Tips for landlords about avoiding tenancy problems
Here is some useful information for landlords renting out homes to help with avoiding tenancy problems.
Tips for landlords
- Please take time to read the contract, even if you think it is boring. If you wish enter into a contract, it may be wise to use one of the various standard contracts. These provide a good starting point, but they must be filled out properly. If you want to rent out a property to several people, you should be aware that it is only those individuals who are stipulated in the lease and who have signed it who can be held responsible for any breaches of contract.
- Basically the minimum statutory tenancy period is three years. There are some exceptions, including renting out a basement flat in a house in which you live, where it is possible to have a 1-year tenancy. If you have agreed an illegally short rental period, the lease will be run over an indefinite period. Contracts can be terminated if nothing has agreed about them being terminated. Although the landlord is entitled to terminate a contract, the tenant may object to such. Termination must comply with the formal provisions contained in the Norwegian Tenancy Act, be justified and not appear to be unreasonable.
- A fixed amount of rent must be agreed. Basically no additional rent is permitted, apart from electricity, etc.. Instead, you should take your municipal rates into account when agreeing on the amount of rent to be paid. Payments should be made via a bank so that you can obtain details about them.
- If you are renting out a property with electricity being paid for on account, you must remember to read the electricity meter and undertake settlement at least once a year.
- Deposits should be paid into a blocked bank deposit account in the name of the tenant. The landlord shall pay the fees associated with setting up the account. No other arrangements are permitted. If you do anything else, the tenant may be able to claim interest on overdue payments with effect from the date on which the deposit was paid, something which could be expensive for the landlord.
- If the tenant has a social welfare guarantee, you must remember to check the date of expiry so that any such guarantees can be renewed in time and to ensure that any claims are notified before the guarantee period expires.
- It is a good idea to keep a record of the condition of the dwelling when moving in/out occurs by taking photos and creating a moving in/out protocol which describes the condition of the dwelling. Both parties should sign and date such protocols. In this way it will be easier to detect any differences in the condition of the dwelling between moving in and out, and to know whether or not the tenant is responsible for such. Tenants cannot normally be held responsible for normal wear and tear.
- Please ask for a receipt for any keys that you hand over to a tenant. You should provide a receipt for any keys which are returned and check that you receive the same number of keys back as those which you handed over initially.
- If any problems occur, it might be a good idea to talk to the tenant in order to see if you can find a solution together.
If you think that you have a claim against a tenant, and you are unable to reach agreement, you can appeal to the Rent Disputes Tribunal (HTU). The HTU can mediate between you and the tenant and possibly make decisions about such cases.
Here you can read a debate entry submitted by a landlord after he appealed to the HTU in which he talks about his experiences as a landlord.