Starting a life in a new country is never easy, and Denmark is no exception. There are many things that come naturally to people who have been living here their entire lives or have friends and family to help them, from how to repair a broken washing machine to finding the best local burger place.
Perhaps more essentially, there are some things that can be a huge advantage to know when you are renting an apartment in Denmark. Here, Rent Guide has put together a list of what we consider the five most important things to know.
1. Never pay more than 5,000 kroner per month for 50 square metres
This first one is probably also the most important to know. From the cases Rent Guide has run, and by talking to its clients, it is very clear that problem number one is that tenants are paying a rent that is way too high.
There are actually regulations in Denmark on how much landlords can charge for a rental apartment. In Copenhagen, you should never pay more than 1,000‐1,200 kroner per square metre per year. That is the same as maximum 5,000 kroner per month for a 50 square metre apartment. This is generally a lot lower outside the big cities.
However, many tenants are not aware of this – and landlords know that – so too many people are living in apartments that could have the rent lowered by thousands of kroner each month.
Further down, you can read about the different rules if you are living in a new building.
2. You can start a case to have rent reduced – even if you knew it was too high when you signed your contract
If you are aware of the regulations that exist in Denmark and know the apartment you are being offered is set at too high a rent, you are allowed to accept the offer and then file a case to have the rate reduced.
That is also the case even though you have signed the contract – if the landlord is demanding a rent that is too high, you always have the right to start a case to lower it. Just remember that if you start the case before you have lived in the apartment for 12 months, you can be compensated for the overpaid rent for the entire period. After the 12 months, you just lower your rent for the future – which of course is also important.
3. The two-year limit is a myth
There is a myth that landlords can always evict tenants that have lived in apartments for under two years. This, however, is not correct. As a landlord, you always need a legitimate reason to put a time limit on a lease, no matter how long you are renting out the apartment for.
In fact, there are very few situations where it is even possible for landlords to put a time limit on your rental contract. And they have to state that particular reason clearly in the contract. You can read a lot more about this in our previous article on rights relating to eviction.
4. There are different rules for buildings from after 1991
Unfortunately, the regulations on the rent don't apply if your apartment is in a building from after December 31st, 1991. In these 'newly‐built' buildings, the landlord can more or less demand the rent he wants (unless it's a way too high and unfair rent). Therefore, it will rarely be possible to lower your rent if you live in a building from 1992 or later.
There can, though, still be issues from the rental situation that make it possible to start a case, for example if your landlord is refusing to pay you back your deposit. More on that next.
5. Want to secure your deposit? Pictures, pictures, pictures – and documentation!
If you are having trouble getting your deposit back from your landlord, it may be because he claims you are responsible for flaws that actually existed when you moved in. But if you are not able to prove that the flaws were there when you moved in, it will be very difficult to get the deposit back.
Therefore, our best advice is always to go nuts with your camera and take pictures of everything that might come up when it's time for you to move out. Here, it is also a good idea to send the pictures in an email to your landlord, lawyer or friend, so you have a documented date from when the pictures were taken.
Another option is to make sure that the flaws are listed in the obligatory 'moving in report' (indflytningsrapport), which is a document competed at the beginning of the lease and which lists all the flaws in the apartment.
A final important thing to know to secure your deposit is to never sign the 'moving out report' (fraflytningsrapport) unless you are absolutely sure that it states the truth about the condition of the apartment. This is the document your landlord asks you to sign when you move out of the apartment and where any flaws are stated. If you are in doubt, then you shouldn't sign it. If your landlord pressures you to sign it (we have heard of instances of this happening, unfortunately), you can sign it but write “I do not agree with this” – then it's not valid.
Need help with any of this?
If you have any questions about any of this or need help to run your case, you are more than welcome to send Rent Guide an email and we will take a look at your situation.
Frederik Reichstein works as marketing manager for Rent Guide, which takes on cases for expats and others who are paying rent above the Danish regulations.
The Local is not responsible for legal advice contained in this third-party contribution.