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EXPLAINED: How to get out of a rental contract in Denmark

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How to get out of a rental contract in Denmark
What are your options when you quit your rental home in Denmark or elsewhere? Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

Terminating a rental contract in Denmark is a common yet strictly regulated process, and as a tenant, you need to be aware of both your rights and responsibilities if you decide to terminate your lease.

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Ending a rental contract is something many people experience at some point during their life. People part ways with their rental homes for various reasons, whether due to personal circumstances, a relocation to a new job, a fresh start in a new town, or a need to manage finances differently.

Despite it being a standard occurrence, there are some things you need to know when you're ready to make that move.

Can you get out of a rental contract after signing it?

So, you've signed a lease, but circumstances have changed, and you're contemplating whether there's any way to cancel the contract. Perhaps you stumbled upon a more centrally located home or discovered a more budget-friendly alternative.

In most situations, the Danish Tenancy Act (Lejeloven) doesn't provide tenants with an actual right to cancel a rental contract or agreement on their own, as Digura - a digital platform that assists tenants in Denmark with resolving disputes with their landlords - points out on its website.

To figure out if you can terminate a lease, you need to determine whether there's a legally binding agreement in place between you and the landlord. If you find yourself in such a situation, it's always a good idea to consult a lawyer to clarify your rights and obligations.

In fixed-term tenancies, those where you and the landlord have agreed upon a specific end date for the tenancy, the general principle under Danish contract law is that agreements must be upheld as initially entered into. In other words, if you've signed a lease for 12 months, you're typically obliged to pay rent for the entire 12-month period, regardless of whether you reside in the apartment or not.



One potential alternative is to find someone else willing to assume the tenancy. If you can secure another tenant willing to pay the rent in your place, many landlords may allow you to move out before the lease expires.

Ultimately, you can choose not to move into the property. However, you'll still be obligated to pay the agreed-upon rent until either the notice period expires or the contract ends.

With indefinite rental contracts, you're typically bound by what you've agreed upon in the lease. These agreements often come with a notice period of 3 months. Breaking this notice period can be challenging, as it's generally not considered unreasonably long.

In most cases, you'll be required to continue paying rent for the apartment during the notice period. If you decide to exit the property before the notice period concludes, the landlord has an obligation to make reasonable efforts to re-let the property to minimise your losses.


Giving written notice

When it comes to terminating your (indefinite) rental contract in Denmark, it's important to remember that written notice is mandatory.

Regardless of your reason for termination, you must put it in writing and provide it to your landlord.

This written termination should include your name, email, phone number, and the address of the rented residence.

In the notice, specify the date you plan to move out and provide your bank details so that the deposit you gave when you moved in can be refunded to you.

If you have a new address, include that as well. If not, inform your landlord of your new address at least eight days before your move-out date.

It's also a good practice to inform your landlord when the leased residence will be emptied, as this can help them find a new tenant more easily.

Note: Starting from January 1st, 2019, new rules within the Danish Tenancy Act came into effect. These rules allow you to terminate your tenancy digitally via email as long as both you and your landlord have each other's email addresses. If you don't have your landlord's email, you'll need to send your termination through traditional mail.


Notice periods

The Tenancy Act prescribes specific notice periods for termination. In most cases, you must provide a 3-month notice period when terminating a lease, whether it's for a house or an apartment.

The notice period always starts on the first day of the month, so plan accordingly. 

Furthermore, if your lease has a set end date, you don't need to provide notice upon expiration. The lease will end automatically. Time-limited leases typically last for 6, 12, or 24 months, as agreed upon, so make sure to check your contract.

If you plan to move out before your notice period ends, your landlord is obligated to find a new tenant as soon as possible.

If a new tenant is found, you won't be responsible for paying rent beyond their move-in date. This obligation to find a new tenant starts as soon as you move out, not just after the notice period expires.

What if your landlord decides to terminate the lease?

As a tenant in Denmark, your rights are well protected - some specific requirements and timeframes must be met for your landlord to terminate your tenancy.

Termination occurs when the rental contract is ended following the terms of the Tenancy Act.

Generally, landlords cannot terminate a tenant with an indefinite rental agreement unless specific reasons, as outlined in sections §83 and §84 of the Tenancy Act, apply.

These reasons may include the tenant mistreating the property or the landlord planning to move in (with a 1-year notice).


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