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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday 

Find out what's going on in Norway on Thursday with The Local's short roundup of important news.     

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday 
Oslo Operahus. Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Norway unveils plans to offer Johnson & Johnson vaccine to volunteers 

Norway will offer the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to volunteers from June 15th, the government announced on Wednesday.  

This is despite various health authorities in the Nordic country advising the government that the risks outweigh the benefits. 

Strict conditions, including a medical consultation, will apply to anybody who wants to be vaccinated with the single-dose vaccine. 

Only certain people will be eligible for the vaccine, including those who need to travel to countries with high levels of infection, those who – for various reasons – are unable to wait their turn to be vaccinated, and those who have loved ones suffering from severe forms of cancer. 

Doctors will have the final say on who will receive the jab voluntarily. 

“The patient has the right to weigh in on the decision but cannot demand to receive the vaccine. Doctors will have the final say,” Health Minister Bent Høie told reporters at a press conference.

Neighbouring Denmark offers both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, which Norway dropped entirely in May, to volunteers.

Face masks and WFH to continue in Oslo well into the summer 

Oslo will not be dropping face mask requirements or the advice for its citizens to work from home anytime soon, the capital’s executive mayor has said. 

“Face masks and the home office are some of the very last things we will change,” Executive Mayor of Oslo Raymond Johansen told newspaper Aftenposten.

On Tuesday, Oslo announced that it was extending current coronavirus measures until June 18th after cases rose by 87 percent last week. 

READ MORE: Oslo extends coronavirus measures after cases rise by 87 percent  

The city is currently on step two of its five-step plan to reopen and lift measures. 

First-time buyers can afford fewer than one percent of homes in Oslo 

Just under one percent of property in Oslo is within the reach of first-time buyers, according to a new report from The Co-operative Housing Federation of Norway (NBBL). 

“The numbers are now so serious that the alarm bells should ring,” Bård Folke Fredrikson from NBBL told financial paper E24

READ ALSO: Property in Norway: What to expect if you’re buying a home in Oslo 

In 2010, 39 percent of first-time buyers could afford to get on the property ladder in Oslo, compared to just 0.9 percent today. 

Highest number of drug overdoses for 20 years

There were 324 drug overdose-related deaths in Norway last year, the highest number of overdoses since 2001. 

Pandemic restrictions and more potent heroin may be among the explanations, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has said. 

“There is a particularly large increase in deaths as a result of opioids, such as morphine, codeine and heroin,” senior researcher from the NIPH drug and tobacco department, Linn Gjersing, outlined in a report

212 new Covid infections 

On Wednesday, 212 new coronavirus cases were registered in Norway, a decrease of 28 compared to the seven-day average of 240. 

In Oslo, 61 new cases of infection were registered, 16 fewer cases than the seven-day average for the capital. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 0.9. This means that every ten people that are infected will, on average, only infect another nine people, indicating that the infection level is declining.

Number of Covid cases in Norway. Source: NIPH

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Landlord or tenant: Who pays which costs in Norway? 

What do tenants in Norway typically need to fork out for, and which bills will the landlord cover when leasing a property? Here's what you need to know. 

Landlord or tenant: Who pays which costs in Norway? 

Norway is a nation of homeowners, with 76.4 percent of households in the country owning a home. However, just under a million people are still renting, according to the national stats agency Statistics Norway (SSB). 

The true cost of being a tenant is often considerably more than just the base rent. Other expenses such as utilities are also expected to be covered by renters. 

But when renting in Norway, who is responsible for which costs? The tenant or the landlord? 

As with most things in life, it depends, and while you will be liable for many of the costs yourself, some of them will be the landlord’s responsibility. 

READ ALSO: Eight things to know when renting an apartment in Norway

Who pays what? Which costs are tenants liable for in Norway?

To stop tenants from being hit with too many additional costs outside of the rent, the landlord must include the cost of things such as stair cleaning, porter fees, housing association costs, contents insurance, communal electricity fees (for the whole block if it is an apartment) in the overall rent price. 

The landlord can’t charge tenants for keys or to set up a deposit account either, according to rental platform

Outside of the rent, a landlord can charge for the tenant’s water and electricity consumption. Typically, however, the rental ad and contract outline whether electricity and water will be included. 

Electricity is rarely included, and most landlords will allow the tenant to enter an agreement with an energy provider separately from the rental agreement. 

When renting a room or living in a house share, it is more common for landlords to charge for water and electricity instead of having the tenant set up agreements themselves. 

If the landlord charges a tenant for electricity, the tenant has the right to see the meter readings. 

What about maintenance? 

Unless otherwise stated in your contract, the landlord is typically responsible for maintenance. Maintenance is considered the work to maintain the home’s standard when the tenant moved in. 

However, the tenant will have to cover some costs. These are taps, locks, power sockets, bathroom fixtures, switches and objects that aren’t fixed to the property, such as pots and pans.

Additionally, the landlord can ask the tenant to reimburse them for maintenance costs if they believe they have not used the home or furniture with sufficient care. 

Items such as cookers, washing machines, and dishwashers are the landlord’s responsibility if they belonged to them initially. Although, it’s worth pointing out that the rule about misuse or sufficient care also applies to domestic appliances.

READ MORE: How to resolve disputes with your landlord

What if the landlord renovates or makes changes to the property? 

Landlords have the right to make changes without seeking permission from the tenant, providing the work can be carried out without significant inconvenience or work that reduces the property’s value for the tenant. 

Stuff like removing walls is considered much more comprehensive than simple changes, so a tenant must approve of the most significant building work. Also, if tenants make changes to the home that improve the property, they can ask to be reimbursed at the end of the tenancy. However, the landlord must only pay to the extent they benefit from the changes financially. This means that generally, you won’t get the full cost back. 

The property owner can’t charge tenants extra for changes carried out to the home or hike the rent up. Rent can only be increased in line with the Rent Act, meaning only once a year and within inflation for those who have rented the property for a while or to bring it in line with current rental market prices for those who have lived there a while. If the contract expires and you sign a new one, the landlord can put the rent up then also. 

READ MORE: When can the landlord increase rent and by how much?