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Five vital questions to ask yourself before renting in Norway

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected] • 5 Nov, 2022 Updated Sat 5 Nov 2022 09:22 CEST
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With the current prices of rental housing in Norway, it's important to be well-informed about the rules that apply to tenancy and the situation in the market. Photo by Hans Ott / Unsplash

Renting can sometimes be a complicated process, especially in another country. Here are five essential questions and their answers about renting an apartment in Norway.

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Regardless of whether you're seriously committed to finding a flat to rent as soon as possible or just dipping your toes in the rental market, you must be well-informed about the rules that apply in Norway and the current market conditions. 

In order to help you find the information you will most likely need during the process, The Local has compiled a FAQ on renting in Norway to ensure you don't get the short end of the stick.

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Is the market good for renting a flat in Norway?

As things now stand, people looking to rent out properties in Norway are in for a rough time if they are looking for accommodation in the biggest cities. International workers and students have returned to the cities following the pandemic, driving up demand.

The situation can be described as dire in several big cities, such as Oslo and Stavanger, with properties being rented out much faster than in 2021.

Furthermore, experts warn that the number of second homes in Norway – homes that are usually rented out – has decreased during the pandemic. 

On top of that, limited construction of small apartments in the areas with the highest demand, such as Oslo, the tax framework, and the decrease in the number of investors in construction projects further exacerbate the situation.

So, to put it shortly – this is not a good time to rent a flat in Norway if you're aiming for Oslo or Stavanger. But, on the other hand, the situation is better in other parts of the country, such as Trondheim or Bergen.

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READ ALSO: What is Oslo's rental market like at the moment?

Am I familiar with the key legal and formal rules for renting a flat in Norway?

First things first, make sure to have a contract in place. Feel free to use the Norwegian Consumer Council (Forbrukerrådet) tenancy contract draft, which is written in a way that ensures that your tenancy is regulated according to the rules in Norway's Tenancy Act.

You can find a PDF version of the contract here.

Remember that your contact should include all of the following elements: the exact rent amount, deposit information, information on additional payments for utilities, rooms covered by the tenancy, and notice period information.

You can always contact the Consumer Council if you have any questions or need advice during the process.

Can the rent change?

After the amount of the rent has been set in the contract, landlords in Norway cannot increase the rent at their discretion. However, in Norway, there are two legal ways to increase the rent:

  • Once per year, in accordance with the consumer price index, and only if the landlord sends you at least one month's written notice
  • If the tenancy has lasted for at least two and a half years, in accordance with local comparative rent prices (this type of rent change can take place at the earliest six months after the landlord has sent written notice, meaning that the tenant must have lived in the property for at least three years before the rent is adjusted to local comparative rent prices)
  • Note: Tenants can ask to have their rent reduced in line with the changes in the consumer price index or if the local comparative rent prices are lower than the rent paid by the tenant.

Semi-related to rent are the large deposits landlords in Norway can ask for. Typically, they can ask for three months' rent, putting a severe dent in anybody's cash flow. 

READ MORE: How much can the landlord ask for as a deposit?

What if I want to file a complaint? 

You have two standard options at your disposal if you wish to file a complaint. Firstly, you should contact your landlord and send him a complaint letter.

Once again, the Consumer Council has a draft you can use – you can find it here.

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If you cannot agree with your landlord, you can escalate the complaint to the Rent Disputes Committee, a government body tasked with resolving such disputes.

You can learn more about resolving disputes with your landlord in our deep dive into the issue here.

READ ALSO: How to resolve disputes with your landlord

What do I need to know about contract termination?

In Norway, the rights of the landlord to end the tenancy are regulated by the Tenancy Act, which is also available in English.

The rules that apply to termination differ based on whether you have a fixed or indefinite lease.

If you have a fixed-term tenancy contract, the contract should state that the lease cannot be terminated, and the date on which the tenancy is to end must be clearly outlined.

However, the parties can agree to the option that allows for the termination of the lease before the end of the rental period. Usually, when it comes to fixed-term contracts, the tenancy ends without notice at the end of the agreed period.

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When the lease expires, the tenant has an obligation to move out. If they do not move out, the landlord must send a written request to the tenants to move before three months have passed.

If the landlord does not give such a notice, the tenancy becomes indefinite, and the tenant acquires the right to stay until the tenancy is terminated under the law's rules for indefinite tenancy agreements.

If you have an open-ended contract, no time limit will be set for when the rental period expires. You will be free to agree on the notice period with your landlord. A three-month notice period will apply if no specific notice period is set.

The landlord can terminate open-ended leases only under specific circumstances:

  1. If the room must be used as a residence by the landlord or someone belonging to their household
  2. If the property must be demolished or rebuilt
  3. If the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement
  4. If there is another valid factual reason

As the Consumer Council points out, it's important to remember that the Tenancy Act requires the landlord to terminate the contract in writing based on justifiable reasons.

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Robin-Ivan Capar 2022/11/05 09:22

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