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RENTING

Five essential words you need when renting a home in Denmark

Renting a home in Denmark is no walk in the park, especially in the big cities. We can’t find you a flat, but hope we can help you along the way with some useful vocab.

Housing in Copenhagen. A few key Danish words might make finding a place to rent just a little bit easier..
A few key Danish words might make finding a place to rent just a little bit easier.. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

If Danish is your second language but you feel comfortable enough with it to use in official correspondences, knowing a few key technical words can enable you to put your existing proficiency to reliable use.

Looking for rental housing could be one such situation. In our personal experience, landlords can entirely refuse to communicate in English.

Even in less difficult situations, knowing the right words can make it easier to understand and correctly react to posts on rental housing sites like Boligsiden, when you want to be quick and efficient at responding.

We’ve put together an outline of some of these words, their meanings and the context in which you might use them. If there’s anything important you think we’ve missed, let us know.

READ ALSO: Five essential words you need when speaking to a doctor in Denmark 

Husleje

From the verb at leje (to rent), the husleje is the rent you pay on a property. Related words include lejer (tenant), udlejer (landlord), lejekontrakt (rental contract) and fremleje (sublet).

Other compound words and phrases involving leje are found in rental agreements. You’re unlikely to find them elsewhere but they are important for understanding you contract properly. For example, you will be obliged to move out of the lejemål (property) on the date set by a tidsbegrænset lejeaftale (fixed-period rental agreement).

Opsigelse 

Termination of a rental contract is opsigelse in Danish. This normally applies to giving notice when moving out of your apartment, but your contract can also be opsagt (terminated) by a landlord if you have breached the terms in a way that gives them the legal basis to do this.

You can find more on the legal ins and outs of this here (in Danish).

You might recognise the word from the related at sige op (to quit), usually used when handing in a notice at a job.

Indskud/depositum

 The deposit you must pay before moving in is known in Danish as either the indskud or depositum. You’re also likely to be required to stump up forudbetalt husleje (rent upfront).

Rental contracts can stipulate up to three months of rent upfront, and deposits can also be as much as three months’ rent, meaning you can be faced with paying eye-watering costs equivalent to six months of rent before even getting the keys to your flat.

People who live in subsidised rental housing (almene boliger) can apply to the local municipality for a special loan to pay these moving-in costs. The interest on the rent is very low and it is usually only paid back when you are returned your deposit (or what’s left of it) after moving out.

Boligstøtte 

Literally ‘housing support’, boligstøtte is a deduction to your rent which takes the form of money paid into your account by the state. You can qualify for it depending on a number of criteria including your income, the size of the property you rent, and how many people are living there (and contributing to the rent).

Tenants in both private and subsidised rental homes can qualify for the subsidy, which must be applied for digitally via the Borger.dk platform.

Ungdomsbolig 

You are allowed to live in an ungdomsbolig (‘youth housing’) if you are enrolled in full time education.

Such housing can be found either with regular housing associations or by applying for an apartment with youth housing associations in the cities in Denmark which have universities and other major educational institutions.

There can be a long waiting list before you are offered an apartment through this route, and you may find a kollegieværelse (room in student halls) is your first point of call for living in Denmark as a student. But various personal factors, including your studies, financial and social situations are taken into account when you apply for a student flat.

You can see a list of the various youth housing associations in Danish university cities here.

READ ALSO: Five key things to know about renting in Denmark

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MONEY

Boligstøtte: Who can claim Denmark’s national rent subsidy?

Residents of Denmark can in some cases apply for ‘boligstøtte’ (“housing support”), a reduction on their monthly rent.

Boligstøtte: Who can claim Denmark's national rent subsidy?

What is boligstøtte? 

Boligstøtte is a tax-free sum which people who live in rented housing can – in some cases – qualify for. It provides a subsidy to rent.

The subsidy is available to anyone who rents their home, provided the home meets certain criteria and the household income is under a certain level.

For example, your rental home must have its own kitchen (which would rule out student housing with shared kitchens, termed kollegier in Danish) and you must live permanently in the property.

Homeowners can also be entitled to apply for boligstøtte under certain circumstances. In such cases, the boligstøtte is a loan and not a subsidy, however.

The size of the subsidy – the amount of money you receive each month – depends on the overall income of the household (the total of the incomes of all wage earners at the address), the number of children and adults who live at the address, the amount of rent and the size of the house or apartment.

Boligstøtte is paid out on the first working day of each month.

How do I know if I’m entitled to boligstøtte?

Most people can apply for boligstøtte if they live in rented housing. There are a few living situations that can disqualify you, such as if you live with the owner of the property (including as a tenant) or if you own the property yourself and rent part of it.

You can, however, apply for the subsidy if you live in a property owned by your parents and pay rent to them (known as a forældrekøb – “parent purchase” – in Danish).

You can also apply for boligstøtte if you are sub-letting your house or flat, although the person sub-letting to you might have to change their address in order to avoid their income being taken into account in your application.

People who own their homes can receive bolistøtte (as a subsidy, not as a loan as detailed above) if they receive the state pension folkepension, or disability pension, førtidspension.

How and where do I apply?

You can submit an application via the borger.dk website at this link. The application platform will ask you to submit a rental contract and other documentation for your claim to be processed.

If you’re applying after moving to a new address, you must have registered your change of address with the national personal registry prior to applying. This can be done here. If you apply within 30 days of moving, the subsidy will be effective from the date you moved in. Otherwise, it will count from the first day of the following month from when you submit your application.

The processing time for the application can be up to seven weeks. You’ll receive a confirmation of your application via your Digital Mail inbox, and you will also receive notification here once the application has been processed.

By how much can I reduce my rent?

This depends on the various factors on which your eligibility is calculated – for some, you will not qualify to receive any subsidy at all.

There are five criteria upon which your eligibility – and the amount you receive – is calculated. They are the income of the household; the savings or fortune of people in the household; number of children and adults living at the address; size of the home (in square metres) and amount of rent paid.

You will receive more money if you have more children. For example, people who live in rented homes and are not receiving the state pension can get up to 1,039 kroner per month if they have no children; up to 3,654 kroner per month if they have 1-3 children; and up to 4,568 kroner per month if they have 4 children or more.

The borger.dk website has a tool on which you can estimate your boligstøtte here.

Source: borger.dk

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