About the new Housing Office function

The Vice-Chancellor has approved the establishment of an institution-wide Housing Office at Umeå University starting on 1 January 2021. An institution-wide housing service means that all applications for housing, priorities and rental contracts are processed by one joint function.

Why is there need for a joint housing service?

The Housing Office aims to simplify for international students, staff and guests to find housing. It also facilitates an easier process for departments, not only in following the university's rules and other regulations, but also by benefits of coordinated services through one designated function.

What is the background behind establishing a housing office?

Discussions regarding finding and renting housing at the University have been in progress for years, which ultimately resulted in an investigation in spring 2019 (FS 2.3.1-1415-19) ordered by the University Director. The investigation showed advantages in establishing a joint function.

How was the proposal laid out?

Based upon the results of the investigation, the Property Management Office was assigned the task to propose and implement a solution that could be used by the entire university (see reg. no. FS 1.1-1500-19). The work to draft the contents and structure of this joint housing function took place in spring 2020 in an advisory council with representatives from all faculties as well as administrative staff who regularly process housing requests, and these represented the following departments – Department of Chemistry, Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics and Umeå Plant Science Centre. The administrative staff group contributed with their knowledge of the around 90 accommodations that they jointly have at their disposal and sublet with certain services.

When and how was the new function implemented?

The institution-wide Housing Office at Umeå University was established on 1 January 2021. The International Housing Office and the management of Lars Färgares Gård is initially managed as previously. The first step of the implementation is to introduce an administrative system support for housing arrangements. Negotiations regarding new opportunities to rent apartments from housing companies have commenced.

What housing does the university have access to?

The university has 500 student dorm rooms primarily aimed at international exchange students, 38 apartments at Lars Färgares Gård and about 300 student dorm rooms or apartments rented by departments. The 300 student dorm rooms or apartments are currently not included in the Housing Office but will gradually be transferred there in 2021 and 2022.

How is housing rented by departments going to be transferred to the Housing Office?

A transfer of contracts held by departments takes place through meetings in which an inventory of current rental contracts and sublet contracts is made. A clarification regarding the division of responsibilities between the Housing Office and the respective department will be made. A new rental contract will be set up between the Housing Office and the tentant to manifest the new arrangement.

What is the role of the Housing Office?

The Housing Office's assignment is to set up a management of housing held by Umeå University that promotes international collaboration, the recruitment of international students and staff and attracting visiting lecturers or researchers. In order to achieve this purpose, the following targets have been set up

  • Accomplishing legal compliance
  • Creating coordination benefits
  • Providing the right service
  • Giving feedback

How can international students and visiting staff apply for housing?

Admitted exchange students are offered housing through the International Housing Office.

For visiting research fellows or lecturers in need of housing, the department in question needs to apply through the Application form for housing. The Housing Office looks for suitable housing based upon the application.

How is the Housing Office funded?

The running costs of the Housing Office are primarily funded by fees charged for services utilised. However, university-wide funding is required for the initial setup of the function (see reg. no. FS 1.2.1-2158-20).

Frida Fjellström
4/19/2021