Renting in Denmark

It won’t take any newcomers to Copenhagen or Aarhus long to realise that the Danish rental market is incredibly complex, competitive and completely crazy! That’s why we are here to help you navigate the madness. The following are some important things to be aware of in relation to the market and rented accommodation here in general.

Monthly budget

You are likely already aware that rent levels in this city are high and the competitiveness of the market means that things change very fast. Especially at lower budget levels, you need to be prepared to act very quickly in order to secure accommodation that suits your needs. Decisions sometimes have to be made on the spot.

Approximate rent levels for Copenhagen city:

  • Room in shared accommodation: 5000-7000 kroner per month.
  • Small apartment: from 10.000 kroner per month + utilities.
  • 2 bedroom apartment:13.000 kroner and up (even up to 25.000 kroner, if the address and condition are perfect.

In addition to high rents, the deposit and prepaid rent terms often take newcomers by surprise. 3 months deposit is required as standard and up to 3 months prepaid rent can also be requested (this covers the last months of rent before move-out). The first month’s rent is also required along with the deposit and prepaid rent after signing the contract, so for a 25.000kr apartment this could add up to a 175.000kr upfront payment.

Points to note

In Denmark rentals are always listed with gross area, as opposed to net. For apartments, parts of the common areas, staircase, lift and even the walls are included in the gross area, so the actual living space – the net area – can be substantially smaller than what you expect.

The Danish way of describing apartments refers to both bedrooms and any living rooms (e.g. family room, dining room) just as ‘rooms’. So that means a ‘2 room apartment’ is an apartment with one bedroom and one living room (plus kitchen and bathroom of course). If you need two bedrooms you must look for a 3 room apartment, for three bedrooms a 4 room apartment etc. A 1 room apartment has no separate bedroom and is also called a studio. Note: a 3 room apartment could also refer to one that has a living room, a dining room and one bedroom.

Furnished or unfurnished?

Even unfurnished rentals in Denmark have functional kitchens with a fridge (often freezer as well), hob and oven. Other large appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers are also often provided. So an unfurnished apartment is not totally empty.

It is important to be aware that unfurnished, time-unlimited tenancies must be taken over as “newly renovated”. This means you may be required to paint the walls and repair any damage to the floors, which can really add up in terms of cost.

Fixed term tenancies are often taken over “as seen” so there may be some existing defects. As long as it is in a similar condition – with normal wear and tear accepted – when you move-out, you will not have to pay renovation costs.

What about utilities?

Rent is often listed excluding utilities. However, heat and water are usually paid directly to the landlord every month along with the rent. A fixed amount (“aconto”) is charged and when the landlord gets the bill from the heat and water company, the difference between what has been paid and what has been used will be calculated and settled between landlord and tenant. In most cases electricity is paid directly to the supplier by the tenant. This is also usually the case for internet.
The media licence is not exactly a utility but it is a charge that all households are expected to pay (the only exception is if you do not own any of the following: TV, laptop, tablet or smartphone). It must be paid directly to DR (the state broadcaster).

Contract and deposit

Lease contracts in Denmark are (almost) always in Danish. You should have a colleague, friend or us help you go through it. Especiallly §11 needs attention: this is the section in which landlords can write any additional terms, and sometimes there can be some surprises here.

Do not pay your deposit in cash! Always have a signed contract and pay via bank transfer so that it can be tracked.

It is common for rent to increase according to the net price index. This is usually around 2% per year. You can see the updated net price index overview here.

Be aware of scammers!

Due to the extreme pressure within the rental market there are many scams on the various housing portals and elsewhere. If you’re looking at a rental property that looks too good to be true, it probably doesn’t exist. At the same time, while these advertising scams do exist, in reality there is very little corruption from actual landlords and agents within the industry. At Charlie’s Roof we only work with reputable landlords and companies, which means that you can put your trust in us and who we work with. It is particularly important to realise that, unlike in many other countries, it is completely normal to conduct all business over email and online, and it is not necessary to meet face to face in order to establish trust.

How to be a good neighbour

For many people moving to Copenhagen it may be the first time living in an apartment building or at least for a long while. Generally people in the UK live in houses and for many a family home will be significantly larger than a family apartment in a European capital city, especially in Copenhagen. Here you can find some advice on how to be a good neighbor (by Dejlige Days, Melanie Haynes).