What are the downsides of renting in Norway according to tenants? 

Most people will dip their toes into the rental market at some point, especially when moving to a new country. Recent figures from Statistics Norway have revealed how tenants' happiness compares to homeowners. 

A house in Norway.
Renters in Norway have a lower quality of life and are more likely to have financial problems than home owners. Pictured is a home in Norway. Photo by Adrianna Kaczmarek on Unsplash

Despite Norway being a country of homeowners, with around 70 percent of people in their 30s having a foot on the property ladder, most residents will rent at some point in their lives. 

Recent figures from Statistics Norway have found that tenants in Norway have a lower perceived quality of life than homeowners, among other things. 

“The quality of life survey shows that tenants in Norway are less satisfied with life than homeowners. The difference is particularly prominent for middle-aged people,” the report stated

However, there was little to no difference in the quality of life of homeowners and tenants in their 20s. 

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

Tenants were also found to be less satisfied with their homes than owners in all age groups that Statistics Norway analysed. 41 percent of tenants in their late 20s were dissatisfied with their home compared to 17 percent of owners in the same age group. 

The proportion of tenants dissatisfied with their housing increased as they got older, before declining again between 67 and 79, while the proportion of owners unhappy with their homes fell with age. 

Renters were also more likely to experience a marital breakdown or suffer severe financial difficulties. Almost four out of ten who rent said they had experienced serious financial problems over the last five years, and just under a third said they had been through a divorce in the last half a decade. 

Another drawback of renting compared to owning was being less likely to feel a sense of belonging in their local area. Less than four out of ten tenants said they felt a connection to where they lived. However, this was attributed to renters relocating more often. 

Like their homes, renters were also less satisfied with their local area. Around 20 percent of those in the rental market weren’t happy with their surroundings. The proportion of renters unhappy with the area they live in was more than double the proportion of homeowners dissatisfied with where they live. 

A larger proportion of those with landlords also said that they lacked access to safe hiking or recreational areas. However, Statistics Norway stated that this wasn’t due to a large proportion of the country’s tenants being located in cities. 

Families with children were also likely to encounter problems renting, according to the report. This is due to the predominance of small homes on the rental market not being suitable for families with children and because renters were more likely to relocate more often, which is an obstacle in providing stability to the family. 

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Half of Oslo’s old apartment blocks don’t meet fire safety regulations

As many as 1,800 old apartment buildings in Norway's capital pose a fire risk and fail to meet modern safety regulations, Oslo Fire and Rescue Service recently warned. 

Half of Oslo's old apartment blocks don't meet fire safety regulations

In total, there are around 3,500 apartment blocks categorised as 1890 buildings. These are buildings built between 1860 and 1930. Half of these buildings could pose a significant fire risk and don’t meet modern regulations, broadcaster TV2 recently reported

“The probability of deficiencies is very high. In 99 percent of the inspections we have already carried out, there have been deviations (from the regulations),” Patrik Czajkowski, team leader for the apartment building team in Oslo Fire and Rescue Service, told TV2. 

Compared to modern building standards, these older blocks typically allow fires to spread quicker and lack steel fireproof doors, automatic fire alarms, or extinguishing systems. 

“The buildings that have not been upgraded are less equipped for a fire. All the measures that should be in place and could reduce the risk of fire are not present” Czajkowski explained. 

Around 1,700 of the city’s 1890 buildings have been upgraded to meet modern fire safety regulations, according to Oslo Municipality

Tenants and homeowners in Oslo can check with the chairperson of their apartment board about the building’s fire measures. An apartment building’s chairperson is responsible for ensuring the building’s fire safety is up to scratch.

The National Association Of Homeowners said a lot of work had been done to improve fire safety in general over the past few years. The association added that making older buildings more resilient in the event of a fire was a more cost-effective process than people may have realised. 

“People think it is expensive, but when they complete the project and see that they actually have the opportunity to survive a fire, I think most people think it is well-spent money,” Anders Leisner, head of the legal department at the association, told TV2. 

However, Leisner said that it can be challenging to motivate associations to spend money on fire safety if they haven’t been ordered to do so. 

“They are subject to several costly requirements, such as replacing front doors and plastering the basement and attic. It can reach millions of kroner, especially in apartment buildings with a small size,” the lawyer said.