Swindles on the Swedish rental market

Whenever there is a shortage of a product and at the same time a high demand it often attracts criminals. Unfortunately for a longer period of time in Stockholm and other parts of Sweden criminal activity can often be found on the public rental market. The massive shortage of available rental properties for private people and the desperation that creates is a golden opportunity for criminals to make fast and easy money on scams.

Of lately we have been seeing much more organized and highly sophisticated scams on the public rental market conducted by criminal networks. The base rule that used to be “if it is looks too good to be true, it is too good to be true” is today no longer the case. Even for a professionally trained eye it can be difficult and often very time consuming to see through the new type of scams that unfortunately affects so many innocent people. The Swedish police are beginning to open their eyes to these criminal networks but at the moment it is not a high priority for them.

How to best protect yourself?

At the moment, if a person is not offered a corporate lease (the corporate lease opens up a more controlled part of the rental market) the only thing they can do is to be very cautious. Below you can find tips and advice on how to best avoid a scam. Please note that it’s not only tenants are being scammed, the criminals first need an apartment to rent out so the original landlord is also a victim.

  • The scammers will present themselves in person and they will offer live viewings. Many scammers use women that are well dressed and speaks good Swedish/English. They often altered their looks like using a wig.
  • Always ask for ID, a scammer will never show it and tell you that they forgot it or that their partner has it.
  • They will always show false and forged documents like employment agreements, letter of recommendation from previous tenants/landlords or a letter from the board of the building stating that they have been approved to rent out. Any phone numbers you can call or email address in these false documents lead to members within the network.
  • Even though they are using bank accounts with large Swedish bank providers that does not mean it’s safe to transfer a deposit.
  • They are using large public rental webpages that also offer services to add protection. However, this often has a service fee cost that is added to the rent. The scammer will tell the tenant that they feel so comfortable with them that they are willing to sign a lease directly with them and thereby remove this service fee from the rent.
  • Find out who was registered on the apartment address last and see if it matches the landlord’s name and ID.
  • As a tenant you should always try to get in contact with the board of the building. Their information can be found online and if it is a scam they will react quickly and contact the real landlord.
  • Don’t pay in advance until you are 100% sure that it’s not a scam and obviously don’t pay if you have not seen the apartment live.

There are many professional letting agents that assist landlords that offers a great security when you plan to rent out your apartment. For tenants there are great service providers like Nordic Relocation Group that offers service assistance to find the right rental accommodation. Please note that Nordic Relocation Group only offers our services to corporate clients and not private individuals.