Airbnb and the Swedish Tenancy Legislation: An Analysis of Unexplored Possibilities
This article discusses the possibilities of Airbnb in a Swedish context, with a focus on rental apartments. Although Airbnb has become more common, it has so far had a limited impact in Sweden compared to many other countries. One of the presumed reasons for this is the relatively strict tenancy legislation. Two aspects of the tenancy legislation that are central in an Airbnbcontext are that a tenant may not sublet an apartment without the permission of the landlord or the Rent Tribunal, according to Ch. 12 Sec. 39 and 40 of the Land Code (SFS 1970:994), and that the landlord is not allowed to charge the tenant a higher rent than the one that has been specified in the tenancy agreement, according to Ch. 12 Sec. 19 of the Land Code. Since the landlord does not have an economic incentive to allow such sublets if the landlord cannot charge an extra fee, this has led to a situation where rental apartments rarely are being sublet through Airbnb, even when they are not being used by the tenant, e.g. during vacation periods. This article analyses the possibility to create a commercial model which makes it possible for the landlord to charge an extra fee for allowing the tenant to sublet the apartment short-term through e.g. Airbnb and also makes it possible for the tenant to, in turn, charge the sublessee a rent that is higher than the tenant’s own rent. The main conclusion is that it is possible to construct such a model, thereby giving both the landlord and the tenant economic incentives to sublet the rental apartment during shorter periods of time when the apartment is not used by the tenant. The article further analyses the practical implications of relevant regulations in the tenancy legislation, and how landlords and tenants may use the commercial model in a way that corresponds to the legislation’s requirements.