Like many European cities, Gothenburg struggles with a student housing shortage. And yes, finding accommodation here can be challenging, particularly as an international. Göteborg Daily met up with Boplats Student Room Coordinators Moa Frödin Gruneau and Ellen Jingrot for some advice on finding a place to stay.
According to Moa and Ellen, students who have come to Gothenburg for longer than one semester should register with student housing providers such as Boplats Göteborg and SGS Studentbostäder, even though the waiting times can be years rather than months.
”If you think you may end up staying, you should register, it’s for free and you have nothing to lose,” says Moa.
For short-termers and those needing a more urgent solution, subletting and renting a room in a private home are the best options.
When Moa and Ellen started in mid-June, around 1,100 international students were in need of accommodation for the autumn semester 2013. But thanks to a new campaign, which turned to the city’s residents, new rooms in private homes are opening up each week.
However, competition for rooms and apartments remains fierce, particularly in the city centre. Ellen and Moa therefore strongly recommend that students consider options a bit further away.
”We have really good public transport, so students should really consider places outside of the city. Some students aren’t used to going by public transport, but here it’s really common. There are also a lot of good biking possibilities,” says Ellen.
She also suggests that students consider arriving a little bit earlier, to beat the crowds and try and have things organised before the semester starts.
As a rough guide rooms in central Gothenburg usually cost around 3,500 to 4,000 kronor per month, but could be as high as 6,000 kronor. A bit further away from the centre, the prices are about 2,500 to 3,000 kronor a month.
For students staying longer than one semester it’s also good to know that there are usually more student apartment openings at the start of the spring semester, when many other students leave. One good option is therefore to sublet or rent a private room during the autumn, and hope for an opening at the turn of the year.
When it comes to applying for a room in a private home, Ellen and Moa have a few tips:
”Write about who you are and try and introduce yourself to the landlord as much as possible” says Ellen.
”Keep in mind that the people who advertise may get hundreds of answers, so you have to stick out. It’s like finding a job more or less,” says Moa.
And remember to make it easy for the advertiser. With so much demand, chances are they won’t go out of their way to call or email you, so it’s up to you to do the work.
Ellen and Moa also advise students to think outside the box when it comes to finding a place to stay. Ask around in your network, especially if you know someone who lives or has lived in Gothenburg.
”Use every possible way to find something. Be creative. Use the internet, social media, and whatever you can to find a place,” says Moa and adds:
”If you get an offer, consider it, take it and be quick with it.”
”Come here and we’ll do our best to help you,” says Ellen.
Unfortunately there have been occasional reports of apartment scams targeting international students.
”You should always be a little bit suspicious if someone is asking you to pay money in advance, or sign a contract that’s in Swedish and you don’t understand what you’re signing. We have helped a lot of students with that, and they are welcome to email us any questions about contract signing and reasonable agreements,” says Ellen.
She adds that a good place to start if you have suspicions is to check who is registered at the address, which can be done fairly simply. In addition Boplats suggests the following:
– Always make sure to visit the room/apartment before you pay anything in advance.
– Be observant if the landlord lives abroad and wants you to pay rent in advance.
– Never pay rent or a deposit via Western union e.g. or to an unknown bank account.
– Always make sure to sign a valid contract.
Student life: finding accommodation
This article was created in collaboration with Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg.