A growing numer of Norwegians are recognizing that there’s money to be made off empty rooms in their large houses and condominiums – or even those that aren’t so large. A new movement in Oslo is promoting the practice of renting out rooms, which can create companionship along with supplemental income.
It’s tax-free for Norwegians to rent out rooms, as long as they still use at least half the size of the property. News bureau NTB recently reported on the example of Sigrun Isene, a single woman who had extra rooms after her children had moved away from home.
“I didn’t need the 91 square meters (around 900 square feet) alone,” she told NTB. She currently has one roommate, with a second due to move in soon. One of her roommates needed a place to stay while her own home was being renovated, while another had been working abroad and needed a place to live while she searched for a new home in Oslo. “It gives a sense of security to have someone in the house, also when I go out traveling,” Isene said.
State statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway) reports that 20 percent of Norwegians live alone, making up fully 40 percent of Norway’s 2.4 million private households. Many more could reap income and social benefits by sharing their homes with roommates, according to the movement Gaining by Sharing, which promotes sustainable collective living. The goal is to create social and environmental gains by having families share common areas, household appliances like washing machines and lawn mowers, food and energy. The Gaining by Sharing project plans to build its first residential complex in Stavanger, where 32 housing units will create a community based on sharing.