With all the talk of how bad rent controls are here’s a story of how good they actually could be. The UK could learn much from the Swedish policy on housing, after all the government seems wildly keen to adopt most of the failing ones from the Nordic regions.
This is a victory for The Swedish Union of Tenants who have been fighting a change in the law 2 years ago giving private landlords the ability to fix their own rent prices. That resulted in a huge increase in rents which are now slowly being clawed back down.
While the award wasn’t a significant amount of money it does throw up the disparity between the UK and Europes attitude to renting. Imagine having a furnished 2 bed apartment just south of the Thames with the electricity and Sky TV for £824 per month and an official union whom landlords must negotiate with…
A Swedish Landlord was ordered to pay back 30,000 kronor (£2,247) to renters she had overcharged on an 11,000 kronor (£824) a month 60 square metre two-room apartment in Enskede in southern Stockholm, which was split between two tenants.
After the renters complained that they had been overcharged, she argued that the price was fair because it also included electricity and cable television and because she considered her furniture to be particularly lavish.
When the tenants won their case at a rent tribunal over the winter, the woman appealed the decision, but recently lost her case at a Stockholm appeal court, with the decision reported widely in Swedish media on Thursday.
Under Swedish law, residents with first-hand rental contracts who sublet their apartments are not supposed to charge more rent than they themselves would pay if they were living at the property. But they are allowed to charge extra for bills and add on a further 15 percent if the apartment is furnished.