Tough for new students to find housing

This autumn there are lots of new students starting at LiU – but not a lot of places for them to stay. KOMBO, the students’ own tenant organisation, helps newly admitted students find their first accommodation.

The office of the student organisations' tenant association at Linköping university

KOMBO is a service where private landlords advertise that they have accommodation available that students can rent. There is no queue system; the students simply contact the landlords, and express their interest.

During the autumn term there is a huge demand for apartments and rooms in student residences, both in Linköping and Norrköping. According to Lisa Wallenberg and Lorena Persson, housing officials at KOMBO, securing a lease for an apartment or room can be difficult if you haven’t put your name on a list well in advance.

“Only about 30 per cent of new students get a first-hand lease for an apartment or a room in a student residence. The rest arrange their housing some other way, for instance by sub-letting or boarding.”

“However we’re getting surprisingly few enquiries at the moment. One reason could be that many students haven’t decided whether they want to study at LiU or somewhere else. They have until 27 July to decide, so the stress of finding accommodation probably hasn’t hit them yet.”

Boarding a win-win

Lorena Persson and Lisa Wallenberg at KOMBO help students to find accommodation.Lorena Persson (to the left) and Lisa Wallenberg at KOMBO help students to find accommodation. Photo credit: Denise Granat.Every year about 50 private individuals advertise on KOMBO’s site that they have a room to rent to a student. Several of these are recurrent landlords who enjoy having a student boarding with them. For some it becomes a long-term arrangement, spanning over several years.

“Yes, we’ve heard of students who board with the same landlord for their entire time at university, because both parties are so happy with the set-up. We’ve had lots of positive feedback, most people find it an enjoyable and rewarding experience. It’s a win-win situation,” says Lorena Persson.

Despite the good response from those who have rented out accommodation before, there is still a need for more – which is why Lisa Wallenberg is urging more people to rent out rooms to new students.

“Help a student with their housing, even if it’s just for a short period. Or if you’re a student yourself, why not let a new fellow student sleep on your sofa for a few nights? Contact us. All types of housing are welcome.”

Emergency housing – a last resort

For students who haven’t secured housing prior to the start of term, neither as a boarder nor in an apartment or student residence room, there is the option of emergency housing. KOMBO manages one apartment in Linköping that can accommodate some 30 students and one in Norrköping with room for ten.

“In previous years we’ve put mattresses on the floor, but this year we’re making the emergency housing a bit nicer, by buying camping beds instead,” says Lisa Wallenberg.

However both Lisa and Lorena emphasise that emergency housing is just a temporary solution – it is only available until the end of September. After that, the students must find somewhere else to live.

KOMBO is the students’ own tenant organisation. It is run by Kårservice, on behalf of the three student unions at LiU: StuFF, LinTek and Consensus. You can find KOMBO's office in Kårallen, Valla Campus.

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