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HOUSING

Deposits, complaints and registration: Five key things to know about renting in Denmark

The Danish rental housing market can seem like an intimidating and impenetrable place. Here are five vital tips to help you as a newcomer looking for a place to rent in Denmark.

Deposits, complaints and registration: Five key things to know about renting in Denmark
Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

How do I make sure I am not being overcharged for rent?

In Denmark, the rent determination rules vary between unregulated and regulated municipalities. In regulated municipalities, there is an additional difference in these rules depending on whether or not the building consists of one to six leases or more than seven leases.

Generally, rent must correspond to the value of the lease which is determined by comparing the rent for similar leases according to location, type, size, quality, equipment, and condition.

To check whether or not the rent you are paying for your lease is appropriate by these measures, you can visit a website like checkrent.dk and enter the relevant information.

If the evaluation suggests that you are paying too much in rent, you first must address this with your landlord and request a reduction in rent. If your landlord is not amenable to your requests, you may then formally bring the case before the relevant appeals board for rented housing, Huslejenævnet, by sending an email or a letter to the board with your rental contract and your invoice for the latest rent collection. 

Cases like this typically take a few months to be settled. If your complaint is successful and was initiated within the first 12 months of taking over the lease, your rent will be reduced retroactively and going forward. Alternatively, if you bring the case after 12 months, rent reduction will be initiated only for the future.

While it can be contentious to complain to your landlord about the price of rent, it is important to know that they are not allowed to evict you because of disagreements even if those pertain to rent. 

Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

What to do if I am not allowed to register my CPR number?

In Denmark, the law requires you to register your place of residence no later than five days after you have changed residence. If you are living and renting a home or an apartment, you must register the address via borger.dk.

It is not rare for internationals and foreigners looking for short-term leases, particularly in Copenhagen, to come across advertisements on real estate platforms that have a term indicating it is not possible to register the apartment with your personal registration or CPR number.

A CPR number is the Danish equivalent of a social security code – it is used for personal identification and registration. It is also particularly important for health care reasons as an individual’s CPR number and their home address are displayed on their yellow health insurance card.

READ ALSO: Is life in Denmark impossible without a personal registration number?

Whenever you register at a new address, you receive a new yellow health insurance card and if you move to a new municipality, you also receive a new doctor. Therefore registering your new address is also of serious importance for having up to date information within the medical and health care system. 

Landlords may advertise “No-CPR-Registration” apartments if the property is registered as a “temporary” residence by the owner.

Forbidding tenants from registering an address at their property enables landlords to avoid reporting rental income and paying taxes on that income.

If you come across these ads, it is advisable to seek other available leases. If you rent an apartment without registering your CPR number, you risk not having up-to-date medical information and receiving a local doctor. You also risk legal troubles if someone reports that you are a resident in a property that is technically occupied by someone else.

File photo: David Leth Williams/Ritzau Scanpix

How do I ensure fair treatment about getting my deposit back?

When you move into a rental property, the landlord has the right to charge financial security from you. Landlords may charge up to three months’ prepaid rent, three months’ deposit, and a payment of rent for the first month — totalling an eye-watering seven months’ rent. 

The deposit is the way for the landlord to ensure that repairs can be made and painting can be done after you vacate the lease. If you damage the property and need repairs or the landlord believes the apartment needs to be painted, they can use the security deposit to cover these costs. If damages exceed the funds in the security deposit, the landlord can collect the remaining amount from you. 

According to Danish law, lejeloven (the Rent Act) does not specify a deadline for when the landlord is required to repay the deposit. They must simply repay the deposit as soon as they have evaluated and covered the costs of potential damage to the property. It is the landlord’s responsibility to prepare and present a statement outlining repairs on which the deposit has been used.

Importantly, the landlord may not charge you for more than the costs of normal renovation. Under the Rent Act, tenants are not expected or responsible for leaving the leased property in any better condition than it was when they moved in. Therefore the deposit may only cover repair costs that exceed the ordinary wear and tear that comes with living. Because of this, it is important to take pictures or videos of the apartment when you move into the property so that you can have documentation of its condition at the beginning of the lease. 

How do I file general complaints or address noise issues in my building?

If you have an issue with your living situation, whether it pertains to your apartment specifically or something in your building, the first step is bringing it to your landlord. Much like the rent disputes discussed earlier in the article, discussing issues with your landlord is always the first step in conflict resolution. 

If you are experiencing loud noise in your building, therefore, you should first bring this up with your landlord by specifying the dates and times of the noise. You should also describe the nature of the noise and where it is coming from. All of these things should be done in writing. After you have this conversation with your landlord, they should send the noisy tenant a written warning indicating the dates and times of the noise and encourage the tenant to behave differently in the future. 

Hopefully, the behaviour changes and the noise is not an issue again. If the noise continues, the case may either be brought before the rental housing board board or a housing court, or if it is a really extreme case the landlord may terminate the noisy tenant’s lease. 

