The housing expert tips youNews
Imagine: I am 20 years old, originating from Luleå, and I am going to start studying at the university in Lund by the end of August. I have not yet found housing despite checking hundreds of Blocket ads and queuing for housing without freshmen priority. What do I do?
“I recommend you to check the www.bopoolen.nu. There you will find a lot of information and tips, and also excellent links. You can check all our ads and search existing proprietors or advertise by yourself. When you respond to an ad you have to remember that the owners get an awful lot of answers so your ad really have to be personal and special. I recommend you not to be too selective regarding area. Living close to the cathedral is not your first choice. As the communications in Skåne are excellent you can live outside Lund and commute the first months. A housing outside Lund will definitely give you a cheaper living.”
What are my best options to get housing?
“If you not are part of any queuing system at all your only option is to contact the private proprietors. As the owners can choose what tenants they want, bear in mind that you have to present yourself in the best way possible for the owners to choose YOU. “
Is it possible to get help with the ad?
“I have no got a question of this kind yet. Different proprietors have different demands, and you have to adjust to these demands. It is important that the chemistry between student and proprietor works.”
What is the situation this fall compared to earlier?
“As this is my first year as project leader it is difficult for me to know. Nobody knows exactly how many students are showing up. I know that some new apartments are added this year but after the first admission more students have been accepted to educations compared to last year. The team at Bopoolen is working hard to engage more proprietors even for shorter periods of time. Usually the pressure decreases after a few months as students with resits have finished their studies and moved on.“
How picky can you get as a new student?
“In Sweden there is a basic standard to be met for housing. For example, you do not live in a warehouse. As far as the rent is concerned Bopoolen does a legal estimation of the rent asked for in the ads. The proprietors cannot charge whatever rent they want as we don’t have market rents in Sweden. There are rules about reasonable rents.”
How much is reasonable to pay per square foot for a student?
“It is very difficult to tell as the rent relates to where in the city the housing is situated and what kind of standard. You have to judge from what is included, but the rent should be compared to an identical ordinary apartment. Last fall there was some fraud in which students looking for housing were exploited.”
Are there any signs that scammers are active this year as well?
“I have noticed that there are scammers this year but not to the same extent as last year. The scammers, who use our service to advertise, are scrutinized by us. However, it is not possible for us to check who contacts the students, but we are well aware of that some scammers have tried to trick the students. On our web page we provide a lot of tips and advice when the students register their ads. Sad to say, some scammers try to take advantage of the existing lack of housing.”
What do you do if you are suspicious?
“If a student gets suspicious the advice is to contact us immediately. We are familiar with Lund and know how the scammers generally work, and we will support the students the best we can.”
There is a myth about students of medicine and their ability to get housing before everybody else. Is it alright to lie in your ad and give out information that you will be a student of medicine within one or two semesters?
“I do not know if that is true. We only check if the students are real students, and only if we have time to do it. To tell the truth I am not going to give my view whether it is morally correct to lie or not.”
You do also accept ads for short term housing, like a month. Why?
“There is a tremendous need around the start of the semester for available coaches and rooms. No doubt the needs are at its peak then. That is why it is very valuable if someone can provide a coach or a room.”
What does the typical person that contact Bopoolen look like?
“So far there have been a lot of foreign students because they received their admission information early. At the end of August most of the Swedish students arrive except students of technology, as they start their hazing earlier. The proprietor is generally an older woman who owns a private house or a big apartment in the outskirts of Lund with too much space and no children (as they have left home) and who would like to help the students.”
It must be very frustrating to get in contact with people who desperately need housing and not being able to help them. Is it hard to get up in the morning?
“When I was assigned this job I knew roughly about the expectations during this time of the year. My most important focus is those students we can help and I can tell you, Bopoolen makes a difference. That’s why I don’t have any problem getting up in the morning, staying in bed will just make things worse. In the long run there is always a wish to do more when facing a desperate student, but I knew from the beginning that we do not have any contracts to mediate but are dependent on private proprietors.”
text: Carl-Johan Kullving
translation: Lars Jansson