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.
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.
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.
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.