Even though the laws are generally on their side, renters
still need to understand their rights. Whether you are a long-time or a
short-term renter, these tips by the Consumer Council (Forbrukerrådet) can help
you avoid some of the potential pitfalls of renting in Norway.
Getting to know your local rental market channels is the
first step. No matter how pressed for time you might be, don’t rent the first
place you find. Take time to shop around and visit several places so you can
compare prices and facilities. Check the announcements at websites specialized
in the area, such as finn.no, and ask friends and co-workers if they know of
any available rental units. Using a professional rental service can also be an
option for accelerating the process.
After finding the right place, following a few simple steps
keeps you away from further big problems, according to Forbrukerrådet service
director Inge Flønes. Flønes first suggests reading the contract carefully,
checking the notice period and what the rent includes, and warns the renter
never to pay a deposit into the landlord's personal account, but to maintain a
deposit account in your name. Here are some vital tips to survive in the rental
market of Norway:
Type A Contract
You can download the rent contract free of charge at
forbrukerportalen.no. If you use a different contract, you may want to compare
a couple of different contracts schemes to see if there is anything you are
missing in the one you will use.
The rent will cover most expenses, but electricity is
usually exempt. One cannot expect phone, cable TV and internet in the price.
This is arranged separately. Municipal taxes should be included.
Check if the landlord gives up responsibility for maintenance.
Usually, the tenant gets the maintenance duties, such as changing batteries in
smoke detectors, gaskets, replacement of light bulbs and fuses, etc. The law
also requires other tenant responsibilities, so it is important to check what
the contract terms are. In addition to regular maintenance, it is often
included in the contract who will shovel when snow begins to fall. If the
landlord and the tenant live in the same house for example, it is common that
the landlord is responsible for shoveling the driveway, while the tenant is
responsible for shoveling up to private entrance.
Can You Cancel
Contract at Anytime?
There are two main types of leases: A time indefinite lease
(Tidsubestemt) that runs until it is terminated by either party, or a fixed-term
lease that expires at a set time. In fixed-term leases it is often not possible
to cancel during the stated period. If there is in fact no opportunity to
cancel, then it must be stated in writing.
It is common that the tenant pays a deposit as security for
owed rent and possible damage to the apartment. The deposit amount should be
deposited in a special deposit account in the tenant's name and the landlord
should pay for the deposit account. Putting money in a separate deposit account
makes settlement easier after the tenant has moved out. Deposits that are not
put in a blocked account are illegal.
While moving, it is wise to inspect the apartment;
especially taking note of the electricity meter, the number of house keys
received and if there has been any damage while moving.
In Case of
If you disagree with the landlord about anything, and you
cannot resolve the matter with each other, there are separate rent dispute
committees in Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen, which can help you. Alternatively,
you can go to conciliation court in your region.