Finding accommodation in Stavanger will likely be new arrivals’ main priority. As a university city and tourism hotspot with a booming job market, Stavanger’s rental market is fiercely competitive and most expats prefer renting a home in neighbouring Sandnes. While it is not impossible to find accommodation in Stavanger, it is certainly challenging and expats should be prepared to scour the internet and different areas and suburbs to secure their dream home.
Fortunately, housing in Stavanger is generally in excellent condition, so expats are sure to find something to suit their preferences and budget.
Types of accommodation in Stavanger
House hunters moving to Stavanger will be delighted to find that everything from converted studio apartments to freestanding family houses is available. Single new arrivals who are keen on saving often opt to rent a hybel – typically a cellar in a detached family home with basics such as a sofa bed and kitchenette. A shared house or kollektiv is a fantastic way to plant social roots in Stavanger while saving money on rent. Students and young professionals typically choose this option.
Apartments are the most popular option for young professionals and small families alike. They range in size and standard, and some offer sought-after amenities such as fitness centres and saunas. Apartments can either be furnished or unfurnished, with the latter proving the most expensive option.
Expat families in Stavanger frequently lean towards multi-room detached houses (enebolig), which may or may not come with a garden. Owing to Stavanger’s compact size, these are few and far between. Tomannsbolig (shared semi-detached houses) are also an excellent and more affordable option for those with families. This type of home will usually be occupied by two families, who will also share the laundry and garden areas. Rekkehus (rowhouses), which are also available, are probably the most charming family-style homes in Stavanger.
Areas and suburbs in Stavanger
Expats arriving in Stavanger will need to consider their budget and proximity to their places of work when deciding where to live. Those with children will also need to think about the schools in each neighbourhood, as enrolment in Norway is based on catchment areas. Stavanger is divided into seven boroughs: Eiganes/Våland, Hillevåg, Hinna, Hundvåg, Madla, Storhaug, and Tasta.
See the page on Areas and Suburbs in Stavanger for ideas on the best places to live in the city.
Finding accommodation in Stavanger
The best place to start the house hunt is online on websites such as Finn and Hybel. Social media is also a reliable resource, as landlords often want to try to avoid the costs associated with posting their rentals on online property portals. Word of mouth can also turn up some good leads, especially for those looking to rent a hybel or kollektiv.
Those who prefer not to go it alone can hire a real-estate agent. These professionals frequently have intimate knowledge of the local property market and can find a home perfectly suited to a range of needs and specifications.
Renting accommodation in Stavanger
The rental process in Stavanger is fairly straightforward, but expats will need to ensure they have all their paperwork in order and act fast if they see something they like.
Making an application
Although not all landlords will ask for these, new arrivals will should have their ID, Norwegian Identity Number and proof of income on hand when applying for a rental property in Stavanger. The accepted proof of income is usually an employment contract or payslips.
Newcomers will have to view multiple properties, put their name on a waiting list and wait to be contacted by the landlord. Homeowners in Stavanger prefer to build relationships with prospective tenants and often choose them based on how much they enjoyed their personalities.
Leases in Stavanger are generally for 12 months and can go up to three years. The rental agreement should highlight the monthly rental fee and state whether utilities and internet connection are included. New arrivals should take a comprehensive inventory of the property before moving in and ensure that the landlord is aware of anything that needs to be repaired.
Both the tenant and landlord are required to give each other three months' notice before terminating the lease, according to the municipality of Stavanger.
Deposits are probably one of the most restrictive aspects of renting in Stavanger. Landlords require three months of rent as a security deposit as well as the first month’s rent before a tenant can move in. The deposit is fully refundable at the end of the lease should the property not be damaged beyond normal wear and tear.
The Norwegian government has been cracking down on short-term rentals in the country by limiting the number of days landlords can rent out their homes per year and implementing strict taxation laws. This has undoubtedly affected Norway's short-term rental market, but temporary housing is still a fantastic option for shorter stays or for getting to know the city before making any long-term commitments. Though pricey, short lets are generally all inclusive.
Utilities, such as electricity and heating, are rarely included in the monthly rental fee in Stavanger. Some landlords will take care of water and internet costs, but newcomers should ensure their lease agreement clearly states who will be responsible for which utilities, as these can be quite hefty due to the city’s cold weather.
New arrivals should note that electricity prices in Stavanger are constantly changing, and the unit price is determined a day in advance based on the predicted demand and supply. Tenants typically receive two electricity bills, one from the electricity company and one from the grid company, though some users have their bills combined into one.
Bins and recycling
Most homes and rental properties in Stavanger have four bins for waste collection. Green bins are collected monthly and they are for paper. Red bins are reserved for hazardous materials and tenants will need to book collection for these, while brown bins are for organic waste and are collected fortnightly. Finally, black bins are for all other waste, including plastic, and these are also collected every two weeks.
Organic waste bags are available for order from Stavanger's municipality at no charge for mainland residents. Those who live on islands with ferry connections will need to collect the bags themselves. Alternatively, the bags can be collected at one of the innbyggertorgene (resident's service asker), bydelshusene (cultural centres) or grocery stores on some islands.
See the page on Accommodation in Norway for more information on the rental process.
►Getting Around in Stavanger provides info on public transport in the city
"The standard of housing is very high, albeit expensive. Scandinavian homes generally are bright, clean and kept up."
Find out more about living in Stavanger in our interview with Canadian expat Jay.
Are you an expat living in Stavanger?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Stavanger. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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