Foreign companies blackmail apartment seekers

Stockholm | 2012-03-07

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Tags: Housing

Most people who live (or want to live) in Stockholm know how difficult it may be to get a firsthand housing lease contract. Now, a new problem has arisen as a consequence of people's desperation to find a flat. This is that foreign companies work as intermediary contacts and sometimes blackmail the apartment seeker for more money.

Daily Dagens Nyheter reports that this has occured in Sundbyberg, north Stockholm. What happened was, according to Dagens Nyheter, the following:

  • The public housing entrepreneur (called Förvaltaren) in Sundbyberg offered apartments beside the ordinary housing queue at a certain search channel on their homepage called "Bostadssnabben", (quick housing). The first who applied got the apartment.
  • An intermediary offered to applicants on payment to keep track of all new incoming apartments on this special channel. The applicant turns over his/her login and password to the intermediary contact.
  • The monitoring of the stream of new apartments was done from India or another low-wage country. The login process is done manually, and thereafter the computer keeps track of the incoming apartments.
  • The access to the password makes it possible for the intermediary contact to change password without the permission of the apartment seeker.
  • The intermediary contact has now the possibility to blackmail the apartment seeker for a higher price than what was agreed on before.

According to the public housing entrepreneur in Sundbyberg, some apartment seekers have paid five digit amounts in Swedish crowns to the intermediary contacts. The problem is that most people do not want to talk about this.

One anonymous applicant told Dagens Nyheter that she has paid large sums of money to an intermediary contact in order to get an apartment. She provided the contact with her password. The situation became unpleasant when the contact changed the password so that she could not access the housing site.



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