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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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For members

PROPERTY

The hidden extra costs when buying property in Norway

Buying a home in Norway comes with a few more costs than the list price. Here are some additional outlays you should consider before purchasing a Norwegian house or apartment. 

The hidden extra costs when buying property in Norway

Purchasing a house or apartment is usually the highest value purchase one can make in life. However, with such large figures involved when buying a house, it is easy to overlook some of the more hidden but still pricey costs that you’ll have to cover to make a house your home. 

Below, we’ve listed the most important you need to know about. Some of the costs you’ll need to pay every month when you purchase a home, others can put a serious dent in your budget- or jeopardise the purchase if you overlook them. 

Fellesgjeld

Many homes in Norway, especially apartments in Oslo, belong to a housing association or borettslag. A housing association in Norway is a legal entity similar to a company or business, where buyers purchase a share and get the exclusive right to live in a property within a block. 

That’s because you buy into the housing association rather than the property itself. But, much like a company, housing associations also have overheads and debts. 

Fellesgjeld is the shared or collective debt of the association. The joint debt includes original building costs and renovation works, such as a new roof that have taken place. The instalments and interests are paid monthly. So when buying into a housing association, you will need to consider the joint debt payments as part of the price. 

READ MORE: The key things you need to know about Norwegian housing associations

Felleskostnader

Felleskostnader is the shared monthly repayments on the collective debt that residents of housing associations pay. However, there are a number of other costs included in these monthly repayments, such as municipal fees, porter services, cleaning communal areas and building insurance. 

One more thing to note is that you will need to pay municipal fees wherever you decide to call home. 

Renovation costs 

Fixer-uppers may seem like the best way to grab a bargain, but beware, renovating certain rooms in Norwegian homes can cost an absolute fortune. 

Bathrooms and kitchens in Norway need to have the work signed off by the municipality and be completed by a qualified tradesman- this means you’ll likely need to get the professionals in. Bathrooms, as an example, cost an eye-watering amount to have renovated: between 200,000-300,000 kroner, due to the requirement for them to be done to wet-room standard. 

Dokumentavgift

This is a not-so-hidden cost as plenty of countries have stamp duty. When you buy a freehold property (one that isn’t part of a housing association), you will need to pay 2.5 percent of the purchase price to the state. However, homes in housing associations are exempt from this.  

Banks rarely offer additional financing for stamp duty, so it’s worth taking this cost into account when purchasing the home. For example, a house with a sale price of four million kroner will cost 100,000 kroner in stamp duty- so always save a little bit of budget left over to cover this cost. 

Tinglysingsgebyr

You will also need to pay a land registration fee when purchasing a property. When submitting this online, it will cost 540 kroner. If you prefer not to do things digitally, then you can expect to pay 585 kroner to file the paper form. 

The fee for buying into a housing association is slightly cheaper. Following the land registration, you will need to pay the stamp duty. 

Getting drawn into a bidding war

Plenty of homes in Norway have an asking price where bids will begin rather than a set cost. 

When buying a home, the true cost will likely be significantly above the asking price. 

Getting drawn into a bidding war can increase the price of a house significantly. 

Bids in Norway are more or less legally binding. If you bid outside your means, you could find yourself in trouble. 

To avoid getting pulled into a bidding war, you should consider purchasing a new build- which are sold for a set fee. 

READ ALSO: Six key tips to survive the bidding war when buying a house in Norway

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