Why do Norwegians fall out with their neighbours? 

New figures have revealed that Norwegians are getting into more and more disputes with neighbours. Why is this and why do Norwegians fall out with their neighbours? 

Why do Norwegians fall out with their neighbours? 
A neighborhood in Bergen, West Norway .Photo by Lucija Ros on Unsplash

New figures from the National Mediation Service, or conflict council, which is responsible for dealing with issues between neighbours in Norway, suggest that more and more neighbours are coming into conflict with one another. 

In 2020, the mediation service dealt with 200 more local disagreements than the year before. In total, mediation services dealt with 887 issues between neighbours last year. 

“There are no limits to what we Norwegians argue with our neighbour about,” Mona Hammerfjeld, head of the National Mediation Service in Nordland, said to state broadcaster NRK

Hammerfjed told the broadcaster that some cases end as criminal cases due to falling out’s between neighbours ending in physical confrontation. 

She also added that she believed that the reason Norwegians fell out with their neighbours so often was that they are pretty easily offended. 

We’ll take a look at some of the most common issues that annoy neighbours in Norway so you can avoid becoming the nightmare next door and why Norwegians particularly don’t always get along with their neighbours.

In the meantime, you can look at our handy guide that’ll help keep you in your neighbour’s good books. 

READ MORE: How to get along with your neighbours in Norway

Why do neighbours fall out in Norway? 

So why do neighbours argue with one another? 

“Typical cases are trees hanging over into the neighbouring plot of land, leaves falling into the neighbours garden or tree’s that shroud the neighbours garden in shade,” Hammerfjeld told NRK

Other familiar sources of conflict are party noise, trampoline noise, smoking on the balcony, smoke from barbecues, parking and rubbish bins. 

All pretty typical, you may say, but some issues are distinctly Norwegian. 

For example, Hammerfjeld told NRK that the conflict council had been involved in cases where a neighbour has reported the other neighbour for drying fish up against their property. 

Other more Scandinavian issues include noise from tractors, dogs attacking livestock and animals feeding on grass on the other side of the fence. 

Are Norwegians bad neighbours?  

Hammerfjeld said she believes that Norwegians make bad neighbours because they think they have the right to do as they please on their property. 

“We have a very strong perception of ‘mine’ and ownership. People believe they can do as they please on their property without consideration for their neighbours,” Hammerfjed said. 

Hammerfjeld is not alone in thinking that Norwegians make for particularly quarrelsome neighbours; her view is supported by Hans Nordahl, professor of behavioural medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. 

“It’s about culture. In Norway, we live in cities and villages where we have large amounts of space; we often own houses and property too,” Nordahl told NRK. 

“It sets us apart a bit from other European countries. If we look in Europe, most people live in closer proximity and have a higher tolerance for short-sightedness,” Nordahl added. 

A lack of communication is another reason why neighbours fail to see eye to eye in Norway, which is why mediation is often used to resolve issues between neighbours, according to Hammerfjeld. 

“Our goal isn’t for neighbours to be best friends, but to at least be able to greet each other over the hedge,” she said. 

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Landlord or tenant: Who pays which costs in Norway? 

What do tenants in Norway typically need to fork out for, and which bills will the landlord cover when leasing a property? Here's what you need to know. 

Landlord or tenant: Who pays which costs in Norway? 

Norway is a nation of homeowners, with 76.4 percent of households in the country owning a home. However, just under a million people are still renting, according to the national stats agency Statistics Norway (SSB). 

The true cost of being a tenant is often considerably more than just the base rent. Other expenses such as utilities are also expected to be covered by renters. 

But when renting in Norway, who is responsible for which costs? The tenant or the landlord? 

As with most things in life, it depends, and while you will be liable for many of the costs yourself, some of them will be the landlord’s responsibility. 

READ ALSO: Eight things to know when renting an apartment in Norway

Who pays what? Which costs are tenants liable for in Norway?

To stop tenants from being hit with too many additional costs outside of the rent, the landlord must include the cost of things such as stair cleaning, porter fees, housing association costs, contents insurance, communal electricity fees (for the whole block if it is an apartment) in the overall rent price. 

The landlord can’t charge tenants for keys or to set up a deposit account either, according to rental platform

Outside of the rent, a landlord can charge for the tenant’s water and electricity consumption. Typically, however, the rental ad and contract outline whether electricity and water will be included. 

Electricity is rarely included, and most landlords will allow the tenant to enter an agreement with an energy provider separately from the rental agreement. 

When renting a room or living in a house share, it is more common for landlords to charge for water and electricity instead of having the tenant set up agreements themselves. 

If the landlord charges a tenant for electricity, the tenant has the right to see the meter readings. 

What about maintenance? 

Unless otherwise stated in your contract, the landlord is typically responsible for maintenance. Maintenance is considered the work to maintain the home’s standard when the tenant moved in. 

However, the tenant will have to cover some costs. These are taps, locks, power sockets, bathroom fixtures, switches and objects that aren’t fixed to the property, such as pots and pans.

Additionally, the landlord can ask the tenant to reimburse them for maintenance costs if they believe they have not used the home or furniture with sufficient care. 

Items such as cookers, washing machines, and dishwashers are the landlord’s responsibility if they belonged to them initially. Although, it’s worth pointing out that the rule about misuse or sufficient care also applies to domestic appliances.

READ MORE: How to resolve disputes with your landlord

What if the landlord renovates or makes changes to the property? 

Landlords have the right to make changes without seeking permission from the tenant, providing the work can be carried out without significant inconvenience or work that reduces the property’s value for the tenant. 

Stuff like removing walls is considered much more comprehensive than simple changes, so a tenant must approve of the most significant building work. Also, if tenants make changes to the home that improve the property, they can ask to be reimbursed at the end of the tenancy. However, the landlord must only pay to the extent they benefit from the changes financially. This means that generally, you won’t get the full cost back. 

The property owner can’t charge tenants extra for changes carried out to the home or hike the rent up. Rent can only be increased in line with the Rent Act, meaning only once a year and within inflation for those who have rented the property for a while or to bring it in line with current rental market prices for those who have lived there a while. If the contract expires and you sign a new one, the landlord can put the rent up then also. 

READ MORE: When can the landlord increase rent and by how much?