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RENTING

Renting in Norway: When can the landlord increase rent, and by how much?

In Norway, strict rules determine how much landlords can raise the rent by and when. This is what the law says about rent hikes.

Cobbled streets in Stavanger.
Here's what you need to know about landlords being able to increase the rent in Norway. Pictured are the streets of Stavanger. Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

Every country’s property market has its idiosyncrasies, and Norway is no different. If you’re new to the rental market, there are several things you’ll need to know to help get you up to speed.

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Rental properties in Norway are covered by the Tenancy Act, which you can read here in English. The act dictates the size of deposits that landlords can ask for and the rules for raising rent in Norway, among other things.

Knowing how much the landlord can raise rental prices is an essential piece of info you’ll need to familiarise yourself with. The law doesn’t just dictate how much landlords can hike their rent up by, but also when.

This knowledge can help you in two ways, firstly by helping you plan financially if your landlord tells you that your rent will be going up and secondly, by alerting you to rogue landlords if they try and increase rent outside of what is set out in law.

It’s also worth knowing that landlords can not request that rent be paid more than one month in advance. Furthermore, rent must be a fixed amount for the contract’s duration.

Once the lease has been signed, and the ink has dried on the paperwork, your landlord will only be able to raise your rent in line with the consumer price index (CPI). This can only be done once a year and not within the first twelve months of the tenancy. The landlord must also give the tenant at least one months’ notice of the rent going up.

If the CPI falls, the tenant can also request that the rent be lowered to reflect this.

If the rental agreement has been ongoing for more than two and a half years, then the landlord is also allowed to raise the rent in line with the average market price if the average price has grown beyond what you are currently paying.

The rent can only be raised to what’s known as the “prevailing rent level”. The prevailing rent level is calculated by comparing the property with places of a similar standard and size in the same location. 

The increase can only be introduced, at the earliest, six months after the tenant has been given written notification of the landlord’s intention to increase the rent. Essentially this means that rent can’t be raised beyond the CPI until after three years.

On the flipside, if average rental prices fall, the tenant can request the landlord to lower the rent.

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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. 

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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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