NSO`S HOUSING POLICY DOCUMENT. Contents. This document supplements NSO's housing policy as outlined in the welfare platform.

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1 NSO`S HOUSING POLICY DOCUMENT Contents 1. GENERALLY Government responsibility Municipal responsibility STUDENTS AS TENANTS Government responsibility Municipal responsibility Standard Tenant rights Lease Price protection Deposit Housing related expenses STUDENTS AS HOMEOWNERS State and municipal responsibility Risk and information SAVINGS, LOANS AND SUPPORT First home savings account for youths Loan for first home The Norwegian State Housing Bank Start-up loans Basic loan Changes to housing The interest rate level at the Norwegian State Housing Bank Housing benefits Establishing loans... 6 This document supplements NSO's housing policy as outlined in the welfare platform.

2 1. GENERALLY Students have a right to safe and reasonably priced accommodation, in a good housing environment with a modest standard. In order to ensure this, it is important to facilitate student housing, reasonably priced rental housing, and giving students a real opportunity to enter the market. This means prioritizing special measures for students on the housing market. The organizing of ownership and tenancy must be fair and functional. Owning and renting housing should be treated equally, and the policies and measures used must reflect that Government responsibility The state is responsible for ensuring a comprehensive housing policy, the creation of greater public involvement in the housing sector, and a variety of housing adapted to different needs. It is the state's overall responsibility to ensure a good accommodation cover and a healthy housing sector in all parts of the country, as well as ensuring a coherent thought concerning housing development in the context of environment and infrastructure. Through the Norwegian State Housing Bank, the state shall be a driving force to ensure adequate housing development. The Norwegian State Housing Bank needs to be strengthened on the economic and organizational level to be able to fulfil this responsibility Municipal responsibility By law, the municipalities must prepare housing plans containing a concrete analysis of needs, as well as a plan for meeting the needs of the different groups. In municipalities where there are institutions of higher education, the housing situation for students should be part of this plan. The municipalities are particularly responsible for ensuring that there is land available in accordance with the housing plans. This should include land for the student accommodation of the student welfare organisations, but also land for state, municipal, and private rental housing, as well as housing for sale. Therefore it is also important to ensure that the municipalities can get favourable loans for strategic purchases of land. 2. STUDENTS AS TENANTS With a rental market under pressure, it is important to facilitate an increase in rental housing available from professional renters. In this context, professional renters are both commercial and non-profit companies/stakeholders, as well as state and local authorities. Within these, noncommercial rental housing shall be prioritized. It is important to build small housing units in areas experiencing high housing pressure, as the student accommodation of the student welfare organisations is unable to cover the needs of this group. There should be good alternatives in place to accommodate students, like Ungbo, where youth is offered affordable housing due to poor funding opportunities. Private rental housing also plays a major role in ensuring student accommodation. Private rental must be facilitated though good legislation and simple solutions for advertising private rental opportunities.

3 2.1. Government responsibility The state must stimulate the construction of more rental housing, as well as contributing to a regulation of the market. An increased supply of rental housing will lead to lower and more stable accommodation costs. The economic imbalance between those who own and those who rent housing, has to be addressed. Housing grants for purchase or construction of municipal rental housing must be increased to 50% in order to give the municipalities a strong incentive to create more rental housing at a reasonable price. The state must consider different models for price regulation of the private rental market Municipal responsibility The municipalities have to increase the number of rental housing units. All municipalities must have an adequate number of non-commercial rental housing units for students and others. These units must be available at a lower price than similar housing on the private rental market. It is important to stop the introduction of «current rent» for municipal housing. This ensures that these housing units have a dampening effect on the market in general. Furthermore, a Norwegian model for housing purchases should be implemented, where a rented home can be repaid through the rent and become an owned house eventually. Where the municipalities administer housing that can be used for rental, this should be prioritized rather than sales Standard All rental housing shall be of good quality and standard, and shall follow the Norwegian tenancy act. Having orderly rental conditions is also important. Here student welfare organisations can set the standard for both state and private rental housing for students. Fire safety is the responsibility of the landlord, and the house shall be prevented from being used as a rental if fire safety is deemed insufficient. It is important that the municipalities conduct strict and regular controls to uncover breaches. Mildew and rot in homes cause both economic and health related problems for the tenants, this makes it necessary to get stronger protection in place for these situations Tenant rights As an overall principle, students shall have good protection and extensive rights as tenants. Students must have available information about their tenant rights, and schemes such as The Rent Disputes Tribunal (husleietvistutvalget) should be close at hand at all campuses Lease Leases should always adhere to the same template and standard. This will ensure that students can be more informed and safeguard their rights. All leases should be for an unspecified period, with a 1-3 month notice for both parties. With time specific leases, the tenant shall have the right to have the

