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Renting a House in Norway

Rental accommodation in the snow

Renting accommodation rather than buying is a smart move when you first move to Norway. Here's what you need to know.

We strongly advise all new arrivals to rent a place to live for at least their first year or two. It's best to rent somewhere small on a temporary or short-term basis, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, you can keep costs low while you adjust to your new lifestyle and figure out where you would like to live on a longer-term basis. Secondly, life in Norway may not suit you after all! In these circumstances, you won't be locked into a long lease that costs you a small fortune to break.

Finding a short-term rental in Norway can be easy or it can be a real challenge. There are many variables, not least the location. Here's our guide to the main things you need to consider.

Read more: Buying a house in Norway

Stong rental market in cities

The rental market in the main cities is buoyant, driven by students, young professionals and foreign arrivals. The market isn't so strong in smaller towns, but it should still be possible to find something that meets your needs and your budget.

White houses in Posebyen

Speaking of budget, your accommodation will take up the biggest chunk of your cost of living in Norway, so care should be taken to get the best value.

Don't automatically assume cheaper is best. Be very aware of what's included and most important of all, what's not included, especially if you don't speak Norwegian.

Paying for hot water, electricity and an internet connection on top of rent can increase your expenditure significantly.

High deposit typically required

You should also be aware of the high deposit requirements in Norway. Make sure you're sitting down before you read this.

Typically, a deposit equal to three months rent is required together with the first months rent paid in advance. So that's an amount of money equal to four months rent before you even get your key, something that many new arrivals are unprepared for.

Remember that the three months rent money is a deposit, and this doesn't count towards your ongoing rent. So while you will eventually get your money back, it doesn't help your cash flow in the short term.

Typical Scandinavian Interior Design

This isn't a hard and fast rule particularly if you find accommodation by asking around, but it is the starting point for most landlords.

Types of rental accommodation include:

Studio apartments in Norway

hybel is more commonly known in English as a studio apartment or bedsit.

Typically the cellar of a large detached family home, a hybel is usually one-room with a small kitchenette and a sofa bed, although some can have a separate bedroom. A separate small bathroom is sometimes shared with an adjoining hybel, depending on the size of the property.

They are popular among students as a value alternative to student accommodation or a shared house. Many new arrivals often choose a hybel as they are the lowest cost option for living alone. My experience of living in a hybel was not great. Only you will know if they are for you.

Room in a shared house

A shared house or kollektiv is a popular living option among students and twenty-somethings in Norwegian cities, but increasingly professionals are turning to collectives as a way of saving money and plugging into a social life.

A Trondheim suburb in the winter

You will be expected to play a full part in the household, from cleaning to social events. The admittance of a new housemate is typically decided by the group. Some are open to foreigners, others are less so.

A rom i kollektiv is not for you if you are shy, introverted, or are the type of person who draws lines on the milk carton to check if anyone is taking any!

Apartment

A leilighet (apartment or flat) is a very common way of living for young professionals and foreigners who have been in the country for a while.

They range in size and quality so much that it's almost impossible to generalise here, but expect a large living space with corner kitchen (or less commonly, a separate kitchen, at least one bedroom and at least one bod, a storage cupboard outside the main apartment.

As with a hybel, check what's included. There will be shared costs for the apartment building (lighting and cleaning of common areas etc) but these are paid for by the landlord, which drives your rent up in the first place.

Modern apartments at Sørenga in Oslo
Modern Oslo

Not the cheapest way of living, but a preferable choice for many once they have decided upon a location.

Houses

Finally, houses range from rekkehus, a terraced style townhouse that often resembles an apartment, to large multi-room detached houses (enebolig) with gardens. This is the most expensive option and only one worth considering if you are committing to Norway long-term with a family.

This is a big difference in culture from the USA to Norway. Many Norwegian families are happy to live in the smaller space of an apartment rather than a detached house.

Where to find rental accommodation

The most popular online marketplaces are Finn.no and Hybel.no, but it's worth asking around your friends and colleagues, especially if you are interested in a hybel or kollektiv.

If you're are moving to Norway as a university student, taking a student housing option if one is available is highly recommended. If none are available, ask the international office of the university for a list of local landlords and/or housing options.

It costs a lot for the landlord to advertise on these marketplaces so they often try to find a tenant in alternative ways.

