Knut Silseth (left) and Helene Gjerden of SiMolde - the student welfare organization. Photo: Zelda Nyangari

SiMolde vs. private market: Which one is the best option?

With an estimate of 365 rooms, SiMolde is the institution responsible for offering housing solutions, to the almost 700 students who arrive in Molde every autumn.


One of the usual complaints among international students relies on the high cost of living in Norway. In fact,  the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) requires that applicants for a Norwegian study permit must document financial means with an approximate of NOK 120 000. This money must be used to cover the basic needs, including housing, food, and clothes for an entire year.

Nonetheless, almost 50% of the monthly budget of an international student at Molde University College goes to rent expenses if we consider that a single room in campus costs almost 5000 NOK per month. Having these numbers in mind, some people choose different options in the private market, renting houses or apartments for between three or more students starting from 12 000 NOK per month.

But, is it actually a good move to go to the private market?

According to Helene Gjerde, housing consultant, one of the main benefits of renting a SiMolde house relies upon the transparency and standardization of the contracts as a way to protect the relationship between SiMolde and the students.

“There are quite good standards, so you get a lot for the money and you know exactly what you get”, said Gjerde.

Hele Gjerde of SiMolde’s student housing unit. Photo: Zelda Nyangari

In that regard, Knut Silseth, director of SiMolde, said that these blocks and apartments are only for the students, making clear that the units were designed for and maintained considering the needs of the students.

“We got some money from the Norwegian government, about ⅓ of the annual budget, while ⅔ of the money is loan”, Silseth said, when asked about where the money is coming from and the reason behind the prices for the student units.

Utsikt mot sør og vest – Vestnesfjellene og Otterøya – fra hybelen i en av de nye kvartettene på Molde campus. Foto: Arild J. Waagbø

Some internationals master’s students may experience some discomfort with the housing contract, arguing that paying the full rent even if they are not in town during the summer. Those who decided to cancel their contract during the summer months, must wait almost until the end of the autumn semester in order to obtain a new room either on campus, Kvam or Glomstua.

In that sense Silseth claimed the prices of the maintenance of the housing units are key factors for the establishment of these policies: “We can stand 2 or 3 months without renting a unit, (…) I see the problems for some of the students, but there are lots of costs that are involved in the maintenance of the rooms”.

For the 2019 Autumn semester, new students will come to Molde University College and SiMolde has already a plan to start building, by the end of the summer, the F-block in Campus to offer more housing opportunities for those who want to rent a room close to the university. Also, some good news are set for Glomstua facilities, the Housing office are currently in talks with the IT-department and if everything works out there will be WiFi there as well by the start of next semester.

Coming back to the main topic, is it actually a good choice for students to go into the private market searching for rent? It will depend on finding a good deal with landlords, but also on evaluating the pros and cons of this particular decision.

If you are new in Norway and want to give it a shot, then you should visit considering this is the most popular website to find almost everything online, including searching for properties for renting.

Student Shahdat Hossen is living off campus – in Parkvegen in Molde – preparing for a meal. Photo: Zelda Nyangari
Shahdat Hossen’s neat room of campus. Photo: Zelda Nyangari

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