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New government to reassess housing-market reforms

Published torsdag 5 februari 2015 kl 15.40
"It's an acute situation"
(1:54 min)
Stockholm balconies
Balconies of a Stockholm high-rise. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT.

After a series of reports by Swedish Radio into Stockholm's over-saturated housing market, Minister for Housing Mehmet Kaplan says he will order an inquiry into the rules for subletting.

Mehmet Kaplan tells Swedish Radio's P4 Stockholm station that the inquiry will look into how recently introduced rental rules have affected the pricing and availability of housing. And, most importantly, he says, the inquiry will assess the impact of removing tenants' right to file official complaints about their rent.

The previous centre-right coalition government introduced several reforms that were meant to make it more profitable for home owners and tenants to rent out their flats and houses, which they hoped would go some way towards relieving the severe housing shortage, particularly in the capital.

For instance, they got rid of the right for sub-letting tenants who were unhappy about their rent levels to file a complaint with the Housing Authority, the body that mediates disputes between tenants and landlords, somewhat like rent tribunals in the UK.

The changes have not had the positive impact that the previous government hoped for. The idea was that making thousands of homes available for subletting would help push down rents, but according to Swedish Radio's investigations that has not happened.

Instead, flat hunters, real-estate agents, researchers and analysts from the National Board of Housing Building and Planning have told Swedish Radio that there's a continued lack of housing and there are still sky-high rents in many places.

And in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, rents have reached such high levels that home owners could earn enough from subletting to pay for their mortgage - and make a profit.

Housing market minister Mehmet Kaplan says all this is "an unfortunate development".

"This is an acute situation that is affecting young people, not least students. It also affects people who want to move to where their jobs are. I'm very troubled and concerned about this," says Kaplan.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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