Today I’ll kick off the housing series as started by Ruben earlier today. He gave some great recommendations of jumping off points for your search and I’d recommend reading! As for me, after a long search I found my own little student studio apartment in an area near LTH called Kämnärsrätten (pronounced kinda like shaem-naers-raet-ten I think? Nobody ever knows where it is), located appropriately on Kämnärsvägen in the north east of Lund. My room itself is 3-5 minute cycle (wind can slow you down) or about 10-12 minutes walk from A-Huset & IKDC, where SUDes, Architecture and Industrial Design are located at the northern end of LTH. The route between is easy, following a simple cycle path under two major roads.
I’ll detail the process of finding my place (including the infamous AF queuing system) and everything I can think of about what it’s like.
The process of finding this place was lengthy. As an EU student, I didn’t get a housing guarantee from LU Accommodation so had to play the AF Bostäder queue, and also did a lot of research online. To apply to the queue, one signs up on specific dates usually in July with the temporary student/ID number given by LU/LTH, and other such basic information. If you gain a tenancy, a Studentlund membership is required – I’m sure information about Studentlund is already posted here somewhere or is forthcoming. The queue system shuffles all applicants into a random order by assigning a queue time number, which dictates your position. These with a better queue number can jump into the front of novisch status housing queues (those for new arriving students, only really corridor rooms or single room apartments) and so on until housing is assigned. In the year that I applied, only 700 rooms or so were available in this system, and I did lots of research and spreadsheets and such to work out which rooms I wanted to queue for, which areas I wanted to live, rent values, amenities, etc. However, there is a housing shortage that they are trying to combat so you cannot really afford to be choosy. Each room available is only online on the list for 48 hours, after which it closes and whoever is at the front gets it. You can queue for 3 rooms at any one time in a ranked order, so in effect I was queuing for a new set of 3 rooms with preference to my favourite areas every single day, working very hard to keep up with it all – it requires a lot of planning and attention and being able to apply to everything at the right time. I was extremely lucky, ending up at the front of a queue finally on the last day that large numbers of rooms were available and I accepted it super duper early the following morning. Many people I know were still without after the queue was over, but still found somewhere to live – everyone does even if they arrive in Lund without housing. I had to pay a deposit and ‘sign’ some papers online.
However, the room I secured at Kämnärsrätten was not available until September, several weeks after I would arrive. Thankfully, because I was a prepared man, I had been panic-applying to places available on Bopoolen (some were scammers, so watch out!) and had even advertised myself as looking for a room. I was careful to give plenty of information about myself and how I am so that anyone looking for a roommate would not be wasting their time. I was contacted by a friendly woman living in the suburbs not far from LTH (the town-side of Östra Torn) who had a spare small single room in her family home for rent. We communicated a lot and I am honestly so glad she found me. I stayed there from my August arrival until mid-September when I finally made my move, and still visit every so often. For when I eventually moved in, I had to collect my keys from Sparta (another housing area where the AFB office is located) but due to a clerical error and a misplaced key I had to have my locks changed less than an hour later – I was compensated with various vouchers for free pizzas, which I think was a good compromise!
So, what about Kämnärs? It is currently undergoing redevelopment in order to help solve the housing shortage. As a result, neighbouring blocks here have been cleared and new buildings are due to be completed Spring 2019, while mine is expected to be demolished as part of the last phase sometime in the mid-2020s for the same reason. Before demolitions began, there were well over 2000 individual rooms here so its essentially a small town or suburb in itself with a higher population than my home village. The area is quite nice and convenient, being close to LTH by foot or cycle, connected to the centre/station directly by the 4 bus (right outside my door), and also with a short walk connected to Malmo directly with the 170/171 buses. All of Lund is in easy reach by bike. It also provides a good contrast with the neighbouring student area, Delphi, where many friends live. While Delphi is made up mostly of corridors and hosts a lot of parties and other such activities, Kämnärs is quieter due to the large number of smaller studios and 1/2/3/4 room apartments, plus a few corridors. The closest supermarket is Willys, located on the edge of the area, and also happens to be one of the cheapest and best-stocked in Lund. Most of the area was built as a student housing suburb in 1969 and expanded in the mid-90s. More information can be found on AF Bostäder’s site here.
What about my room? I have lived here since September 2016 (move-in photos above) and it gets a little lonely living by myself when there’s a social lull, but I host friends fairly often and I’m so close to everyone so it’s all good. The room has never felt small, I even managed to get a total of 17 of us in here the other night for a pre-party! It is a top floor room in a 2-storey building with external stair, measures at 22m² and includes a small bathroom and kitchen within that value. The rent is very cheap for what I get, but part of that is being officially unfurnished, and is only to paid for 9 months of the year, meaning summer is rent-free! Utilities such as electricity, water/heat, internet (fast connection but without router) and the like are included in the rent. It comes with built-in cupboards and drawers, some lighting, fridge/freezer, small oven with 2 ring hob, sinks, toilet and shower. I also have a big west-facing window that lets in a lot of afternoon sun (when it’s out). Yup, not a lot…
My full move-in was delayed while I bought furniture and other things and waded through studio work. There are groups such as Sell/Buy Stuff in Lund where people can sell and buy things. It is here that I found my desk and chair, dining table and chairs, microwave, etc etc, all being sold by leaving students nearby. I gained a bed from a classmate who was moving and the previous tenant left me with the sofa. Small appliances (kettle, WiFi router, etc.) came from stores at Nova Lund and other such things (bedding, plates, cutlery, towels, etc) were bought at IKEA of course. I had earlier found a bike at a used bike sale in central Lund during my first week. There is a laundry room and cycle storage just outside on my courtyard, and others around if they’re in use. The mailboxes and rubbish/recycling station are a short walk away on the north side of the development.
As you can clearly see, I haven’t decorated an awful lot (and I’m usually much messier). I’m of the feeling I don’t want to buy things I’ll get attached to, knowing I must sell when I leave, hence the fairly blank walls. I have tons of posters from design crits but I’d rather not have them be the first thing I see when I wake up! I’m also not a wealthy student so I haven’t gone big on the decor, textiles or other decorative stuff for that reason also. I am a materialistic design student still through-and-through! Speaking of being a design student, I have materials, presentation boards and posters everywhere (especially around the sofa). The last two shots are of the construction site to the East, to show the scope. The proposal is here, with Proto and Sagoeken (the 2 being built now) viewable from tabs on the left.
If you think corridor life isn’t for you (like me, I’m not used to living with strangers), then I would whole-heartedly recommend trying to bag a room at Kämnärs, plus it has the huge advantage of being so close to class at LTH! It’s not so close to the centre, but no prohibitively so – it was worse when I lived in the suburbs for distance. The downside would be that its not so close to most of the nations, bars, restaurants, etc. as these are concentrated closer to the centre, and during the week the 4 bus doesn’t run frequently later at night so sometimes it’s a little harder to get home after arriving from an evening flight or from being away in another city (i.e. Copenhagen). If you have any questions about this area feel free to comment or contact me or the appropriate companies! There are also other blogs and posts from the past on this blog and elsewhere, Google is your friend. Good luck with your housing hunt, I’m assured my fellow ambassadors will be posting soon! If you made it to the end of this post, I salute you. It is ridiculously long.