Student housing shortage is prevalent in more cities than ever. In Lund, 70 percent of new students risk being without secure accommodation.
“It is too early to tell, but the lack of student housing just might perhaps have reached its zenith, judging from the minor increase in the green and yellow labelled lists, as well as student unions reporting an increase in new building ventures. At the same time, rent levels for these new ventures are mind-bogglingly high,” according to Caroline Sundberg, chairperson of The Swedish National Union of Students.
Lund at the top of red list
As usual, the bigger student cities Uppsala, Lund, Stockholm and Göteborg are at the top of the red list. But surprisingly, it has become increasingly difficult to find a place to live in smaller cities, such as Karlskrona and Skövde. Only two cities have had a positive development when it comes to student housing: Karlstad, which has gone from being red-listed to being on the yellow list, as well as Sundsvall, which has changed from yellow to green.
70 percent of students in Lund without secure living
According to calculations made by The Swedish National Union of Students, seven out of ten new students are expected to be without secure living quarters in Lund this autumn. Approximately 1,900 students signed up for Akademiska Föreningen’s special priority system for Novischer – only about 700 of these can expect to receive accommodation. The rest of the applicants will have to cope with up to one year’s free queue to acquire a room in a student corridor, and more than two years to get their own apartment. Thus, at least 70 percent of all new students coming to Lund should be ready for a year of insecurity concerning accommodation.
“The fact that the same conclusion holds true year after year is distressing. A conclusion that has become so worn out that it is not even newsworthy. Instead, it is evident how the lack of student housing has become normalised,” says Björn Sanders, chairperson of Lund University Student Unions Association.
Six years’ queue not enough
At most, any student is allowed to live in housing provided by AF-bostäder for no more than six years, in an effort to speed up the turn-over of housing, as well as help new students. However, in the view of Lund University Student Unions Association, six years is barely enough time to get a flat via the municipal housing corporation, LKF. This entails several problems in having somewhere to live for students who would like to remain in Lund after graduation, as well as for those who would like to initiate a research career.
“We want Lund Municipality to take their share”
According to Björn Sanders, it should not be the obligation of Student Unions to solve the lack of housing.
“We want the Municipality to take their part of this burden, as it should not first and foremost be the responsibility of the Unions that the inhabitants of the Municipality have somewhere to live,” says Björn Sanders.
Susanna Hansson, student-city coordinator at Lund Municipality, does think the Municipality carries their part of the burden through sponsoring Bopoolen, together with the University.
“The Student Unions are in charge of boopoolen.nu, and it is funded jointly by the Municipality and the University. That is a cooperation we are happy with, and that project works perfectly fine.
Helsingborg in the yellow
In Helsingborg, things are better, and the student housing available is judged to be so good that no students should have to resort to subletting or live-in arrangements, unless they wish to do so. According to the report issued by The Swedish National Union of Students, all new students in Helsingborg are expected to be offered a rent lease within a month.
But whilst awaiting a permanent place to live, there are other options for students in dire need. Through Bopoolen, there are opportunities to get into contact with people who wish sublet their rooms, and in connection with Arrival day (when many new students from abroad arrive), Bopoolen offered temporary accommodation to exchange students.
Accommodation is also offered through different groups on Facebook, for example: Lägenheter i Lund, but since these arrangements are made between individuals, they are made at one’s own risk.
Many of Lund’s nations as well as other organisations offer different types of accommodation arrangements for their members.
The non-profit organisation website www.botillsammans.nu is run by students and alumni from Linköping University, and the people in charge are trying to help people find someone to share accommodation with. Previously, it has only been possible for those looking for accomodation to register and present their profile, but now, those who have accommodation and who wish to help can list it on the website.
“Shared accommodation is still slightly frowned upon, and we want to change that view! Sharing a place to live is fantastic, from an economic point of view, it is a great social thing, and it is not least environmentally as well as area-efficient.,” says Hanna Söderquist, project manager of ‘Bo tillsammans’.
This text has been updated
Text: Tindra Englund
Translation: Richard Helander