Apartments
Credit: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Buying rental contracts could be made illegal

2:44 min

The government wants to make it illegal to buy rental contracts, which would make it impossible to skip sometimes decade-long queues for rental properties.

Usually, would-be tenants in Sweden enter into rental contracts through private or public housing companies. The contracts generally offer security of tenure, meaning tenants can rent the property indefinitely.

It is illegal to sell these contracts – but not illegal to purchase one. By buying a black market rental contract, tenants are able to skip queues of up to 10-15 years, according to Johan Mirtorp, legal counsel at the Swedish Union of Tenants.

Today, the government released the findings of an inquiry into the underground rental contract market. It recommends making it a criminal offence to buy rental contracts, punishable by a fine or up to two years in prison – or four, in extreme cases.

Asked it if this was reasonable, given long waiting lists and housing crises in many Swedish cities, Mirtorp said that he understood that people may be in "difficult situations", but that the solution was to build more rental properties.

The government proposes that the recommendations come into force in 2019.

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