Thursday, May 10, 2012

Finding a Place to Live in Sweden

Oj! Finding a place to live in either Uppsala or Stockholm is extremely difficult!

I have stayed with my good friends ever since moving here, nearly six months ago. Picture me in a teenager's room: single bed, no closet, a nine-year-old boy's room directly over head--he jumps around so much that the light fixture over my head threatens to come down.

Time to give my friends their privacy back. Time to be a big girl and find a place of my own.

Another friend (a guy, of course) told me that all I need is a "place to put my milk" and that's it when it comes to finding an apartment. I thought to myself that I actually required a little more but what he told me has been stuck in my head for months.

I am registered in housing queues in three cities but you have to be in the queues for a long time before you have enough "points" to actually win an apartment. In some neighborhoods in Uppsala, the wait can be 10, 15, even 20 years. Isn't that amazing? People take the apartment after all that time whether they need it or not. Then they sub-let it out.

I have also been actively searching for and responding to ads on For those of you in the U.S., it's the equivalent of place where you can buy and sell stuff, find apartments, etc. A lot of the apartments are just people looking to rent their place for the summer while they travel or go live with mom (students) or whatever. A lot more people seem to live in apartments here than where I am from. It is much easier to own an apartment than to find one to rent.

In a short space of time I almost got caught by two (not one but two!) scammers. At least I think they were scamming...

Scam #1

The first was an apartment in Stockholm that was really near to work. I started thinking about how I could walk to work and how great it would be. It's too dull to go into all the details but suffice it to say that my email correspondence got weirder and weirder with the guy who supposedly owned it. He said he was in England and could only show me pictures of it. He said there were three rooms but only two were available as a German woman was soon moving into one of the three. Later, he said he was going to be back in town in June and would be staying there in one of the rooms. I saw pictures and even talked to him on the phone but the connection was very bad. Then he suddenly got sick of our correspondence and wanted me to send him, among other things, my passport number. Huh? Then he would send the lease (any amount of time I wanted), then send him the rent and security deposit (never specified what that would be) and he would send the keys.

This after we have never met each other and I had not even been in the apartment!

Scammy, no?

I told him to forget it and he actually wrote back and asked why. Who knows what he was up to?

Scam #2

The second one I almost fell for was also in Stockholm. I responded to an ad and received a response about how this guy (the owner) was actually in Malmö...There were "so many people interested" that he could hold it for you if you me if I paid a rent in advance of 8300 kr ($1196.00) before seeing it (to ensure that I would show up on the one day he was going to be back in town to show it to people). If I wanted to go forward (and I got the impression this was going to more than just me), he would send pics, I would Western Union him the money and then... 

Yes and then what? It was all very shady...what exactly that money was for, how I would get it back if I didn't rent the apartment, etc. He didn't seem particularly worried about whether my schedule permitted meeting him on the one afternoon he was to be in Stockholm.

I didn't even bother to reply.


  1. Hej Kristin, scam #1 is exactly the same story about our son's search for an Amsterdam it is. The owner was also in England...Maybe it was the same guy!
    Henrica (a Dutchie, also living in Sweden, who was lucky to have found a nice small rental villa via

  2. Nice to here that you found a good place on Blocket. I have high hopes but must be careful navigating through these scams!

  3. It really amazes me how you are better off buying a place of your own than trying to rent something in Sweden. It is the total opposite here in the States. Good luck with your house hunting.

    1. Thanks, Monica. I think it's also interesting how so many more people live in apartments here.