1. Never rent an apartment you haven’t seen
Bergenstudenten advice you strongly to attend a house viewing if you are considering to rent an apartment. This way, you can avoid unpleasant surprises when moving in. Bring a friend to the viewing to get a different opinion on the condition of the apartment and the contractual terms.
2. Any deposit should always be placed on a specific deposit account
Never pay the deposit cash or to the same bank account as the rent. The expenses associated with creating the deposit account are to be paid by the landlord.
3. Know what you are looking for
Are you willing to pay extra to live in the city center? What standards and facilities are important to you? Do you want to live alone or together with others?
4. Publish an advertisement with your preferences concerning housing
Many landlords never advertise their apartments and some landlords prefer to contact potential tenants themselves. Landlords are looking for responsible tenants who can guarantee their financial viability. The ad should contain a short description of you, what kind of apartment you are looking for, its location, and how much you are willing to pay. The most known websites in Norway for this purpose are www.hybel.no (free) and www.finn.no. Bergenstudenten can help you to navigate these websites if necessary.
5. Check what is included in the rental amount
Electricity, heating, internet and cable TV may or may not be included in the rent.
6. Know your rights as a tenant
The tenancy act can be found here (English version). The act regulates for instance what can be agreed in the contract, termination of the contract, increase of the rental amount. Jussformidlingen offers free legal aid.
7. Make sure to get the rental agreement written
This way you can easily prove what has been agreed between you and the landlord. Make sure you read the rental agreement thoroughly before signing the papers. In particular, read the terms of notice and eviction and what responsibility you have as a tenant.
8. Make sure your belongings are covered by insurance
9. Take pictures of the apartment when moving in
Any damage to the premises is your responsibility. However, you are not responsible to the damages the previous tenant made. Pictures of the apartment may serve as evidence if your landlord accuses you of the damages.
10. Read our Housing Guide
If you are wondering where to stay in Bergen, this document may help you. The Housing Guide describes the different areas of Bergen. It also includes a map which shows the location of all the faculties.