Pitching tents on campus is apparently not uncommon.
April 28, 2011 10:51 PM   Subscribe

Moving from Seattle to Stockholm for graduate school this summer: how far in advance of the August 29th semester start should I fly out in order to maximize my chances of renting an apartment before all other students arrive? Also, where should I stay while I'm looking for a place to live?

I'm quitting my current job in July, so I'm free to fly there as far in advance as I'd like to, but I'm not sure what to do about temporary housing while I'm there (imposing on not-too-close friends would be ideal, but that would probably be too awkward for both of us). If I book short-term accommodation (Where? A hostel? Should I bring my tent?), how long should I expect to have to stay there before I find a place? A week? A month?

Any and all other tips are welcome.

This is probably just one in a series of questions I'd like to ask about relocating to Sweden for a couple of years, such as "How do you say 'Please leave a message' in Swedish?".
posted by halogen to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You should stay near where you want to end up living in Stockholm, so you can get a feel of the place and go and see rentals easily. I'd guess the area would be Södermalm, so I'll recommend this hostel which is on Söder. Långholmen
posted by marais at 11:51 PM on April 28, 2011

The housing situation here is, as I understand it, a bit mad. I would, if I were you, already be in touch with the schools student housing contact and find out about student apartments/dorms. Where are you going to be studying?
posted by Iteki at 11:55 PM on April 28, 2011

You should read this.
posted by marais at 12:01 AM on April 29, 2011

Response by poster: I'll be a student at the Frescati campus of Stockholm University. I've been talking to people at my department, and I won't be expected to stay late nights in the lab until my second year (if at all), so I'm not opposed to living a bit farther away as long as my place is not ridiculously overpriced and has a (a) coffeeshop and (b) friendly neighborhood pub nearby. At this point, I think that a livable home is more important to me than location. My price limit would be around 8000 SEK, including utilities.
posted by halogen at 12:05 AM on April 29, 2011

Response by poster: Stockholm University provides no student housing.
posted by halogen at 12:06 AM on April 29, 2011

you could try AirBnB for temporary lodging.
posted by frmrpreztaft at 12:08 AM on April 29, 2011

You need to register in this queue right now. Everything in Sweden is based on "queuetime", you need to start racking it up.

You also need to look at other student accommodation sites, try to look for more official ones, perhaps linked from the uni site.

Stockholm doesn't really do pubs, your options outside of the city will more likely be a restaurant or pizzeria that serves beer/wine. Late night cafes are not particularly common either.
posted by Iteki at 12:40 AM on April 29, 2011

Here's more info on the cities own accommodation queue, and there should be other good links and info on that site. Study in Stockholm.
So you'll be having a flatwarming meetup at the end of the summer? Looking forward to it :)
posted by Iteki at 12:54 AM on April 29, 2011

Response by poster: Iteki – I already have, but I'll e by myself for about 9 months, after which my partner will join me (he already has a job lined up in Stockholm). The waitlist on SSSB for any sort of room or apartment seems significantly longer than 9 months, and my degree will only take 21 months.
posted by halogen at 1:01 AM on April 29, 2011

Response by poster: Wait, as much as I'm looking forward to parties, etc. (and I am, I really am, count on it, I throw epic parties), would I be better off arriving a couple of weeks early than all the other people competing for apartments?
posted by halogen at 1:08 AM on April 29, 2011

The link I posted you had options for like 22 queue days?

Can't speak for anyone else but yeah, I would say come early, but start organising your accommodation already as much as you can.
posted by Iteki at 1:16 AM on April 29, 2011

Sorry man, I was missreading that, yeah...600 queue days is something else... You should also maybe chech the forums of The Local which is an online newspaper for the English speaking expat community and probably a good place for leads and advice.
posted by Iteki at 1:20 AM on April 29, 2011

FORGET registering for housing because you probably won't get an offer until you have finished your degree. Or maybe Uppsala was just odd that way.

