Local councils are feeling the pressure from new legislation on refugee housing. Magnus Nilsson, municipal administrator in Svenljunga, south of Borås, tells Swedish Radio News they have responsibility for 170 new arrivals. After buying 5 houses previously, the town is buying two more, to rent them out to refugee families.
“This is completely for large families, those too large for the apartments we already have,” he says.
The new law went into effect on March 1st, and requires municipalities to find housing for refugees. While there doesn’t seem to be an overview of how many are buying houses like Svenljunga, Jan-Ove Östbrink of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions points to rural areas in the north, Småland and Värmland, and tells Swedish Radio News there are risks:
“For those who have no choice but to buy housing instead of renting,” he says, they have to make good deals.” Because when the day comes when the housing is no longer required, they may be forced to sell at a loss.
But Magnus Nilsson in Svenljunga plays down the economic uncertainty.
“There’s always a risk when you buy a property that you are going to have to get rid of later,” he tells Swedish Radio News. “Getting some temporary units, I think turns into a bigger total cost than buying a building and trying to keep it maintained so that it is possible to sell. Hopefully” he says, “we’ll get at least as much then as we paid for it.”