New Legal Residence Laws Take Effect

Árneshreppur á Ströndum.

Property owners in Iceland are now required to ensure their tenants have correctly registered their legal residence, RÚV reports. The National Registry also has increased authority to investigate cases where a person’s legal residence is believed to be falsely registered. These are just a couple of the changes to legal residence laws that took effect on January 1. Legal residence legislation became a hot topic of discussion during municipal elections in 2018, when it was discovered several individuals had falsely registered their addresses in one municipality in order to influence voting outcomes.

Property owners could be fined

Property owners are now required to ensure their tenants have correctly registered their legal residence. The laws assume property owners will receive notification when an individual registers their legal address at their property, a new practice for Registers Iceland. If landlords do not ensure the legitimacy of the registrations on their property, they could face fines.

Legal residence while abroad

 More individuals who live outside of Iceland can maintain a legal residence in the country, including students studying abroad and those living abroad due to illness. Both groups must have had a legal residence in Iceland for a minimum of two years in order to qualify.

Authority to investigate 

The changes to legislation also grant the National Registry increased authority to investigate cases where false registration of a legal residence is suspected. In such cases, the institute can request information from local authorities or private businesses which store data regarding an individual’s residence. Authorities and businesses are granted permission to share this data with the National Registry under the revised laws.

Spouses can have separate legal residences

Married couples are no longer legally required to be registered at the same residence under the amended legislation. Married individuals are now able to temporarily register at a different residence, such as a summer home or staff residence.

Daníel Bjarnason Receives Optimist Award

Conductor and composer Daníel Bjarnason.

Conductor and composer Daníel Bjarnason has received the 2018 Bjartsýnisverðlaun, or Optimist Award, Vísir reports. The award is granted yearly to an Icelandic artist who through their art has contributed to an optimistic outlook on life.

Daníel Bjarnason, born 1979, studied music in Iceland and in Freiburg, Germany. As conductor he has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, among others. His first opera, Brothers, was premiered in Denmark in 2017 and received its Icelandic premiere last year.

The Optimist Award was established in 1981, and is awarded by the President of Iceland. It includes a monetary prize of ISK 1 million ($8,500/€7,500).

Record Year for Rain in Reykjavík

Rain in Reykjavík

Reykjavík had 261 days of precipitation in 2018, a record for the city. RÚV reports the capital region also received only 1,163 hours of sunshine in 2018, about 100 fewer than average and the fewest recorded since 1992. The data comes from meteorologist Trausti Jónsson.

Precipitation measured 1059.2mm (41.7in) in Reykjavík in 2018, around 30% more than the average annual amount. More precipitation in a single year has only been recorded seven times in the city, most recently in 2007. Days when precipitation exceeded 1.0mm (0.04in) numbered 183 last year. Only the years 1953 and 1921 had more such days. Akureyri, North Iceland, also neared its record for precipitation last year, with 40% more than average.

High average temperatures across Iceland

The year was relatively warm around the country. According to Trausti, the average temperature in Reykjavík in 2018 was 5.1°C (41.18°F) last year, making 2018 one of the 30 warmest years recorded. In Akureyri, last year’s average temperature was 4.6°C (40.28°F), the 14th highest recorded. In Dalatangi, East Iceland, the average temperature was 5.2°C (41.36°F), the fourth warmest ever recorded in the area.