Apartments to rent are usually advertised in newspapers. People looking for housing, which is outside the capital area, are advised to seek information at the offices of their municipality.

Rent agreement

It is important to make a rent agreement in writing[1] with the renter when renting an apartment. You will need to be well acquainted with the terms of the agreement, such as rules on insurance, notice and more.

Forms for rent agreements in Icelandic, English, Spanish and Polish can be found on the websites of the Ministry of Welfare  ( and the Multicultural and information Centre ( Rent agreements can also be found at the offices of municipalities and the Housing Financing Fund (     

Municipality rent benefits

If you have a legal residence in Iceland you can apply for rent benefits[2] at the municipality social services. Whether rent benefits are paid, and what amount of rent will be paid, depends on the amount of the rent, income and family size of the applicant.

Before you can apply for rent benefits you must register[3] a rent agreement for the minimum duration of six months at the district commissioner.

Information on rent benefits can be found at municipality social services and at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Security. If you reside at a hostel, commercial housing or a room you cannot receive rent benefits. 

Information and calculator for rent benefits are on the Ministry of Welfare's website ( 

Electricity, hot water, telephone and internet

When moving into an apartment it is important to have the meters for heat and electricity read so that the renter/buyer only pays for his usage.

Municipality offices can provide information on companies that sell and provide electricity and water in the municipality.

There are a few telephone companies in Iceland and they offer different prices and services for telephones and internet connection. It is best to go directly to the telephone companies to get information on the services and prices they have to offer.

[1] A rent agreement is an agreement which a tenant makes with the renter on the amount of rent and more.

[2] Rent benefits is a grant that people can receive from municipalities according to certain rules t opay a portion of the rent for their housing.

[3] Registration of agreements aims at registering agreements publicly to guarantee and protect the rights of the parties to the agreements.

Rent and notice of termination

Uppsagnarfrestur og tryggingafé

Notice of termination:

It is only permissible to give notice when the period of rent is not stipulated in the contract. If the contract specifies a certain time frame, it runs out in due course and cannot be terminated unless specifically mentioned in the contract. If not specified, the period of rent ends on the agreed date without any further notice.

If the contract on the other hand does not specify any length of time, notice must be at least one month if the rented abode is a room or six months if an apartment. If the apartment has been rented to the same people for five years or longer, notice must be given at least a year in advance. Notice is mutual, i.e. valid for both the landlord and the tenant.

The landlord and the tenant can reach an agreement on shorter terms of notice as long as the agreement is mutual.

Security deposit:

If the tenant has paid a security deposit, the landlord must repay it when the tenant moves out. Under usual circumstances, the landlord may not dispose of or use any of the deposit without the permission of the tenant. On the other hand, if a judgement has been passed on the tenant for liability for damages, for example for damage to the house, the landlord may use the deposit. He may also use it towards unpaid rent. If the landlord expects to make a claim on the security deposit, he must do so as soon as possible and no later than two months from the end of the rental time.

If the tenant and the landlord cannot agree on compensation for damages to the property, the town surveyor (byggingafulltrúi) will assess the damage. The surveyor works for the municipalities and can be reached through the town council. The concerned parties can though, within two months from the time the town surveyor reached his decision, demand that a court appointed appraiser assess the damage.

Should disputes still arise, the matter can be referred to the housing judicial committee which is housed in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Security. The tenant can also demand a refund of his deposit, or the landlord demand compensation for damages before the court.

See leases