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RENTING

Landlord or tenant: Who pays which costs in Norway? 

What do tenants in Norway typically need to fork out for, and which bills will the landlord cover when leasing a property? Here's what you need to know. 

Pictured are apartment buildings in Bergen.
These are the costs landlords are expected to pay and the ones tenants pick up. Pictured are apartments in Bergen. Photo by Kamil Klyta on Unsplash

Norway is a nation of homeowners, with 76.4 percent of households in the country owning a home. However, just under a million people are still renting, according to the national stats agency Statistics Norway (SSB). 

The true cost of being a tenant is often considerably more than just the base rent. Other expenses such as utilities are also expected to be covered by renters. 

But when renting in Norway, who is responsible for which costs? The tenant or the landlord? 

As with most things in life, it depends, and while you will be liable for many of the costs yourself, some of them will be the landlord’s responsibility. 

READ ALSO: Eight things to know when renting an apartment in Norway

Who pays what? Which costs are tenants liable for in Norway?

To stop tenants from being hit with too many additional costs outside of the rent, the landlord must include the cost of things such as stair cleaning, porter fees, housing association costs, contents insurance, communal electricity fees (for the whole block if it is an apartment) in the overall rent price. 

The landlord can’t charge tenants for keys or to set up a deposit account either, according to rental platform husleie.no.

Outside of the rent, a landlord can charge for the tenant’s water and electricity consumption. Typically, however, the rental ad and contract outline whether electricity and water will be included. 

Electricity is rarely included, and most landlords will allow the tenant to enter an agreement with an energy provider separately from the rental agreement. 

When renting a room or living in a house share, it is more common for landlords to charge for water and electricity instead of having the tenant set up agreements themselves. 

If the landlord charges a tenant for electricity, the tenant has the right to see the meter readings. 

What about maintenance? 

Unless otherwise stated in your contract, the landlord is typically responsible for maintenance. Maintenance is considered the work to maintain the home’s standard when the tenant moved in. 

However, the tenant will have to cover some costs. These are taps, locks, power sockets, bathroom fixtures, switches and objects that aren’t fixed to the property, such as pots and pans.

Additionally, the landlord can ask the tenant to reimburse them for maintenance costs if they believe they have not used the home or furniture with sufficient care. 

Items such as cookers, washing machines, and dishwashers are the landlord’s responsibility if they belonged to them initially. Although, it’s worth pointing out that the rule about misuse or sufficient care also applies to domestic appliances.

READ MORE: How to resolve disputes with your landlord

What if the landlord renovates or makes changes to the property? 

Landlords have the right to make changes without seeking permission from the tenant, providing the work can be carried out without significant inconvenience or work that reduces the property’s value for the tenant. 

Stuff like removing walls is considered much more comprehensive than simple changes, so a tenant must approve of the most significant building work. Also, if tenants make changes to the home that improve the property, they can ask to be reimbursed at the end of the tenancy. However, the landlord must only pay to the extent they benefit from the changes financially. This means that generally, you won’t get the full cost back. 

The property owner can’t charge tenants extra for changes carried out to the home or hike the rent up. Rent can only be increased in line with the Rent Act, meaning only once a year and within inflation for those who have rented the property for a while or to bring it in line with current rental market prices for those who have lived there a while. If the contract expires and you sign a new one, the landlord can put the rent up then also. 

READ MORE: When can the landlord increase rent and by how much?

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PROPERTY

Rent prices in Norway in steep rise during second quarter

Rental prices in Norway's four largest cities rose in the second quarter of this year, with prices up 4.2 percent overall from last year, figures from Real Estate Norway show. 

Rent prices in Norway in steep rise during second quarter

A sharp rise in the cost of renting in Norway was recorded in the second quarter of 2022, the latest figures from Real Estate Norway (Eiendom Norge) show. 

“Eiendom Norge’s rental housing price statistics show that there was a historically strong rise in rental housing prices in Norway in the second quarter of 2022. Stavanger and Sandnes had the strongest growth with an increase of 5.2 per cent, followed by Oslo with 3.2 per cent and Trondheim with 2.5 per cent,” Managing Director of Eiendom Norge, Henning Lauridsen, said. 

However, the cost of renting in Bergen dropped 3.1 percent in the second quarter. Despite this, rental prices had increased sharply in Bergen and the west of Norway in general overall in the past year. 

During the last 12 months, Stavanger/Sandnes and Bergen had the largest rental price increases with rises of 10.3 and 6.6 percent. Trondheim had the third largest growth with 4.6 percent, followed by Oslo with 3.6 percent. 

“We link the strong growth in rental prices in west and south-west Norway to strong growth in the Norwegian economy as a result of increased activity in the oil industry in this region. In the student city of Bergen, prices are probably also driven up because the pandemic is over and the infection control measures have been lifted,” Lauridsen explained. 

Another thing reported by Real Estate Norway was a low supply of rental homes in Norway. 

“We have never previously registered such a low supply of homes for rent on Finn.no. While the supply is relatively stable in Bergen and Trondheim, the supply has decreased a lot in Stavanger/Sandnes and Oslo. In Oslo, the supply is at a disturbingly low level, which has matched up with reports in Media,” the managing director said. 

At the end of June this year, there were 45 percent fewer rental properties on the market compared to the year before, financial newspaper Finansavisen reported last week. 

“It is a demanding time for those entering the rental market right now. There are simply too few homes on the market,” Jørgen Hellestveit, marketplace director at Finn Eiendom, told Finansavisen.

Despite the more limited selection, rental homes are also being snapped up much quicker than last year. Last year, a home was listed on the market for 13, 13 and 12 days in May, June and July before a lease was signed. In the same months this year, properties lasted 10, eight and 11 days on the market before a tenant was found, according to Finn.no. 

READ MORE: Low number of rental properties available in Norway despite huge demand

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