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RENTING

Five essential words you need when renting a home in Norway 

Renting a home in Norway can be a dizzying process due to the breakneck speed of the property market, especially in the big cities. We can't find a place for you, but we can offer some essential vocab. 

These are some of the key words to make renting a home in Norway easier. Pictured is several apartment blocks in Trondheim.
These are some of the key words to make renting a home in Norway easier. Pictured is several apartment blocks in Trondheim. Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

Nailing down a few key words in a second language can make a number of everyday activities and important matters that much easier and stress free, as well as helping you put your existing skills and proficiency to good use. 

You’ll also need to have at least some Norwegian language proficiency when looking for a place to live in Norway because even though some landlords will communicate in English, and some will even do the contracts and paperwork in the same language, popular property search sites such as Finn.no and Hybel.no will only be available in Norwegian. 

This means having a few keywords and phrases handy could help you figure out some of the essential aspects of house hunting at a glance. 

We’ve put together an outline of some of these words, their meanings and the context in which you might use them. If there’s anything important you think we’ve missed, let us know. 

Husleie 

The husleie is the rent you will be paying on the property, and related words include utleier (landlord), leietaker (tenant) and leiekontrakt (rental contract). 

The word stems from the verb å leie (to rent)

Møblert/Umøblert 

This is a two for the price of one and crucial depending on what you already own and what tools you might be using to search for a property. Møblert means furnished and umøblert means unfurnished. Some places will also come delvis møblert, or partly furnished. 

When searching on sites like Finn.no and Hybel.no (not to be confused with hybel, the Norwegian word for studio or bedsit), for a property, this is a crucial box to tick or untick when searching for a place to call home. 

This is because many apartments that come unfurnished will typically be advertised with pictures of the place fully kitted out. Therefore, it’s always worth double-checking with a quick glance at the ad or site you are scrolling through. 

Other phrases to look out for include strøm og varm, (electricity and heating) vann og avløpsavgifter (water and sewage fees). This will tell you what utilities are and aren’t included in the final price. 

Depending on your needs, boligtype, (property type) is something worth looking into when house-hunting. For example, if you need a lot of space, a leilighet (apartment) might not be as suitable as an enebolig (detached house). And if you like your privacy, a rekkehus (terraced house) won’t be for you. 

Depositum 

Depositum, meaning deposit, is an easy word to decipher and in important one to be aware of. In Norway, deposits typically range from six weeks up to three months of rent. So keeping tabs on this could be essential, depending on how far your finances can stretch. It’s also worth pointing out that in addition to the hefty deposit, you will also be expected to stump up a month’s rent upfront. 

This could mean you may need up to four months worth of rent to hand, depending on the size of the deposit. 

READ ALSO: Is it better to buy or rent property in Norway?

Oppsigelsestid

Oppsigelsestid means notice period. The way rental contracts are structured in Norway makes this an important word to keep an eye out for when going over contracts and terms and conditions. 

This is because many rental contracts in Norway will be multi-year leases, usually 2-3 years, although in reality, you aren’t expected to stay the full duration of the contract. 

Contracts with these multi-year agreements will have notice periods before the first, second and third years where tenants can end the contract without incurring any financial responsibility for the remainder of the let. The notice period is typically three months. 

Make sure to note these notice periods down when you sign the contract so you can plan ahead accordingly. 

Your landlord can also terminate the contract, but will need to have a solid reason to do so. You can read more of the legal ins and outs in English via the Norwegian government website here

Forfallsdato 

Forfallsdato is the due date, so be sure to put this in your calendar. This is the day the rent is to be paid to the landlord or the person managing the tenancy on behalf of the landlord. This will typically be the first day of each month. If you rent through a service such as Hybel.no, the money will go out as a direct debit or avtalegiroIf not, you may have to pay the bill manually.

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RENTING

‘No quick fixes’: Gloomy forecast for Norway’s rental market

High demand and a shortage of properties has led to a tight rental market in Norway's big cities. The Local spoke to real estate experts to find out what needs to happen for the situation to change.

'No quick fixes': Gloomy forecast for Norway's rental market

After two years of the coronavirus pandemic, day-to-day life in Norway is – more or less – back to normal. 

While many young people and students in Norway are enjoying their reclaimed freedom of movement and lifestyle, the aftereffects of the pandemic continue to impact their lives, most notably when it comes to finding rental accommodation.

Financial newspaper Finansavisen recently reported that, at the end of June this year, there were 45 percent fewer rental properties on the market compared to 2021. 

The rental market is particularly tight in big cities like Oslo and Stavanger, and properties are being rented out much faster than last year

Are there any signs that the situation will improve in the coming months?

A demand crisis in Oslo and Stavanger

As things now stand, those looking to rent in Norway are in for a rough time.

“The demand for rental properties was lower than usual during the pandemic. At the same time, house prices in Norway rose. We believe that quite a few people used the opportunity to sell their rental homes at the time. 

“After the pandemic, all the students and people working in Norway (for example, workers from Sweden and Poland, as some of them went home during the pandemic) have largely returned to the cities. 

“So, demand is very high, we have a demand crisis in some areas – especially Oslo and Stavanger. However, many places in Norway don’t have such a problem; it’s mainly the case in big cities,” real-estate industry veteran and director at Real Estate Norway Henning Lauridsen told The Local.

Fewer second homes

Carl O. Geving, Managing Director at Norway’s Real Estate Association (NEF), agrees with Lauridsen. He also points out that, during the pandemic, there has been a decrease in the number of second homes in Norway – homes that are usually rented out.

“We see increasing demand in the rental market, that is correct. The market is very tight, especially in Oslo, because of the lack of possibilities to rent apartments. 

“The number of second homes for rent in Oslo has decreased from 59,000 to 54,000 since 2019. So, in Oslo, it is quite difficult to find an apartment for rent – the fact that the construction of small apartments in the capital is limited, the tax framework, and the decrease in the number of investors in construction projects also make the situation worse,” Geving said in a phone call with The Local.

No quick fixes

In the short term, industry experts see only dark clouds on the horizon for people looking to rent in Norway’s major cities.

“It will take some time for the situation to change. The lack of housing in Oslo results from insufficient development over 15-20 years. However, in Stavanger, the situation may improve in six months or a year. Overall, it’s pretty difficult at the moment; there is no easy solution,” Lauridsen stated.

Geving agrees: “There are no quick fixes. With the current tax system, it’s difficult for things to change fast. If we get a price correction in the buyers’ market, we will likely have even fewer second homes. Norwegian authorities are trying to help to get more people to rent, but that also takes time.”

Thus, the rental market squeeze in large cities seems to be here to stay. 

Is there anything people looking for rental housing can do to adapt? The Director of Real Estate Norway believes people can try to look further away from where they initially wanted to rent. 

“That could be a possibility. But it will be difficult,” Lauridsen noted.

On the other hand, Geving thinks that buying properties together with friends – a practice common in parts of Norway – could be part of the solution.

“We can see that, in tough times, more people try to buy properties together with friends, it becomes more common. 

“Still, it’s challenging. Students and young people have limited capital, typically. In previous years when we had this debate, students and young people managed to get by, but the market is more crowded this year. Thus, some people will likely choose to live outside Oslo in the surrounding municipalities and travel to the capital via train or bus.

“The problem is less serious in Bergen and Trondheim, but in Oslo, it’s quite tough,” Geving pointed out, adding that building more student homes in the capital could also be part of the solution.

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