Housing Opportunities in Norway

Housing allowance is a government-financed support scheme
for partial coverage of housing expenses for households with low income.

The purpose of the scheme is to help households with low
income and high housing expenses to obtain, and remain in, secure housing of a
good standard.

In most municipalities, housing allowance is dealt with by
the housing office, social security office or Labour and Welfare Service (NAV)
office. In Oslo, each city district has an office that provides these services.
The housing allowance office in your municipality is responsible for handling
applications and general enquiries about the scheme. If you are in any doubt
about where to apply, please contact your local municipal information office.

Who can apply for
housing allowance?

Anyone over the age of 18 is entitled to apply for housing
allowance, with the exception of students without children and people doing
their initial national service. The dwelling must be approved for year-round
habitation, and must have its own entrance and bathroom/ toilet and sleeping/
kitchen facilities.

Anyone aged over 18 can apply for housing allowance. People
under 18 with their own children can also apply.  Certain exceptions are made for students with
no children and people doing compulsory national service.

First, you have to have received a personal ID number before
you can apply for housing allowance. Also, you personally must live in the home
for which you are applying for an allowance. Another requirement is that both
you and everyone in the household must be registered with the Register Office
as being resident in the home. Moreover, Everyone living in the household must
be named in the application.

People in receipt of an old age pension, disability pension
or survivor’s pension whose heating costs are not included in their rent or
shared costs receive a fixed allowance to cover their housing expenses.

Maximum housing expenses

Approved annual housing expenses cannot exceed a defined
ceiling; for further details, contact the municipality or try our calculator,
where the correct ceilings are encoded..

How your housing allowance is calculated

Approved housing expenses

– Personal contribution

= Sum

= Sum x 70 %* = housing allowance

*80% for tenants living in municipal rented housing.

Income on which housing allowance is based

The general rule is that the household’s total income based
on the most recent available tax assessment is used as the basis for
calculating housing allowance. For most people, a new tax assessment is made
basis for the calculation in July each year.

From the tax assessment, the higher of the following is
used:

– personal income (gross annual income)

– general income plus the minimum standard deduction

For children under the age of 18, only income in excess of
NOK 30,000 per year will be included when calculating household income.

Rental income

You must declare any tax-free income that you receive from
renting out part of your own dwelling. Any such rental income will be counted
as income when calculating your housing allowance.

Wealth

Sixteen per cent of the household’s net wealth as stated in
the tax assessment is added to its income. If you live in rented accommodation,
NOK 250,000 of your assets are deducted before this is calculated. If you are a
homeowner, the tax value of your own home up to a ceiling of NOK 500,000 is
excluded from the calculation.

Increases or decreases in income

If you or someone in your household has suffered a
substantial reduction in income since the last tax assessment, you can apply
for your allowance to be calculated on the basis of your actual (monthly) income.
If you or someone in your household has experienced a substantial increase in
income since

the last tax assessment – as a result of starting work,
receiving benefits or an increase in wealth – you must inform the municipality.

Upper income limits

Upper limits have been stipulated on household income
depending on factors such as the number of household members.

This means that, irrespective of how high your housing
expenses are, you will not receive housing allowance if your income is above
the upper income limit.

If the municipality has paid you social security benefits or
provided loans/ grants to cover your housing expenses, the municipality can
demand that your housing allowance is paid to it. This is dependent on the
applicant consenting to this.

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