CHECK THE LOCAL as it is in English/Swedish and lists all the housing options. I would suggest contacting your department ASAP by phone and asking 1)where you should look online and 2) contacts of current/last year students.

Also do the couchsurfing thing now so you might be able to find someone.

As for learning how to say things in Swedish..well I would guess that there are more English speakers in Sweden per capita than the USA or close to it. I never ran into any Swedish person that didn't speak English and I was there for two years.

Enjoy the land of super attractive people. The daylight part of the year is amazing but the dark time of the year is super depressing if you are at risk to that sort of thing at all!
posted by tarvuz at 3:03 AM on April 29, 2011

Also i think you will find Swedish school to be about a thousand times easier than any American university. I got so bored I did two graduate degrees at the same time.
posted by tarvuz at 3:05 AM on April 29, 2011

how far in advance of the August 29th semester start should I fly out in order to maximize my chances of renting an apartment before all other students arrive?

halogen... I live in Stockholm, my wife went to Stockholm University, and I have only bad news for you.

You should read what marais posted.

There is no traditional rental market in Sweden. You do not see "for let" signs and there are not dozens of estate agents on the high street to help you find something. When it comes to housing, comrade, Sweden is the last Soviet state. Basically you have state-owned flats called "hyresrätter" and private flats (essentially condominiums) called "bostadsrätter" which are subject to strict rent control. The entire system does not work, it is dysfunctional to the extreme, but it is politically impossible to change.

To get into a hyresrätt one must stand in the queue. The length of the queue in central Stockholm is - I do not exaggerate - 25 years. This is of course because Stockholm is the best place on Earth and everyone wants to live here. But some say the real reason is the Soviet style black market for hyresrätter that keeps them from forever traded by insiders - it is easier to get a rent controlled apartment on Park Avenue in New York than a windowless 20m2 on Södermalm.

The best you can hope for is to sublet something. You might be able to rent a bostadsrätt, but these are generally more expensive. 8000 SEK seems rather low if you hope to live "inom tullarna" within the city limits, but probably enough if you are outside the gates.

Here is a good website you can use to help you with your search.

Do not waste too much time talking to SU. They are notoriously unhelpful when it comes to housing and will put you in some crappy distant North Korean suburb one hour south of the campus. Student housing is basically non-existent or very limited.

Contact me via mefi mail if I can be of further help.

Good luck. You're gonna need it. You will love Stockholm, but not the housing situation.
posted by three blind mice at 3:48 AM on April 29, 2011

Almost forgot, here is a recommendation for short-term accomodations. It's not terribly close to the university, but it's convenient to the metro and well-situtated on Söder with plenty of bars and interesting places within walking distance.
posted by three blind mice at 3:55 AM on April 29, 2011

from an e-mail a few months ago from a helpful international grad student in Stockholm:

1 - Make your subscription to SSSB as soon as possible. You definitely
won't get a place right now from there, but since you subscribe you
start counting days on the queue. And it is the criteria to an
apartment for you in the future:

2 - University Accommodation Center. They have rooms, but are still
hard to get. Anyway, take your chance. The subscriptions is for free:

3 - KTH website to connect tenants and people with available rooms/
places. You have to keep on checking because new offers appear each

4 - Website of Lappis neighborhood. It is
close to KTH and usually cheap. They have a forum where people keeps
advertising rooms available or that they are requesting for a room:

5 - Easy roommate: the website matches your profile with the required
profile of people that want to rent a room. The basic subscription is
for free:

6 - Blocket. This is like the virtual flea market of Sweden. Everybody
buys, sells, trades or advertise things in there. The bad part is that
most of the website is in Swedish, but I got through using Google
posted by meijusa at 8:36 AM on April 29, 2011

Response by poster: If anyone is still following this thread, my price limit just went up to 18,000 SEK a month, so this might make things a bit easier. With this in mind, are there any brokers or rental agencies in Stockholm whom I can hire to schedule viewings and help me find a place for a fee?
posted by halogen at 3:27 PM on August 17, 2011

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