Social services’ handling of clients risking eviction. An in-depth study of how laws are applied in social work

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2007
End date: 31/12/2009
Funding: 2400000 SEK


On the average 4250 evictions have been carried out every year in Sweden during the 21st century (Statistics from the head of enforcements districts 2007). The evictions occur despite the fact that the social services have had legal possibilities to prevent them. The relation between evictions and homelessness has been established in American, European and Swedish research (Sosin et al. 1988, Avramov 1996, Flyghed 2000). At the same time, Swedish homelessness is considered to be a field characterized by large knowledge gaps. There is a lack of systematic studies on factors causing homelessness (SOU 2000:3, SOU 2005:88). Evictions are legally regulated in Jordabalken (1970:994) chapter 12 (the rental law). Among other things, the social services have been given a considerable scope for legal action in the preliminary phase of an eviction.

The fundamental problem that the political powers has tried to handle through eviction rules in the rental law is sprung from a value-conflict between the right to own property and individual human’s right to/ need of housing. One ambition in this study is to illuminate the legal solution of this conflict with a certain focus on the role of the social services.

Another ambition is to study how the social services act and argue within legal possibilities and boundaries when it comes to evictions in the county of Stockholm. Point of departure will be already carried out evictions between December 2006 and February 2007 and the chain of decisions that has preceded the eviction. Interviews, documental studies, file studies and questionnaires will be used.

Sociology of law constitutes the theoretical frame and the study is methodologically inspired by Håkan Hydéns ideas about an inverted legal method ( Hydén 1999) and Alvesson & Deetz thinking about a critical method in social sciences ( Alvesson & Deetz 2000).

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:54