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RENTING

Renting in Norway: When can the landlord increase rent, and by how much?

In Norway, strict rules determine how much landlords can raise the rent by and when. This is what the law says about rent hikes.

Cobbled streets in Stavanger.
Here's what you need to know about landlords being able to increase the rent in Norway. Pictured are the streets of Stavanger. Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

Every country’s property market has its idiosyncrasies, and Norway is no different. If you’re new to the rental market, there are several things you’ll need to know to help get you up to speed.

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Rental properties in Norway are covered by the Tenancy Act, which you can read here in English. The act dictates the size of deposits that landlords can ask for and the rules for raising rent in Norway, among other things.

Knowing how much the landlord can raise rental prices is an essential piece of info you’ll need to familiarise yourself with. The law doesn’t just dictate how much landlords can hike their rent up by, but also when.

This knowledge can help you in two ways, firstly by helping you plan financially if your landlord tells you that your rent will be going up and secondly, by alerting you to rogue landlords if they try and increase rent outside of what is set out in law.

It’s also worth knowing that landlords can not request that rent be paid more than one month in advance. Furthermore, rent must be a fixed amount for the contract’s duration.

Once the lease has been signed, and the ink has dried on the paperwork, your landlord will only be able to raise your rent in line with the consumer price index (CPI). This can only be done once a year and not within the first twelve months of the tenancy. The landlord must also give the tenant at least one months’ notice of the rent going up.

If the CPI falls, the tenant can also request that the rent be lowered to reflect this.

If the rental agreement has been ongoing for more than two and a half years, then the landlord is also allowed to raise the rent in line with the average market price if the average price has grown beyond what you are currently paying.

The rent can only be raised to what’s known as the “prevailing rent level”. The prevailing rent level is calculated by comparing the property with places of a similar standard and size in the same location. 

The increase can only be introduced, at the earliest, six months after the tenant has been given written notification of the landlord’s intention to increase the rent. Essentially this means that rent can’t be raised beyond the CPI until after three years.

On the flipside, if average rental prices fall, the tenant can request the landlord to lower the rent.

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RENTING

Renting in Norway: How to resolve disputes with your landlord

Your home should be a relaxing place to be, but it may not always be smooth sailing between you and your landlord. Here's what you can do if any issues arise.

Renting in Norway: How to resolve disputes with your landlord

Fortunately, most rentals in Norway are straightforward and without stress. However, not everything goes to plan, meaning that you could potentially find yourself at odds with your landlord. 

Therefore, it’s worth knowing your rights and what you can do when things go awry.

Sometimes the best way to resolve any potential problems is to do your best to prevent the possibility of any issues occurring in the first place.

There are several things you can do to reduce any potential issues happening. Firstly, reading up on the law a little bit will give you a clear idea of what is and isn’t allowed. The Tenancy Act covers rental law in Norway is available to read in English.

If you don’t have the time to brush up on Norwegian law, then you can read about the basic duties and obligations that tenants and landlords are typically bound to here.

Furthermore, using a good contract can help avoid any potential issues. You should always use a contract when renting in Norway. You can find the template of a standard contract here. However, you may wish to have a contract in place that is much more specific to your situation and the property you are renting.

And finally, using a third-party deposit holding account can protect you from a landlord unfairly withholding the deposit if there is a dispute.

There are also steps you can take to prepare yourself for if things go wrong too.

These include taking pictures of the property before and after you move in, making an inventory list and keeping a record of all correspondence with your landlord. Keeping receipts and invoices for any purchases or services, such as end of tenancy clean, is also a good idea. 

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

Unfortunately, unforeseen problems can still arise, even if you do things by the book and to the letter. 

If there are any issues with the property you are renting, you should notify your landlord of them as early as possible to try and find a quick resolution. Most landlords will do their best to rectify these issues as they don’t want to have unhappy tenants or let their property fall into disrepair.

If the problem escalates and doesn’t look like it can be resolved amicably, then you can refer any potential issues to the Rent Disputes Committee.

The Rent Disputes Committee is a government agency that can resolve conflicts through both mediations and enforceable rulings. The committee deals with all manners of issues from evictions, late payment of rent, withholding of deposits and more.

The committee’s resolution team are lawyers that specialise in rental law. Both tenants and landlords can use the service. 

Cases handled by the committee normally take around 12 weeks to be processed. 

This isn’t the only avenue for resolving issues when renting a property, and as an alternative, you can also take the issue to a small claims court. Before taking a rental dispute to a small claims court, your issue must be heard by a conciliation board or forliksråd. These are found in every municipality in Norway.

The ruling made by the conciliation board can then be brought before the local small claims court. You can read about the process of proceeding in a small claims court in English here. You can choose to represent yourself or hire a lawyer for your claim. 

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