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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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. 


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.