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Fewer and fewer evictions

Birgitta Sandström 

Birgitta Sandström.

Work to prevent evictions gives results

Fewer and fewer of Bostaden’s tenants are being evicted or reported to the Swedish Enforcement Authority. This is a result of collaboration and a greater focus on prevention at Bostaden.

Paying your rent on time is important. Late payment can have serious consequences for a tenant – debt recovery fees, registration as a payment defaulter or, at worst, eviction. Anyone who pays their rent late is automatically charge a so-called collection fee of SEK 180. In the event of repeated late payment, the matter may be referred to the Swedish Enforcement Authority, which will result in the tent being registered as a payment defaulter. In the worst case, it may lead to a tent who has not paid their rent having their rent contract terminated.

Have worked preventively since 2011

But Bostaden works to prevent this happening. Our work began as long ago as 2011, when Bostaden began a collaboration with the Swedish Enforcement Authority. Our strategy is to work actively and preventively, to contact tenants who have unpaid rents before their rent debt becomes too large – and agree on a payment plan.

And our efforts have produced results: the number of applications submitted to the Swedish Enforcement Authority fell by about 40% between 2011 and 2017. During the whole of 2018 we had only one case of eviction.

“We have guidelines for working with rent debts and always try to find solutions. We can see that our way of working preventively is appreciated by our tenants,” says Birgitta Sandström, who works with debt recovery matters at Bostaden.

There may be many reasons why a person is unable to pay their rent. Birgitta encounters many different stories during the course of her work.

"Tenants are people like everyone else and so much goes on in society. A person may lose their job and not receive unemployment benefit. You can fall ill or feel bad. The new divide we are seeing now is ‘poor pensioners’, who cannot make ends meet on the amount they receive,” she says.

Bostaden is held up as a good example

The Swedish Enforcement Authority picks Bostaden out as a good example of how local authorities and public housing companies can collaborate with public agencies and authorities to prevent evictions that are mainly due to unpaid rent. It is in a new support method that Bostaden’s efforts are highlighted. The main purpose of the method is to demonstrate the importance of continuous local cooperation for the prevention of evictions.

“We have an excellent collaboration with both the Social Services and the Swedish Enforcement Authority. We also have our own debt recovery department, which I consider to be a great strength. We take part in the process all the way,” Birgitta goes on.

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