Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Oct. 8, 2019


Court: ‘Hidden defects’ mean owners of condemned Gamle Sykehuset flat can get refund

The owners of an apartment at Gamle Sykehuset, which city officials condemned in 2016 due to massive damage caused by thawing permafrost, are entitled to cancel their purchase and receive a refund of the 1.5 million kroner purchase price due to “substantial hidden defects,” according to an appeals court ruling. Anika Paust and Vide Brandt purchased the apartment “as is” in 2013, but the Hålogaland Court of Appeals ruled that because it was declared uninhabitable only three years later it was in “substantially inferior condition than the buyer had reason to expect.” The seller, Arne Oddvar Bergdal, must refund the purchase price, but is not being held legally negligent in the matter. The damage occurred at least in part because a cooling system under the building was not present or functioning due to the action of previous owners of the building. A total of 30 residents were forced to abandon 16 apartments in the building, with insurers refusing to cover the loss. Multiple legal challenges have been filed by the tenants forced to move, including by Paust and Brandt, although until now none were successful.

Restaurants get non-mandatory visit from food safety officials; mum’s how they fared

Businesses serving food in Longyearbyen and Barentsburg got a visit during the past week from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, even though the agency’s mandates and approval stickers in force on the mainland don’t apply to Svalbard. But that doesn’t mean locals weren’t told to fix their faults. Ulf Kjelleberg, who operates a food truck on weekends, said he feels the inspectors are a plus, even though one admonished him for storing contains with food on the floor rather than an elevated space. The results of the inspections are not known at present.