Tenancy Law and Housing Policy in Europe
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Tenancy Law and Housing Policy in Europe

Towards Regulatory Equilibrium

Edited by Christoph U. Schmid

Tenancy law has developed in all EU member states for decades, or even centuries, but constitutes a widely blank space in comparative and European law. This book fills an important gap in the literature by considering the diverse and complex panorama of housing policies, markets and their legal regulation across Europe. Expert contributors argue that that while unification is neither politically desired nor opportune, a European recommendation of best practices including draft rules and default contracts implementing a regulatory equilibrium would be a rewarding step forward.
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Chapter 9: Rent control and other aspects of tenancy law in Sweden, Denmark and Finland – how can a balance be struck between protection of tenants’ rights and landlords’ ownership rights in welfare states?

Per Norberg and Jakob Juul-Sandberg

Abstract

The Nordic countries Sweden, Finland and Denmark possess exemplary social tenancy regimes focusing on rent control and other elaborate interest balancing mechanisms: Denmark has as its principal form the cost-based rent, which is fixed at below market level on the basis of the running costs, a surcharge for improvements and a small profit margin. Finland liberalized rents in the 1990s in order to bring more apartments onto the market, though the link to a cost index is usual for rent increases. Sweden has a system under which most rents are negotiated collectively between tenant unions and municipal and private landlords. The Swedish and Danish rent regulation is complemented by a protective regulation of duration and termination of contracts, which normally enable the tenant to opt for prorogations; also, the tenant has the right to transfer the tenancy to family members. As a result, it is often impossible for the landlord to terminate the tenancy contract even for reasons of personal or family use. Against this background, the authors propose to assimilate the doctrinal concept of tenancies to that of ownership, so as to fully implement the principle of tenure neutrality.

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