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Updated 4 months ago

Finding an apartment for rent in one of Norway’s major cities can get so expensive that, all things considered, it is easier and more affordable to take a bank loan to buy a house and just pay off the monthly installments. But buying property may prove challenging if you just moved in the country since banks won’t extend credit to someone who doesn’t have a credit score in Norway. So if you choose to rent, be diligent, patient, and prepared to perhaps flatshare for a while.

How to find accommodation in Norway

First, you need to consider your budget versus the location. All of Norway is expensive, but big cities like Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim are definitely more cost prohibitive – and yet, these places are where the most job opportunities are likely to be found. A two-room apartment in Oslo can cost anything from 1,100 to 1,700 euros depending on the area, and that’s not always including the internet and electricity (which in the winter can be about 150-400 euros monthly). That’s why so many people choose to flatshare in cities like Oslo: it’s not unusual to find an apartment to share with three or four others and pay around 500-600 euros for your own room, plus access to a shared kitchen (and sometimes, living room) and shared bathroom. This practice is more common among students and young professionals, but nowadays more and more people of all ages choose to flatshare in Oslo.

Of course, you could opt for finding accommodation in a suburb or smaller town (for something closer to 500-800 euros for a one-bedroom studio-apartment), and commute to work. Norway has an excellent transportation system: no matter where you are, there’s going to be a bus, train, or even ferry ride to take you where you need to be. But you will need to take into consideration the transportation fare, which is significant: in Oslo county, for instance, travelling across 4 zones costs 21 euros for a round trip, which is almost as much as it costs to take the train to another city or across the border to Sweden.

In any case, the best place for you to start looking is the Finn marketplace where you can find listings from all over the country, most of them posted directly by the owners or the tenants (just bear in mind that most of them will be in Norwegian). There are of course listings by real estate agencies, but you need to be aware that these will come with a commission fee of around 2.5 % of the total price of rent plus deposit. If you’re looking to flatshare, you should also check Hybel where you can find more economical options. Finally, there are several Facebook groups, mainly for Oslo and Trondheim, that you can join for better chances of finding accommodation in these cities and communicating in English: just type “rent in” and the name of the city you’re interested in, in Facebook’s search bar.

What you need to know about the lease

While looking for an apartment that interests you, you need to also consider the lease. Most leases are for at least one year, with a period notice of 90 days (in writing). On your lease, it should be specified whether the electricity and internet are included in the rent or you have to pay extra – in most apartments, the water is included.

In Norway, it’s quite normal for landlords to ask for four month’s rent in advance: three as deposit (which will go into a separate bank account and you will get back at the end of your lease if there are no damages to the property), and one for the current month. Some landlords provide the option to pay a guarantee instead of a deposit (usually a month’s worth of rent), but that means you won’t get back that money at the end of your tenancy. Before signing, you should inspect the apartment very thoroughly and make a note of any existing damages in your contract (take photos as well as those could be useful). That way it will be easier to sort out any disputes when the time comes to move.

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