Rights of tenants in Norway

Your most important rights as a tenant are stipulated in your lease agreement and are subject to the laws of the Tenancy Act.

Perhaps the most important right provided by the Tenancy Act is a protection against sudden rent hikes once you are living somewhere. Once you sign a lease, the rent can only be increased in step with the consumer price index in the first three years, and not in the first 12 months of the agreement.

Some other important rights to note include:

  • Tenants do not have to pay rent for more than one month in advance
  • The landlord cannot enter the dwelling without the tenant’s consent
  • The Tenancy Act includes a prohibition against discrimination in tenancy situations

A lease can run for a specified period of at least three years, or for an unspecified period. If n notice period is given, it is automatically three months. While as a tenant you can terminate a lease in writing without reason, a landlord can only do so with justifiable grounds.

What other questions do you have about finding somewhere to live?

Renting a House in Norway: Your guide to finding somewhere to live

Norway Weekly Email Newsletter

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

33 Comments

  1. Hi David,

    I will be moving to Oslo for my work in January and have heard that I can get a broker to arrange a security guaratee in relation to the deposit, is this true? I dont mind paying for a security guarantee if it means i dont have to cough up 3 months rent as deposit.

    Have you heard of these products?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Regards

    Simon Phillips

    1. Hi Simon, I haven’t heard of this personally but it sounds like something that could be possible. My suggestion is to contact the HR person at your new employer who will know all about this kind of thing. Good luck and welcome to Norway!

  2. I’d like to move to Norway and retire there. I’d like to find an apartment somewhere along the western coast in a small to medium sized village. How do I get started to find a location that would work for me?

  3. Hi David,

    I’m trying to find accommodation in Oslo, but as a foreigner with little to no history in Norway, I find it very hard as many if not all landlords want an employment ref, bank acc in Norway (which now takes weeks to get and you need proof of address and employment first), and previous Norwegian landlord reference.

    Any advice, please?

  4. Hi, David,

    I just received an e-mail from University of Trondheim explaining a will not have a room at Sit.
    I also find other websites featuring that written costs could be traps. Indeed, we have to take care about prices with or without hot water, wi-fi, … With some hybel suggestions, the prices look attractive (for Norwegian costs), and nothing is published to precise if water, wi-fi, electricity are included. Do you think I should try to visit it?
    Moreover, I read that I must be identified by Norwegian Police within three weeks. Can the University tell that I am in Norway?

    Thank you for this article, it is very helpful.

    Regards,
    Pierre-François

  5. Hi, my daughter grandson and I would like to visit Norway for a month and looking at June 2019. Looking for a small village. Any recommendations or where to start looking. Thanks, cheryl

  6. Hi David,

    I will deputed by my company to Norway from September 2018 and mostly i would be in Norway for a long term. what would be range for a one bedroom house ie, Min and maximum within city and suburbs and rural places.

  7. Hi, I am just wondering what it means when rent in Norway is written like this: 5000,-
    Does this mean 5,000 kroner? These apartments seem too affordable to be true. .
    Thanks!

  8. Hi, Myself Nishant. I found the information here very useful. I am planning to relocate to Oslo in last week of November. I have few queries:

    1) I am planning to move alone and my family would join me in Feb next year. Is that a good plan?
    2) My office location would be Telenor Fornebu, Norway. Can you please advise me areas near to this location where I should find properties to stay? I am looking for some reasonable cost place to stay for initial few months until my family joins me.

    Thanks in advance,
    Nishant

    1. Hi Nishant,

      In fact I am also planning to move to Norway (have been staying in gulf, Dubai & Doha, for last 18 years) this Dec-18. My work place would also be Fornebu and I would also initially move along and family would join by Apr-19.

      We can possible connect to see how best we can help each other move no Norway!

      My email is [email protected]tmail.com

      Thanks
      Piyush

    2. I am also planning to move to Norway coming Nov-Dec’18 and may work place would be Fornebu. Family would join after a few months.

      Look for advice on what would be the best place to stay initially single and then with family (wife & two kids).

      Thanks
      Piyush

  9. Hello-
    I’m looking to rent a small place , i-2 bedrooms, by a lake for 2-3 months in the summer. Looking to possibly make this our lifestyle as we near retirement age. Any suggestions? I have a large number of family members currently in Haugesund.

