Photo: Hasse Holmberg/Jessica Gow/Scanpix. Montage: Sveriges Radio

Reform planning process to solve housing shortage: student housing company

Chris Österlund, CEO student housing company SSSB
4:17 min

Students arriving in the capital in the coming weeks face major difficulties finding accommodation, with a shortage or about 10,000 rooms according to the student accommodation company SSAB.

“The situation is really serious and something needs to be done now,” the company’s CEO Chris Österlund told Radio Sweden.

“The main problem is the amount of building regulations and the length of time it takes – up to ten years in the worst cases – before you can get planning permission.”

Student housing is particularly affected with about 60 percent of building applications held up in the courts.

The national tenants union also says the number one cause of Stockholm’s housing shortage is the planning process:

“There’s no real competition in the market because only a handful of very big building companies have the resources to handle the planning process,” said Helene Lilja, who is heading up a campaign to identify more sites for rental accommodation in the capital.

The housing minister Stefan Attefall has launched an inquiry aimed at simplifying planning procedures.

“We are going to look at reducing the number of levels where people can appeal. We need to protect legal rights but we maybe have a system now that makes it too easy to appeal.”

Reporter: Tom Sullivan (

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