Students moved outside during the day
Two weeks before beginning their studies, Christian Thorpe, 21, and Jonas Stingem, 21, got into a packed car and drove up a mountain.
Friends from Bergen will be studying at the BI School of Business in Oslo for the following semesters. After searching for a long time for a place to live, they found an apartment in St. Hanshausen.
But the next day they were supposed to move in, the clothes, bedding, and other belongings were still in the car.
– The person we were going to rent from was really nice and easy to get hold of before signing the contract. We didn’t get the chance to make an offer because we couldn’t get from Bergen to Oslo and back in such a short time. This was not a problem for the owner and we trusted the pictures in the ad. It’s something we shouldn’t do, says Christian Thorpe.
For each room in the five-bedroom apartment, a bathroom and a kitchen, they had to pay NOK 7,225 per month per room. The lease shows that they were due to take charge on August 1.
VG spoke to students and young adults who describe a rental market with few vacant homes. Many also talk about poor standards and worn out apartments.
– There were very beautiful pictures and it seems that there is a lot of space. It was a little expensive, says Jonas Stingim, but there wasn’t much available.
– You expect it to be clean
On August 3, friends arrived in Oslo. They drive to St. Hansaugen, which is famous for its beautiful apartment buildings. Outside the apartment, they are met by a person who works for the owner.
– He just gave us the keys and told us about the available rooms – then he left. Four rooms are available. We had to choose between them. Stingem says there was no one else in the house.
Inside the apartment, the comrades begin to feel uncomfortable. They start taking pictures of what it looks like. They tell VG about moisture and dirt on the windows.
– The first thing we noticed was that it was a bit “shabby”. We can live in an old, worn out apartment, but we expect it to be clean. Thorpe says the owner ensures they are washed and adds:
– We opened the fridge and then had to leave the kitchen because it smelled so bad. The floor and drawers were dirty.
In the hallway, a condom was left at the bottom of a dirty shoe cabinet.
After searching around the apartment complex, they called the owner.
– He followed it up by saying that if we didn’t want to live there, we could quit for the day, and take back the rent and deposit, says Thorpe.
The owner is said to have apologized and said there was no time to wash up since they arrived late.
– We arrived on the evening of August 3rd, and the transfer date was August 1. It does not make sense.
This is what one of the apartment bedroom windows looked like:
Changed after taking pictures
– The apartment looked good in the pictures in the ad, but when we got there, something changed. Part of the kitchen was removed to make room for an additional bedroom. There is something not shown in the ad, says Stenhjem.
Says an ad for the house on Finn.no. Some changes have been made to the kitchen.
– When we entered, the kitchen was much smaller, he says.
The faucet in the kitchen was loose, a video of two 21-year-olds shows.
There were many small things, but when there are many, it is no longer small.
After less than half an hour in the apartment, the two 21-year-olds canceled their contract and returned to the car that was fully loaded with everything they owned.
In an ad on Finn.no, to rent a room in the apartment this fall, it is reported to have five bedrooms with a “kitchen and shared bathroom” and measure 75 square metres.
When the apartment was sold in 2019, it had two bedrooms, an open plan living and kitchen solution. Pictures from the sales ad for this year’s rental apartment were used.
VG the owner asked friends from Bergen several questions. He confirms that he received feedback from the students when they moved.
Not washed well. I apologized for it, and said they didn’t need to complete the contract, he wrote in an email to VG.
He explains that he also offered the students a second wash. He asserts that the image of the kitchen used in the advertisement dates back to before it was reconstructed. He notes that he sent a video of the apartment to the students before they moved in.
– A picture of the kitchen before. I will not use this again.
Cry alone in the apartment
Simen Jensen (22) of Trondheim and Rebecca Fugelli (21) of Bergen rented a house in Grünerløkka in Oslo. Last month they opted out.
One of the reasons they terminated the contract was the standard and poor experiences with the owner Merkantilbygg, a company that owns and leases several buildings.
– The first day I got to the apartment, I remember crying, says Foggili when VG met her outside her former home.
She had seen the apartment on video since she was living in Bergen.
– Then you couldn’t see that it was so bad. We now know that you have to spend more money to get something good. The 21-year-old says we paid NOK 5800 plus electricity and thought it was a good price.
– Put up a lot of walls
Fugelli and Jensen rented an apartment from Merkantilbygg in Fossveien with four others. Many young people lived in an apartment building. Among others, the world-famous painter Edvard Munch, who moved to the building When he was 20 years old in 1883.
One day the group was visited by someone who had been living in the same apartment a few years earlier.
– I was shocked when she came and saw the apartment. Merkantilbygg erected as many walls as there were before. Where there are three rooms now, there was only one room that was slightly larger than before. The living room and one of the rooms used to be one big room, but now there is a wall in the middle of the living room, so it has no windows. You can see that the rose in the ceiling is cut in the middle, says Foggili.
This is a photo of the living room after it was reconstructed without a window:
In the apartment shared by six people, there were two bathrooms. On a Friday, the group wakes up to dirt and water billowing from the drain in one of the bathrooms. They need a plumber.
– We wanted a plumber and sent a message to the Merkantilbygg liaison: “Hey, you’re sinking in the old bathroom,” says Fugelli.
She says the answer they got was: “I’m not in Norway. Can’t send via SMS. Take it with the office.”
The 21-year-old said neither the office phone nor the guard’s phone were answered. On Saturday, the group decided to do something themselves.
– We called the plumber, who said that it would cost 4,000 NOK to solve the problem.
Then the collector contacts the owner again to ask how to solve the problem. Then they were told that Merkantilbygg would send its own plumber on Monday.
They tested the connection with the owner as complicated, and no action was taken until they called the plumber themselves and got the price.
– It is the sum of the defects that are not properly settled that does so.
– It’s over with us
The bathroom flooding occurred in the summer, after the lease termination.
Fugelli and Jensen say it was difficult to share one bathroom with six people. For a month without a bath, they each received a discount of 66 NOK.
The department manager at Merkantilbygg, Thor Henrik Raknerud, wrote in an email after being contacted by VG that he had become aware that the tenants in Fossveien had received wrongful compensation because the bathroom was not usable.
– I’m so sorry for this. I contacted the tenant and corrected the error.
It is believed that the bathroom was “out of order for two weeks”. VG spoke to the tenants to confirm that they are getting more compensation.
Advice to other students
Back in St. Hanschögen, Bergen students have clear advice for students who will be renting: Go watch.
– Why don’t you go to the show first?
– It would quickly cost us a few thousand if we traveled from Bergen to Oslo in a short time, says Thorpe and adds:
So you’re going to spend the night somewhere. If you don’t get that flat, you do it over and over again. It quickly turns into a lot of money, so you really have to take the opportunity that comes your way.
He says this owner was the first to respond and said “you can have the apartment”.
– Then you just have to hit until you get a place to live. He seems very honest when we talk to him. I think he knows what to do when there are students who can’t come to the show. It might be fine if they don’t tell you. Thorpe says it’s no good – it’s a scam.
Can you afford the costs of other students?
Thorpe says and laughs that having rich parents helps them.
The friend adds that it’s a good idea to go to the show.
– They can look very good in pictures, but they can lie.
When VG meets 21-year-olds, they have spent the day searching for an available apartment, room or dormitory.
Thorpe says we must have sent more than 150 orders.
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