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How to find accommodation in Stockholm

Hello everybody and welcome to this new post! Today, we are going to talk about how to find accommodation in Stockholm as a non-fee-paying international student. As explained in Martyna’s post on moving to Stockholm as an EU student, KTH does not grant accommodation to non-fee-paying students, unless they are part of a Joint Master’s programme. This means you will have to look for accommodation yourself, but don’t panic! We have got you covered.

Sunset over Lappis, a student campus near KTH
A beautiful sunset over Lappis, the most common SSSB accommodation area. Credits: Zhi Zou

There are two main ways to find housing in Stockholm. The first one is to apply to a housing queue, while the second is to find a sublet apartment from a private person.

Housing queues

In general, a housing queue works in this way: you subscribe to it and for every day that you spend in the queue you earn one credit day. When you apply for a house on the housing queue website, the house will be given to the applicant with the most credit days. That’s it!

There are two main housing queues that you can subscribe to: Bostadsförmedlingen and SSSB.

The first one is the municipal housing queue for the city of Stockholm. Everybody can subscribe to it (for 200 SEK/year), but they also offer some specific housing only for students and/or young people (between 18-25 years old). I personally don’t know anybody who got his accommodation through Bostadsförmedlingen, so I don’t know much more about it. It is certainly worth subscribing though because they have a lot of houses available for students! To subscribe to this housing queue, you’ll need to have a Swedish personal number (i.e. you will have to wait until you come here).

On the other hand, SSSB is way more popular: almost everybody I know found housing through SSSB. It is a housing queue only for students, they publish new apartments twice a week and they have in general very good locations. Also, they are way cheaper than what you’d pay for a similar apartment in a similar location through the private market. SSSB is free but, in order to subscribe to it, you will need to also be subscribed to THS, the Student Union of KTH (cost: 365 SEK/year).

However, you can already start collecting credit days: SSSB offers the possibility to collect up to 90 credit days without being a member of a student union, and you can pause your subscription for a maximum of 60 days. This means that you can start collecting credit days from now, pause your subscription once you get around 80 credit days, and then wait until you come here in August and become a member of the student union to reactivate your account.

SSSB offers both apartments and corridor rooms, which are the most popular form of accommodation here (you have your personal bedroom and private bathroom, but share the kitchen with other students). You usually need a minimum of 80/90 credit days for a corridor room (you’ll need much more for an apartment), meaning that often times people spend the first couple of months in an accommodation found on the private market, and then switch to SSSB once they have collected enough credit days.

Another very nice perk is that you get two months rent-free during the Summer, and electricity is often included.

A picture of Strix accommodation (one of SSSB accommodations) with snow
A grey Winter day at Strix, an SSSB accommodation at a 10-minute ride from central Stockholm

Private market

Another way to find a house is to look for accommodation on the private market. Usually, renting from a private individual is more expensive than renting through a housing queue, but it is still a very viable and popular solution.

Personally, I have looked for housing on Blocket Bostad and Akademisk kvart, and I had a positive experience with both. They are both safe and work in a similar way: you find a house you’re interested in, you send a message to the owner, you arrange a (video)viewing and then sign the contract. I am currently living in a house found through Akademisk kvart.

There are a couple of advice I would like to give you: first, even if they tend to be quite safe, NEVER pay anything in advance and ALWAYS ask for at least a video call with the owner, in which he shows you the house. No, receiving videos or photos is not enough: don’t trust anybody who refuses to have a video chat with you to show you the house. Also, work a lot on the message you’ll send to the owner: introduce yourself, say why you’re in Stockholm, and tell them a little bit about yourself. Try to keep it short and straight to the point – they usually receive a lot of messages.

Finally, I strongly suggest you use a specialised website to look for housing and not Facebook. Sadly, Facebook lacks any type of control over its users and it is super easy to find scammers and be scammed. As a rule of thumb: if it is too easy or too cheap to be real, then it probably isn’t real!

Picture of my room
The first picture I took of my room when I came here in August. Feeling nostalgic!

That is all for today. I hope this post was useful for you! I remember being super anxious to find accommodation. In reality, it is not as hard as it seems when reading online! You just have to start early, be patient and don’t stress too much – everything will be alright!

Before leaving, remember to check out the upcoming webinars for newly admitted students at the New at KTH website, and don’t forget to check out Martyna’s last post on student discounts and my last post on budgeting tips!

See you next week!

// Lorenzo