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Renting in Norway: How much can the landlord ask for as a deposit?

Even though you’ll get it back at the end of your tenancy, a sizeable deposit can seriously strain your cash flow. Before you dip your toes into the market, it’s worth knowing what Norwegian landlords typically ask for and what the law says.

Aker Brygge, west Oslo.
Deposits in Norway are typically on the high side, therefore its handy to know how much you are expected to fork out and what the law says. Pictured is Aker Brygge, west Oslo. Photo by Darya Tryfanava on Unsplash

Unless you’re buying, the deposit for a rental property is probably the most significant outlay you’ll make when securing a place to live in Norway.

The deposit is the fee paid by the tenant to the landlord as a security against any damages. This means the landlord can keep it if you fail to pay your rent or if you cause any damage to the apartment.

Deposits in Norway can be on the high side, especially if you come from a country where the standard practice is between four and six weeks worth of rent. This is because landlords will generally ask for the equivalent of three months in rent as the deposit.  

If you were to use some of the more sought after parts of Oslo as an example, where the monthly rent in 2021 was on average 12,700 kroner per month, then that means you may need to put down as much as 38,100 kroner as a deposit.

READ ALSO: How much does it cost to rent in Norway’s major cities? 

 In some cases, you will be able to find places that don’t require as high a deposit on popular sites for searching for property, such as Finn.no and Hybel.no. Information on the deposit is typically included in the listing.

If you have an existing personal network in Norway, it may be worth putting the feelers out to see if you know anybody with a property to rent, as they may be more likely to compromise on the size of the deposit than a landlord who you have no existing relationship or mutual connections with.

Speaking from experience, using my own personal network meant I could pay a deposit of one month rather than three when I recently moved apartment in Oslo. This, as you can imagine, saved me a sizeable amount of cash.

However, not everyone will be willing to do this, regardless of whether there is an existing personal connection or not. This is especially true given the breakneck speed of Norway’s rental market, meaning landlords will find someone willing to pay the deposit in a relatively short amount of time if you can’t.

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

If a landlord is willing to budge on the deposit, they may request references from previous leases and proof of funds, such as an employment contract as some form of guarantee.

As a side note, it is always recommended to use a third-party deposit holding account rather than paying it directly to the landlord to protect yourself from the landlord unfairly withholding the deposit when you move out.

By law, landlords can only request that tenants put down a deposit equivalent to six months worth of rent and ask for no more than a month’s rent in advance. Additionally, rent can only be increased in step with the consumer price index and not within the first 12 months of the agreement. Your rights as a tenant are protected by the Tenancy Act, which is available in English on the government’s website

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Key mistakes to avoid when bidding on a house in Norway 

Norway's house bidding process is equally stressful and confusing, but before putting in an offer, you should make sure you aren't making any of these costly mistakes. 

Key mistakes to avoid when bidding on a house in Norway 

Buying a house is normally stressful enough, whether it’s getting a mortgage in place, going to dozens of viewings or spending hours going through listings. 

In Norway, the process is further complicated by the house bidding process, which you will have to go through when buying most properties today.

Additionally, you could make several mistakes that could make the process harder or cost you dearly. 

READ ALSO: 

Not having financing in place

Before you can bid on a property, you need to visit the bank to ensure financing for your purchase. If you are taking out a mortgage on the house, you will need to make sure you know the set limit the bank will allow to borrow. 

When you make a bid, the estate agent will contact the bank to ensure that you have the financial arrangements. If you do not have enough money or the mortgage your bank agreed on doesn’t cover the cost, your bid will be rebuffed. 

Therefore it is crucial to know your financial limits when entering bidding rounds to avoid any disappointments. 

Making a bid on a house you aren’t sure about

You should be absolutely sure that you could see yourself living in a property when you bid on it. This is because bids in Norway are legally binding, meaning that even if you put in a speculative bid and it’s accepted, you won’t be able to back out.

This means that you should avoid putting in any offers on homes you aren’t 100 percent sure about.

So while you may be in a rush to get on the property ladder or take a step up, patience will prevail over diving in headfirst. 

Forgetting to do proper research

The devil is always in the detail, and as dull as it may be, you should always read the small print to avoid any nasty shocks. 

This is especially important when buying apartments in Oslo and other cities where you will likely encounter housing associations where residents will be expected to pay various fees or contribute to the upkeep of the block. 

“For instance, if they are planning to replace the roof of the block the next year, you will read about it in the sales documents. It is important to consider whether you can afford a property also after potential add-ons,” Trine Dahl-Pettersen, real estate agent at Eindom 1, explained to The Local

Reading the small print isn’t the only place where research pays off. For example, one reader who has bought a house in Norway pointed out that finding a place that needs a little bit of work can help you avoid intense bidding wars, and locals tend to want a ready-made home to move into. 

“Finding a property that won’t go sky high over the asking price when bidding can be challenging. However, I quickly noticed that Norwegians are not afraid to bid high for a ready-to-go home,” Scott told The Local of his experiences buying in Bergen. 

“If you are comfortable doing some work on it, you can find a much better deal, maybe even under the asking price,” he added.

Therefore, market research can help prevent you from paying over the odds. 

Making more than one bid at a time

Unfortunately, putting plenty of bids out and seeing which offers stick could be a lot more disastrous than you may think. 

As mentioned earlier, bids in Norway are legally binding. Meaning that if you have two bids accepted at the same time, you will be legally obligated to purchase both of them.

Not having BankID

Despite the bidding process being done over the phone, there are still some hoops to jump through. 

You’ll need to have a Norwegian Bank ID available for the bidding process, as it is needed to confirm your identity when sending your bids. 

Without this, you won’t be able to lodge any offers. 

In addition to bank ID, you will need a Norwegian identification number (D-number/Personnummer) to hand. 

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