When you’re renting an apartment or a house in Norway, you will need to pay a security deposit to the landlord. This is in cases where money is owed, and you will get it back under normal circumstances. Security deposits are completely normal in Norway, but what exactly is the security deposit for, and how much should it be?
Security deposits for rental apartments are used to pay damaged or rent owned to the landlord when you move out. It should be in a special security deposit bank account, and be a maximum of 6 months worth of rent (but 3 or 4 months are more common).
The main purpose of the security deposit is to give the landlord some type of insurance that they will get paid for damages done to the property. You are not supposed to pay for regular wear and tear in Norway, but bigger damages like broken windows and things like that should be paid for by the security deposit.
Depositing the security deposit to a special security deposit bank account
All Norwegian banks offer a special security deposit bank account that should be used for this purpose. These bank accounts are co-owned by you and the landlord, and neither of you can access the funds without the permission of the other party.
This prevents either party from just taking the money in cases they you disagree on how much money is owed.
You should use either your own bank or the bank of the landlord. Any fees associated with opening this type of account is to be paid by the landlord (per the law), so don’t feel forced into paying any of these fees.
When looking at Norwegian banks, the word you’re looking for is “depositumkonto“. This means security deposit account, and all banks should offer it.
Landlord might not necessarily follow the laws and regulations in Norway
Norway has a big problem with cowboy landlords just like most other countries, and there is no guarantee that the landlords you meet will follow the law. It’s actually pretty common for landlords to demand to have the security deposit transferred to their own, private bank account.
This is against the law really, but no one cares if you report it. Since you probably just want to find a place to live, it’s not like most people have much of a choice, so they end up doing it.
If this happens, you will be at a severe disadvantage when you move out. This pretty much allows the landlord to chose how much or even if they want to give you they money back. Many landlords are known to make bogus claims to keep the entirety of the security deposit for themselves. You might even get a receipt made by the landlord for repairs that adds up exactly to the sum you have in the security deposit!
Sadly, this is even more common towards foreigners than Norwegians, since most foreigners are inclined to believe the landlord when the landlords claim that they are doing things legally..
Stealing a security deposit is obviously illegal, so this is something that can be brought to court.
How much is the security deposit when renting an apartment in Norway?
The rental law in Norway regulates how much the maximum security deposit sum can be, and the max security deposit sum in 2022 is 6 times the monthly rent.
So if your rent is for 12,000 NOK per month, the landlord can ask for up to 72,000 NOK in the security deposit.
That said, it’s much more common for the security deposit to be either 3 or 4 times the month rent.
So again, if your rent is 12,000 NOK per month, expect the security deposit to be in the range of 36,000 NOK to 48,000 NOK.
Cheaper student apartments at 6,000 NOK per month will typically have a security deposit of around 20,000 NOK.
How can you get money to pay for security deposits?
Getting 30,000 NOK or more for a security deposit is pretty challenging for many, especially for people who are renting their first apartment. That said, there’s no easy fix for this problem other than just saving up.
Some banks will loan out money for rental deposits, but this is not available to most foreigners. NAV might help out in certain cases, but this requires you to be in their systems and have a good reason for needing help.
So yeah, you pretty much need to start saving money to be able to rent an apartment in Norway in most cases.
When to pay the security deposit
It is common to pay the security deposit to the security deposit bank account when signing the lease. Many landlords do not give out the keys to the apartment before the security deposit has been paid, which is legally fine.
This means that it’s your responsibility to pay the money to the security deposit by the date you are to get the key from the landlord.
You are also free to make your own deal with the landlord if this doesn’t work for you.
I would personally not pay any deposits before the lease contract has been signed, just to be on the safe side.