and a tenancy contract is signed. After this, it is common to pay one month’s rent in advance.
Be wary if the landlord is abroad or unable to meet you.
Do not pay money via anonymous payment services or to a foreign bank account. A landlord in Sweden almost always has a Swedish bank account.
Don’t send your personal information or ID.
When renting an apartment in Sweden you have comprehensive rights as a tenant. If you can’t agree on a matter with your landlord or if you have any questions about, for example, your tenancy agreement or what you are allowed to do in your apartment, you can contact the Swedish Union of Tenants (Hyresgästföreningen) or the Regional Rent Tribunal (Hyresnämnden) in Gothenburg.
In general, rent rises are negotiated between the tenants’ associations and landlords. For sublets, the rent you pay shouldn’t exceed the head lease, although if it is a furnished apartment, a mark-up of 10% is considered reasonable.
Buying a home
When you buy an apartment in Sweden, you purchase the right to live in an apartment (bostadsrätt) and become a member of the respective housing cooperative (bostadsrättsförening). You pay a purchase price, and then monthly fees (månadsavgift) which cover repairs and maintenance of the building, and sometimes electricity, heating, digital television and internet.
If you purchase a house you have full ownership of the house and its property.
Both apartments and houses include a cooker, fridge and freezer.
When buying a property in Sweden, a real estate agent provides a neutral link between you and the seller. The whole sale process is often very fast. It usually involves property viewings, shortly followed by a bidding process where the seller sets a starting price and then buyers try to outbid each other - usually via sms. Before bidding on a home, you should contact your bank and ask them for a loan promise (lånelöfte). The usual requirement for a home loan in Sweden is a deposit of 15% and proof of secure income.
As a rough guide, in the Gothenburg region apartment prices are around SEK35,000-70,000 per square metre, while the average house will cost around SEK4.6 million.
Most apartments and houses for sale in Gothenburg and West Sweden can be seen on the websites Hemnet and Booli. Local newspapers often have property listings. Real estate agents (mäklare) can also help you find a place and have property listings.
All homes are advertised in terms of their size in square metres (boarea) and number of rooms (excluding kitchen and WC). House listings will also include the size of the lot (tomtarea) and sometimes the size of areas where use is limited (biarea), such as a basement or garage.
Where to live?
On our regional map we've included some examples of locations that might suit your needs as well as relevant information. You can also use the filter to display the region's universities, and international and bilingual schools and preschools.