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RENTING

Renting in Norway: How to resolve disputes with your landlord

Your home should be a relaxing place to be, but it may not always be smooth sailing between you and your landlord. Here's what you can do if any issues arise.

Apartments in Norway.
If you ever find yourself in a dispute with your landlord these are your options. Pictured are apartments in Norway. Photo by Darya Tryfanava on Unsplash

Fortunately, most rentals in Norway are straightforward and without stress. However, not everything goes to plan, meaning that you could potentially find yourself at odds with your landlord. 

Therefore, it’s worth knowing your rights and what you can do when things go awry.

Sometimes the best way to resolve any potential problems is to do your best to prevent the possibility of any issues occurring in the first place.

There are several things you can do to reduce any potential issues happening. Firstly, reading up on the law a little bit will give you a clear idea of what is and isn’t allowed. The Tenancy Act covers rental law in Norway is available to read in English.

If you don’t have the time to brush up on Norwegian law, then you can read about the basic duties and obligations that tenants and landlords are typically bound to here.

Furthermore, using a good contract can help avoid any potential issues. You should always use a contract when renting in Norway. You can find the template of a standard contract here. However, you may wish to have a contract in place that is much more specific to your situation and the property you are renting.

And finally, using a third-party deposit holding account can protect you from a landlord unfairly withholding the deposit if there is a dispute.

There are also steps you can take to prepare yourself for if things go wrong too.

These include taking pictures of the property before and after you move in, making an inventory list and keeping a record of all correspondence with your landlord. Keeping receipts and invoices for any purchases or services, such as end of tenancy clean, is also a good idea. 

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

Unfortunately, unforeseen problems can still arise, even if you do things by the book and to the letter. 

If there are any issues with the property you are renting, you should notify your landlord of them as early as possible to try and find a quick resolution. Most landlords will do their best to rectify these issues as they don’t want to have unhappy tenants or let their property fall into disrepair.

If the problem escalates and doesn’t look like it can be resolved amicably, then you can refer any potential issues to the Rent Disputes Committee.

The Rent Disputes Committee is a government agency that can resolve conflicts through both mediations and enforceable rulings. The committee deals with all manners of issues from evictions, late payment of rent, withholding of deposits and more.

The committee’s resolution team are lawyers that specialise in rental law. Both tenants and landlords can use the service. 

Cases handled by the committee normally take around 12 weeks to be processed. 

This isn’t the only avenue for resolving issues when renting a property, and as an alternative, you can also take the issue to a small claims court. Before taking a rental dispute to a small claims court, your issue must be heard by a conciliation board or forliksråd. These are found in every municipality in Norway.

The ruling made by the conciliation board can then be brought before the local small claims court. You can read about the process of proceeding in a small claims court in English here. You can choose to represent yourself or hire a lawyer for your claim. 

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PROPERTY

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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