Denmark to push back on high rents with law against housing speculators

Minister for Transport Kaare Dybvad says he is ready to propose a law against what he has termed ‘housing speculators’.

Denmark to push back on high rents with law against housing speculators
Housing minister Kaare Dybvad presents a report on housing regulations in October. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The measure is aimed at slowing increases to rents and to ensure greener housing renovations, newspaper Berlingske reports.

The government is scheduled to meet with housing spokespersons from other political parties on Thursday in order to discuss changes to Danish housing laws.

At the meeting, Dybvad is expected to present a model which will prevent investors like US equity firm Blackstone from making large short-term investments in Danish housing.

Pension funds and long-term investors will be given more favourable conditions under the new law.

“There is a big incentive, in the way the (current) law is put together, to make short term investments, and the likes of Blackstone are making use of it,” Dybvad told Berlingske.

The minister referred specifically to a clause which allows landlords to increase rents if they renovate properties under certain criteria.

The legislative intervention will impact capital investors like Blackstone hard as well as specifically, an analyst said.

“If Blackstone wants to continue as they have done up to now, they’ll find it difficult in Denmark. They idea of a suspension period for rent increases will impact short-term investors,” said Curt Lillegreen, head of research institute Boligøkonomisk Videnscenter.

“That’s what this measure is designed to do with surgical precision,” Lillegreen added.


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Copenhagen nature area to be developed as city approves land sale

A part of the Amager Fælled nature area has lost its reserve status and can now be sold to investors, after a majority in the city's municipal council voted in favour of development on Thursday.

Copenhagen nature area to be developed as city approves land sale
Amager Fælled. File photo: Asger Ladefoged/Ritzau Scanpix

The 219,000 square-kilometre area, known as Lærkesletten, can be sold to developers who wish to build homes on the land, broadcaster TV2 reported.

The sale raises money needed by the city to pay for the new Metro lines, which opened last year, and was part of a political deal agreed in 2017.

City councillors from the Social Democrats, Social Liberals, Liberals, Conservatives, Danish People's Party and two independents voted in favour, while Red-Green Alliance, Alternative and Independent Green parties and one independent opposed.

Located on the southern edge of the natural area on island Amager, the area is frequently used by people from the city for cycling, running and walking.

“We have seen that nature and the environment are at the centre of the public’s perception of what’s important. They want real wild nature in Denmark,” Gorm Anker Gunnarsen, who represents the Red-Green Alliance on the city council, told news agency Ritzau.

An Epinion survey this week showed that 76 percent of people who live in Copenhagen are either partly or completely against development of the area.

Gunnarsen told Ritzau he still believes there is a chance of preserving the nature zone.

“We have the authority to withdraw a building permit in special circumstances,” he said.

An advisory public vote could on the matter provide the basis for this, he argued.

“This case will not then just rest on which party you are with, but also on your view of the individual case,” he said.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen natural area Amager Fælled gets new development plan