If for some reason, your landlord is not responsive to your noise complaints: As in other cases when there is a disagreement between a tenant and landlord over an issue, you may bring the noise complaint directly to the appeals board Huslejenævnet to be addressed. This is important to note because sometimes landlords will rent out apartments in the building to family members or friends and will be slow to address noise complaints by other tenants. If the noise or disruption is persistent and unchanging, you may bring it yourself before the municipality’s rent board.

File photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

How do I ensure that my contract is respected or that I’m allowed to stay the full length of my lease?

There are very few circumstances in which a landlord may terminate the lease of a tenant.  The following examples are the only exceptions:

  • The landlord wants to live in the rented property themselves
  • The property must be demolished or extensively renovated
  • The tenant lives in the property as part of his work and has resigned from the employment relationship 
  • The tenant has breached good practice or other parts of the tenancy agreement (like has been exceedingly noisy or disruptive to the building)

If the tenant has broken building rules and has not been complying with good practice (noise, for example), the eviction goes into effect immediately. This is contingent upon the landlord having provided successive written warnings to the tenant. In all of the other circumstances, the landlord must give a certain amount of notice to the tenant before they must move out. If it is just a room that the tenant is renting, the landlord must give one month’s notice. Otherwise, the landlord must give a one-year notice. 

Sources: Lejeloven, Boligportal.dk (1), Boligportal.dk (2)

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For members

HEALTH

What are the rules on accessing the UK health service if you live in Denmark?

If you're British and live in Denmark you will previously have been registered with the National Health Service, but once you move abroad things change - here's what this means for accessing UK healthcare both on a regular basis and if you have an accident or fall sick while on a visit back to the UK.

What are the rules on accessing the UK health service if you live in Denmark?

The NHS is described by the British government as a “residence-based health service” which means that if you don’t live in the UK you’re not automatically entitled to NHS care, even if you are a British citizen and even if you still pay tax in the UK.

However funding, access and care rules can vary depending on your circumstances.

Moving to Denmark

All persons who are registered as resident in Denmark and have been issued with a personal registration number are entitled to all public health services.

In some cases, you can also use Denmark’s public health system if you are not a permanent or temporary resident of the country.

Here’s how to go about accessing Denmark’s health system after arriving in the country.

Denmark’s health services included under the public health system provide you with a family doctor or GP as well as free specialist consultations and treatments under the national health system, should you be referred for these.

It should be noted that, as previously reported by The Local, foreign nationals can experience extended waiting times on residence applications in Denmark. Since they may not have automatic access to the public health system during this time, some decide to take out private health insurance to cover the waiting period.

READ ALSO: Applying for residency in Denmark: Why you might need health insurance during processing period

Can I stay registered with my UK GP?

No, you need to have a local address to be registered with an NHS GP. In practice, many people don’t get around to telling their GP that they have moved and so stay registered for months or even years, but technically you should notify your GP so that you can be removed from the NHS register. 

Even if you do remain registered with a UK GP, they won’t be able to issue prescriptions for you in Denmark as most UK GPs are not licensed to practice outside the UK – therefore are not covered by insurance.

If you are on regular medication it may be possible for your GP to issue you with an advance stock of medication to cover you while you get settled in Denmark, but many prescriptions are limited to a maximum of three months.

What about travelling outside Denmark?

Once you’re registered in the Danish system you will be able to get a European health insurance card, the blå EU-sygesikringskort (blue EU health insurance card).

This covers medical care while on trips in Europe and basically the same as the EHIC you might have had while you were registered in the UK but it’s not issued automatically, you have to request it.

You must have legal residence in Denmark and be a resident of an EU country or the UK, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein to be eligible for the card in Denmark. The UK is included here under an agreement with the EU following Brexit. The card can be applied for here.

If travelling outside of Europe – for example, a holiday in the US – you need to ensure that you have travel insurance with full medical cover in case of any mishaps while abroad. 

What about trips back to the UK?

Although your day-to-day healthcare may be covered by the Danish system, there’s still the possibility or falling sick or having an accident while on a trip back to the UK. 

The Danish blue EU health insurance card covers all trips in the EU and European Economic Area, as well as Switzerland and the UK.

The card covers essential treatments that you receive while in the UK but not those which medical personnel deem can wait until you return home.

If you are charged for medical care while in the UK because you do not have a UK address, and think you should have been covered by the blue health card, you can apply for the costs to be refunded after you return to Denmark.

In practice, most UK nationals who need to use the NHS while on trips back to the UK report that no-one ever thinks to ask whether they are UK residents.

Some Brits living in Denmark may keep their registration with a UK GP and make regular trips back to get prescriptions, but while this can happen in practice it does involve lying or at least being economical with the truth about where you live.

Emergency care

There are certain types of NHS care that are not charged for, such as A&E treatment or treatment from paramedics, but if you need to be admitted to hospital you may have to pay.

NHS hospitals won’t turn you away if you cannot prove residency, but they may present you with a bill when you leave if you cannot prove either residency or health cover in a European country.

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