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The Rising Tide of Evictions in Sweden: A Concerning Snapshot

The Rising Tide of Evictions in Sweden: A Concerning Snapshot

In Sweden, there’s been a distressing increase in evictions, with more children being left without a roof over their heads than ever before. This, according to a report released by the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogden) in 2023. As I peeked into details, couldn’t help but share this grim reality affecting the most vulnerable segment—our children!

The Troubling Rise in Evictions

Evictions in 2023 soared to 2,768 across Sweden, an alarming 10% increase compared to the preceding year. To add salt to the wound, the count of affected kids stood at 674, up by 17% from last year. Whether full-time inhabitants or part-timers visiting a parent, young lives are bearing the brunt of grown-up financial struggles. Let’s not forget, those figures are the highest recorded since the authority began tracking in 2008!

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The impact isn’t merely losing their beloved room or circle of friends, but also the traumatizing reality that mom or dad may not have a place to call home. A difficult situation for any child, isn’t it?

Effects of Financial Hardships

*“The numbers aren’t shocking. The successive surge in prices combined with rental hikes have hit those on the fringes. We’re seeing the evidence at Kronofogden,”* says Davor Vuleta, an analyst at the authority.

The current economic downturn has pushed up debts, and somehow, 2024 doesn’t appear too promising either. Although there might be a silver lining for the economy, the same cannot be said for mounting debtor’s list at Kronofogden.

Nearly 90% of all eviction cases involve unpaid rent. However, not every eviction application ends with someone losing their home. Only around 40% of the nearly 7,000 eviction applications filed by landlords in 2023 were actually executed.

Forward Measures for Prevention – Silver Lining?

In response to the stark reality, Kronofogden has been engaged in extensive effor to prevent evictions, often focusing on fostering cooperation between landlords and local social services. The aim is to establish dialogue and ease the situation before eviction becomes the final recourse. Strategies like creating payment plans or providing social support services are also being explored.

*“A sustainable resolution could be a mutual decision, such as a repayment plan. It’s crucial for the landlord to maintain good contact with social services when tenants need assistance,”* explains Kim Jonsson from Kronofogden’s preventive operation.

A Dive into the (Heartbreaking) Data

Although evictions have spiked since 2018, the picture is more bleak for child-involved evictions. Back in 2008, a zero-eviction goal for families with children was set by the government. This seemed to work, with evictions impacting children falling dramatically from 716 annually down to 387. However, that trend was broken in 2017, and the number is back up to 2008 levels with 674 impacted children recorded in 2023.

Single men without children are the most commonly evicted group. Unpaid rent is the leading cause for evictions, whether children are involved (90% of cases) or not (79%). Most of those evicted have had debt registered with Kronofogden for several years—the average was ten years for women and nine years for men in 2022.

It’s clear that the current trend of evictions paints a sobering picture. However, with preventative measures in place and more attention brought to this issue, one can only hope for an improvement soon. For the expat community in Sweden, it certainly provides context to the housing situation. Always remember, while we navigate this economic downturn, let’s be mindful to look out for those around us.

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