4 lease extended if the landlord is planning to continue renting the home and there are no justifiable reasons for denying an extension. In the case of such leases, the tenant shall always have the right to terminate the lease. In the case of shared accommodation, the individual tenant shall be allowed to get an individual lease with the landlord. This to prevent the other tenants from being economically responsible should a tenant move out or do damage to the apartment. The landlord is responsible for getting new tenants, but this can be delegated to the other tenants if they so wish Price protection A rental price index should be created to ensure a simpler method for finding the «current rent level», and temporary measures to control rent level should be put in place in areas where the market rent is unreasonably high. There should also be a maximum limit for how much the rent can be increased when the lease is renewed/extended Deposit Students are in a financially vulnerable situation, which makes large onetime costs difficult to bear. Due to this, the deposit should never be more than three months' rent, but rather set as the period of notice. The banks should offer attractive deposit loans targeted at students, with lower interest rates and a longer repayment period. Deposits should be put in a special deposit account, which the landlord pays to create. The tenant shall receive the interest on the deposit Housing related expenses It is important to avoid the tenant getting large and unexpected expenses. Housing related expenses, like municipal taxes and water and sewage charges, shall be included in the rent. Suppliers of power, grid services, and internet must have monthly payments available. Power companies shall offer fixed rates to ensure predictability. Students who live in student housing shall have reasonable expenses for power and internet. 3. STUDENTS AS HOMEOWNERS It is important to ensure that more students are allowed the opportunity to buy in an increasingly difficult housing market. The continuance of tax benefits for homeowners is important, but so is finding good solutions for easing the entry into the housing market State and municipal responsibility The state should evaluate different models for regulating the housing market to curb the price inflation. To ensure that enough housing units are built, the state and the municipalities are responsible for facilitating a stable and planned housing development with regards to sale and purchase. The facilitation of construction of cheap homes for first time buyers is especially important.

5 3.2. Risk and information In a student's financial situation, it is important to minimize risk when buying homes, as well as the risk of large unforeseen expenses as a homeowner. It is important to ensure good and available information for students on the risks of purchase. 4. SAVINGS, LOANS AND SUPPORT Reasonable plans for savings, loans, and support is important to ease the entry in to the market, but also for students who rent. Plans that are in place should be continued and strengthened. These should take into account that students should be given the opportunity to enter the market prior to ending their education. The loan schemes should be flexible in the early stages of the repayment period. To ensure that students have a real opportunity to receive loans, it is important to include the student grants as pay when calculating loan amounts First home savings account for youths BSU (First home savings account for youths) is a savings scheme contributing to giving more students the opportunity to buy their own home. This scheme can be enhanced by increasing the tax benefits, as well as by raising the amount limit Loan for first home To increase the opportunity for buying a home, there must be first home loans with up to 90% financing for purchase of modest housing with no need for surety or additional security. First home loans should have a more beneficial interest rate than normal mortgages The Norwegian State Housing Bank The Norwegian State Housing Bank is an important policy instrument. They should have favourable loan schemes to enable more people to own their own home. The Norwegian State Housing Bank should reinstil the loan schemes for more people than just the most disadvantaged, with better conditions than in the private banking market Start-up loans The «Startlån» solution (start-up loans), offered to low income groups, must be developed further to include more people. Part of this is to extend the repayment period to 30 years. All municipalities must offer these start up loans. It is important to bridge the gap that can arise between those who get the start-up loans and those awarded housing benefits. To bridge this gap, a national standard must be introduced, which states that the minimum income for getting a start-up loan can't be higher than the maximum income for getting housing benefits. The guidelines for Start-up loans should specify that applicants over 18 years of age who have finished secondary school, cannot be denied due to having «acceptable housing» in the home of parents/guardians.

6 Basic loan It is important to increase investment in Basic loans to support the construction of universally designed and environmentally friendly homes Changes to housing Today, those with disabilities have to cover the majority of the costs of adapting their homes to fit their needs. This needs to change. The bill for modifying a house due to disability should be financed by society, not by the individual. Therefore, it is important to distinguish between modifications that increase the selling price of the housing, and those that do not. The former should be covered through loans, while the latter should be covered by government grants. Tenant must also have the opportunity to apply for grants for adaptation of housing. There are more students who rent than own, and some of these need adaptation The interest rate level at the Norwegian State Housing Bank The interest rate for the Norwegian State Housing Bank should be lower and more stable than the market interest. This will enable more people to afford getting a loan in the Norwegian State Housing Bank, and will help reach the goal of more people owning their home Housing benefits The housing benefit solution must be improved to ensure that those who live in the same house and/or are married to a student who receives student grants, are still eligible for housing benefits. These persons must have the right to get their individual needs tested Establishing loans All banks should offer establishing loans. These should be low scale loans that ensure that people, such as students, can get into the housing market. The loan should cover the costs of deposits and moving, regardless of whether the person owns or rents the home.

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