Can you haggle on housing rent in Oslo?

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Have you ever wished to pay less for your rent?
Of course you have. That is what this article is for.

Searching for the best deals for a place to live can sometimes be a hassle. You need to search and choose based on many attributes. Location, size, neighbors, design quality, and of course price. A lower price typically comes with a lower quality, and compromises will almost always stand in your way to make a choice. But we don’t like compromises do we? Wouldn’t it be amazing to pay less for the same? Yes it will be. Price is the only thing out of these attributes that can be changed after all. We have gathered together to conduct a simple experiment to see if rent price can be reduced for housings in Oslo, by simply asking.

How we did it
We used websites such as Finn and Hybel to find suitable student housings such as rooms in shared flats, dorms, and apartments. In order to see if the owners will respond differently towards Norwegian and foreign students, we have made contact both in English and Norwegian. I am certainly not fluent in Norwegian, one of my friends have done the translation for me. We have contacted housings with varying rent prices to see if that has an effect as well. Of course you might say that it is definitely more likely for the owners to allow negotiations for the price if the price is set high, and refuse to lower an already low price. That may be true, but there may be a chance that some owners are more eager to find a tenant quickly than to charge more. Who knows? It might go better than expected.

Lower rent?
The time came to make the actual contact to the housings. We have contacted over 15 owners. Surprisingly, about half of them have never even gave us a response to this day. But luckily, we have received enough. To jump to the conclusion, it is definitely possible for you receive cheaper rent prices for housings in Oslo by simply asking. Unfortunately it is more unlikely than likely. Out of the 8 responses that we have received, 2 of the owners were more than open to offer a lower rent. The remaining 6 made it clear that prices cannot be lowered.

At least from what we could see, whether you ask in Norwegian or English didn’t seem
to have any impact on the attitude of the owners. Selling price also seems to have minimal effect on the result as well. True, the two owners who accepted the request for lower price were the offerers of mid and high price range. Although judging from other negative responses, it seems to depend more on how the owners perceived the value to be, rather than the actual price. It would be interesting to ask more and more owners to get more detailed and accurate information. But with the scale and time we had, this was how far we could go. Plus, we didn’t want to annoy too many people by claiming we want to purchase something we don’t want to purchase. The messages we have sent varied, but they went something like this:

– Hello, I am [Name] and I recently moved to Oslo as an university student. I am currently on the search for a convenient apartment for a reasonable price. I was interested in your offer and that is why I am contacting. Although I was wondering if it is possible to make a deal for the housing at a price lower than the one in the description. I have some options to consider and I would appreciate a quick feedback.

Go for it!
So there you have it. Next time you go on searching for a place to live in Oslo and find
the perfect place to set up shop, it might be worth it to ask for a cheaper rent. Just ask, and you will have (at least according to our findings) about a 25% chance of getting cheaper rent for the same. Why search when you can simply ask people?

Sean Cooper


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