  10. hino ! I’m going to do Erasmus for 3 months in university of south eastern norway in notodden and i’m in serious need of acomoddation
    The prices have scared the living crap out of me, as has the searching process
    I need a 2 bedroom (or 1 bedroom and a sofá) small (like, suuuper small) flat, or Room or whatever
    Please please i’m in need of help

  11. Can you advice us a team of 6 people are coming to Norway in a month at Oslo Location. Would buying a flat is better than renting in our case?

  12. hi david,
    am moving to Norway this coming end of February 2019 together with my son and I looking for some apartment can stay somewhere in oslo?

    any advise will really helpful..

    thanks

  13. Hi David,
    I’m currently in high school (sophomore) and want to pursue a career in Marine Biology. One of the colleges that I am seriously considering is based in Norway (University of Bergen). My best friend and I plan on living together in an establishment and I have been looking around on the web compiling information to help understand the living situation there. Your article has been the most helpful one I’ve found (thank you so much), and I was wondering if you would have any advice on how my friend and I can support ourselves in a community we can barely understand? (I had been taking a Norwegian language class online which sparked my curiosity in the country, so I can speak a little, but he can’t at all).

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and for any advice you can give.

    1. While you should definitely learn Norwegian to make the most of your time, almost everyone you meet in Norway will speak a good level of English so I wouldn’t worry too much. Good luck!

  14. Hi David,

    I will be relocating to Norway and my company is in Fornebu, Oslo. Could you suggest me places nearby where I can get a shared apartment in reasonable price which is near market place and we get options for commuting.

    Thanks,
    Prajakta.

  15. Hi Guys ,I live in London with my husband and my four children,As we have a family in Norway (Stavanger),we came for visit ,but my two teenager kids love it their live,we are thinking to move,please If you can advice me ,which months is better to move in this year 2019?Thank you for help.

  16. HI David, thank you for your article.
    My Swe boyfriend and I are planning to move to Norway. He would move for a job and I would look for a job once I’m there. We are thinking about to rent a room to save up. Is it realistic to rent a room as a couple? Also, would both of us be written in the contract? we need it as a proof of co-hohibitation for our future plans.

  17. Hi David – I have found your website very useful as I contemplated and then enacted a move to Bergen from the UK. I have spent my first two months in airbnb accommodation, which has worked out well but it is quite expensive. I’m now looking at options for a short term rental until the summer. I would like to keep costs down because my family is not yet with me and there’s still a mortgage to pay in the UK on my respectable but hardly spectacular salary here. I have two questions for you. 1) I’m curious to learn why didn’t you get on with a hybel, if you’re willing to share the information. (I’m imagining somewhere small and a bit dingy where you could feel the walls closing in.) 2) The many advertisements for shared accommodation are not surprisingly aimed at younger people. What’s the likelihood that someone in their 40s or early 50s would fit into one of these households? I realise it’s not an easy question to answer, but I’m just trying to get an idea of whether there’s much diversity to the age range of these collectives. I don’t suppose I am the only person to visit these pages with these questions, so I – and these potential others – would be very grateful to hear your thoughts.

    1. It was just too small for me. As for older people in collectives, it does happen but you’ll just have to ask on a case-by-case basis, or seek out specific adverts looking for non-students. Good luck with the search!

  18. Hi!
    My boyfriend and I moving to Norway by the end of September for one year.
    We want to work there, so we need a place where we can find a good job. We take our dog and cat with us. Is it easy to find a appartment where you can bring animals?
    Thank you!!

  19. Hi there!

    So we got a great offer from Oslo( currently Swedes in Dubai)
    We want to live outside Oslo city , close to nature and water with a garden, a “ nicer” safe area with an international School or a smaller norwegian one.

    Wich areas do you recommend? ( within about 30 min commuting from work in the city)
    Ive only looked ar the Asker area

    Big thank you for any advice!

  20. Hello, is it normal that landlord leave the apartament keys in the bank, i send money to the bank and when i took the keys from the bank? and everythink we doing online like a signature, contract. Thank You

  21. I have an opportunity to work for a well known offshore catering company in Norway but in order to secure the position I need to be living or have a base address in Norway…howerver i believe to rent an appartment i would require an employers letter and a Norwegian bank account for which I would require an address in Norway…seems like theres no way round this…any suggestions would be appreciated
    Thanks

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