English - (Engelsk)
What is the Rent Disputes Tribunal?
Functioning like a court, the Rent Disputes Tribunal (Norwegian abbreviation HTU for Husleietvistutvalget) is an official body that resolves disputes between landlords and tenants over residential property. The tribunal does not deal with disputes over the lease of commercial premises or the rental of holiday homes and cottages. Established by the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development on 1 March 2001, the tribunal is the court of first instance in the geographical areas that have a tribunal. Three offices deal with cases for Oslo and Akershus, Hordaland and Sør- and Nord-Trøndelag. The tribunal aims to provide quick, reasonable and competent resolution of disputes over tenancy cases. The mediators in such disputes are lawyers with special competence within tenancy law. The parties normally do not need to be represented by a lawyer.
What does it cost to use the Rent Disputes Tribunal?
The person making the complaint must pay a case processing fee in advance that corresponds to the basic court fee. This fee is determined by the Storting (Norwegian Parliament), and as of 1 January 2016 has been set at NOK 1 025,-. A giro invoice is sent for payment, and the case will not be processed until this has been paid. If the person making the complaint demands that the other party should pay the fee, the tribunal will decide who is to pay. Expenses for lawyers are normally not covered, as generally speaking it should not be necessary to use a lawyer.
What the complaint must include
The complaint must include:
- The name and address of the parties
- The address of the rented property the dispute concerns
- A brief description of the case
- The claim (a description of the result the party is looking for)
- The signature of the person making the complaint
Copies of documents illuminating the case should be submitted with the complaint. It is of particular importance to submit a copy of the lease or tenancy agreement. Acceptance of a claim will often depend on whether the party has provided sufficient documentation and information. The tribunal sends a copy of the complaint to the other party, who is then given a time limit to submit a written response. The response must be signed and state whether the claim is accepted, with grounds and any necessary documentation.
The parties will be summoned to a meeting in the tribunal’s office where they will be offered mediation. Mediation is voluntary. A mediator will work with the parties to reach an agreement. If they agree, they thereby reach an out of court settlement (agreement). Such a settlement can be a better and more flexible solution than a decision because the parties have chosen the solution themselves. The quickest way to resolve a case is when the parties reach a settlement. This will be binding on the parties in the same way as an agreement.
If one of the parties does not respond, mediation is rejected or does not lead to a settlement, the case will be decided by the tribunal. The tribunal’s decision is normally based on the case documents. The tribunal consists of a chairperson, who is a lawyer, and two tribunal members from respectively tenant and landlord associations who are appointed by the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. The members of the tribunal must be neutral. The decision will have the same legal effect as a court judgment if the case is not brought before the district court within one month.
After the dispute has been settled
The parties must themselves undertake to comply with the settlement or decision. If one party does not voluntarily comply with the settlement or decision (for example does not pay a stipulated amount), the other party may ask the enforcement and execution authority to legally enforce the demand. Enforcement can be used for both a settlement and a decision.
The court of conciliation
If the residential property is not located in a municipality where a Rent Disputes Tribunal has been established or if the case refers to an issue the tribunal is no authorised to deal with, you must bring the case before the court of conciliation in your municipality.