If you want to rent a house or an apartment in Norway, you should have a look at advertisements in newspapers or online. Note that the number of rooms listed in these ads does not include the kitchen and the bathroom(s).
If you intend to search for houses on the internet, there are various websites that may help you. The most popular site is probably Finn. However this website is (like many others) only available in Norwegian (see our glossary to decode Norwegian ads) (insert link?). You will also find advertisements in many local and national newspapers, the most famous of which is the Aftenposten.
If you are planning on moving to a big city like Oslo, you might want to consider looking for accommodation in the suburbs, if you cannot find anything within the city centre. You can also advertise yourself as a prospective tenant in the local press.
When you find accommodation that you are interested in, you should phone as soon as you can and make early contact, as competition is fierce in Norway! Many landlords speak English to a very high standard, so do not hesitate to contact them, even if you do not speak Norwegian.
If you are looking for student accommodation, take a look at the website for the Foundation for Student Life in Oslo (SiO). This foundation helps international students find accommodation and all applicants have the right to a single room providing they apply online before the given deadline.
Estate agents in Norway
Another way to find accommodation is to contact a real estate agent. However, be wary of estate agents who ask you to pay a fee upfront before actually assisting you. If you look in the Yellow Pages you will find a list of the real estate agents that handle rental properties (Eindomsmegling). These real estate agents usually offer long-term rental contracts.
In Norway, the real estate profession is highly regulated. Real estate agents are required to hold membership of the Norwegian Association of Real Estate Agents, whose purpose is to keep professional qualifications updated at all times. Members of this association have a deep knowledge regarding the laws, rules and regulations of the rental market and will help you understand procedures and provisions.
Norwegian estate agents will usually offer you the possibility of renting a property for a 'trial' period. This can be a good opportunity to evaluate whether you like the accommodation and the area. If you decide you do, the contract can be extended.
Real estate agents normally require their clients to provide character references, a bank reference, and they may perform a credit check. These procedures are designed to protect the landlord from untrustworthy tenants.