In Sweden and Germany you have to have an officially registered address. The government uses this to send important mail to you and keeps it in a registry.

I am pretty confident you can register at an address just because someone has decided you can live with them, like your friend or family member. You do not require a rental contract in that case.

How do you define the boundary between that and a stranger offering to let you register at their address when you don’t live there?

Some Swedish information says “you should register where you sleep the most” and not doing so is illegal.

How enforceable are such laws? Is there a realm of ambiguity where a case could not be brought against one?

For example: if you registered somewhere and didn’t pay rent, if you were there five nights a month, and then spent four days each at different hostels, technically you would meet the description above. Furthermore, even if you didn’t, it would be hard to tell.

But I’m less interested in what you could get away with than what is actually legal. Would a judge say it counts as residing if you were there three weeks of the month? Two, if you said you commute and travel a lot for work? Or even a few weeks per year, if you similarly say you travel for work?

  • Where are you asking? You don't have to register for residency anywhere if you happen to be on the high seas... as for Germany: you need to provide a paper by the owner, under penalty of perjuryr, that you actually live there.
    – Trish
    Dec 10, 2022 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


In , registering a primary place of residence is important for voting rights, taxation, the issuing of identity documents, and other functions besides receiving mail. For these purposes, residents have to deal with exactly one municipality. (There are special rules for people living on a canal barge, etc.)

Residents are legally required to report their "predominantly used dwelling" (§21 BMG, my translation). Making incorrect statements would be illegal.

Like many similar laws, enforcement rests with the case coming to official attention. But since taxes are involved, and since most people either have some income or become the cause of deductions in other people's tax returns, there is some likelihood of a plausibility check. So if one really lives four days a week in the holiday cottage, and three days a week in the city, while being registered in the city, one can probably get away with it for quite some time. Likewise, one could have a small apartment where one officially lives, and spend most of the time in the apartment of a partner. Having a job in one city and a residence in another city would be more likely cause questions.

Further more, when people rent their homes, the landlord wants to know the identity of the primary tenant and all other people who ordinarily live there. The landlord cannot object to a spouse moving in, but the landlord can expect to be informed.

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