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Our Little Slice of Copenhagen

On the 1st of September we made one of our boldest changes yet, and moved into a lovely little office on Bredgade, right in the heart of Copenhagen. This has had so many positive impacts on us: it made us more accessible for visits from clients, gave us the flexibility to visit apartments and arrange meetings at short notice and put us a stone’s throw from some of Copenhagen’s most beautiful attractions. This last point has not gone unappreciated by the Charlie’s Roof team; follow us on Facebook and you will see our frequent posts about the beauty of our home city!

Today marks an extra special day in our appreciation of our location, as we were able to see a fantastic tradition up close. Every new ambassador to Denmark is invited to a reception with the Queen at Amalienborg (just around the corner from our office), which they arrive at by horse-drawn carriage. They begin at Kastellet and travel through the city to Amalienborg, accompanied by the wonderfully named Gardehusarregimentets Hesteskadron! This squadron is part of one of only two remaining cavalry regiments of the Danish Army and they were an incredible sight to behold, with very dramatic, old-fashioned formal uniforms. Events such as this feel very rare in our modern world and it was an honour to be a small part of it. The short walk back to the office was also much appreciated in this cold weather!

On your next visit to the Queen be sure to drop by the Charlie’s Roof office for a cup of coffee and a chat. We are open every day from 10 until 2 at Bredgade 51.

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Building a New Website – a Guide for Dummies

It’s been four weeks since Charlie’s Roof was born: the name, the brand, the website, the webshop; it was all launched on one hectic day in October. A daunting challenge for even the most experienced of entrepreneurs or branding specialists, neither of which we are! However, what we lack in IT and marketing knowledge, we make up for in heart, commitment, drive and love for what we do, so we somehow made it through the last few months and out the other side unscathed (well, relatively).

We love our new name and the brand that comes with – and we have had lots of good feedback from clients and industry contacts alike. No more confusion between us and some of our colleagues in housing! Now we stand alone … which comes with some pressure to deliver stand-out service. But as ever, we are up to the challenge. The change to the name and website also incorporated some change to our services, in structure and in content. The goal hasn’t changed though: we aim to help as many people as possible find and settle into their new home in Denmark. The new structure aims to make it easier for our clients to choose the services applicable to them, without having to pay for services they won’t use.

We are so happy with our new website as it was definitely time for a change in that department. As is not uncommon, the work required to make a new website from scratch was drastically underestimated by all of us (except our fearless developer, Frank Wiwe, whose warnings we foolishly ignored). But let’s focus on the positives, which are that we are 99% of the way there to the finished product, just a few final touches left! We hope you love it, and we are very open to feedback if there are things you think are great, or could be better.

Celebrating our new website launch!

 

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Charlie’s Roof in Aarhus

Charlie’s Roof has a new guy in Aarhus and this is something that we are very excited about. Aarhus has always been a city of interest for internationals – and this year Aarhus University had a record high number of international applicants to the university. 3.676 EU citizens alone registered to enrol at Aarhus University. We at Charlie’s Roof, would of course be delighted to help as many internationals as possible find accommodation in Aarhus and the surrounding areas. The story goes that students in Aarhus sometimes have to live in tents in parks and on balconies (!) in August/September when studies are commencing. We have a great desire to make life easier for these people, and hopefully we can help ease their move to Denmark.

The rest of Jutland also has many interesting workplaces for internationals, such as Vestas, Arla, Lego, Bestseller and Danfoss – and our aim is to help as many as these new employees settle down painlessly in Denmark. So if you know anyone who needs help find their feet and a roof over their head in Jutland, please refer them to us. We are ready to help!

Daniel Nissen Lauritsen – our guy in Aarhus – has years of experience on the housing market. He has spent time living in London, so he knows the challenges of living away from your birth country and fitting into a new society, with new people, rules and norms. If you ask him, the best decision he ever made in his life was to move to another country, and thereby experience a new culture, which ultimately made him feel like he was living a different life. Almost like a fresh start, that didn’t reset his life back in Denmark, but instead provided him with brand new opportunities while living in London.

“I moved to London at a young age. I was 18, and I was concerned with the fact that people might not want to take me seriously. We all have our prejudices about other cities, countries and continents, and before I got on the plane I thought to myself; how will I ever get a job that both interests me, motivates me, and drives me? My second questions was more along the lines of; where am I supposed to live? Isn’t London crazy expensive? Should I maybe just stay for a shorter period of time, so that I do not have to worry about this? Luckily all of those questions were answered right when I met my Danish roommates at the Hostel, where I began my journey. My 6-month trip, turned into a year, and when the time had arrived for me to go back home and begin my studies at university, I did not want to leave.”

– Daniel Nissen Lauritsen, Housing Manager Aarhus

 

Charlie’s Roof welcomes Daniel and all of our future Aarhus and Jutland based clients. For the rest of 2017 Daniel has decided that he wants to help as many internationals move to Denmark, so that they can hopefully have the same experience as he did upon leaving Denmark for another country. Charlie’s Roof Aarhus will do this by giving all new clients looking for accommodation in Jutland a 20% discount on your success fee.

We are so excited to hear from all of you, whether you are explorers, students, professors, expats, lost or whatever you are! At Charlie’s Roof we are here to guide you through the ever intimidating Danish housing market.

Welcome to the family!

 

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The story behind the Offer List

The Offer List (which used to be called the Budget and Shared Accommodation Service) has been my baby since I started with Copenhagen Housing. When I first met with Charlotte and we discussed the needs of the company, it was clear that we needed to find a way of helping room seekers, those looking to share an apartment with friends and those looking for budget accommodation in Copenhagen. When Charlotte started the company, she already knew from her previous experience that it would be far more difficult to find suitable properties for these clients than for ‘regular’ clients (singles, couples and families with higher budgets). Therefore, it wasn’t possible to charge them a start-up fee, the same as for her other clients, because she wasn’t certain that she would be able to find them what they were looking for. But nonetheless, sometimes perfect offers cheap apartments, rooms, or apartments suitable for sharing would come to her via her contacts, and she would not have any clients for them. This seemed like a total waste! So something needed to be done about it…

When fate brought me and Charlotte together in September 2016, one of the first things I did was start working on the Offer List. This was a way of accumulating clients looking for these kinds of housing so that when the offers came from contacts, we had a dedicated list of interested clients. By just charging a small registration fee to cover the administration involved in registering clients and maintaining the service, the service is accessible to as many people as possible, something which we really value at Charlie’s Roof. We keep the success fees for this service as low as possible for the same reason. And as with all of our services, if you don’t find an apartment through us, you don’t pay.

I am always working on developing and advancing the Offer List. I’ve sussed out the usual suspects for cheap apartments and the most sharing-friendly landlords and I’m always trying my best to find more. It’s still a work-in-progress but we hope in time to be able to help all of our Offer List clients find the perfect place for them. And now that Elke is working on the Offer List with me as well, we can achieve that goal even faster.

 

 

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The Copenhagen problem – and how we help to solve it

The following article is translated from a June 2017 edition of Berlingske:

Mille Jensen is well-educated and well-paid but for her to get a rental apartment in Copenhagen was extremely hard. Mille hit the “invisible town-wall“ when she tried to find an apartment in Copenhagen last Fall. The 27-year old woman from Jutland found a job in Copenhagen but then the problems started.

Mille is one of the many resourceful citizens Copenhagen has had more and more of during the past decades. The citizens who have been part of changing Copenhagen from an industrial city to a knowledge city with clean streets, renovated apartments and a city life worthy of social media. But she is also an example of the housing situation that can make it very very hard to get a foothold in Copenhagen.

“It was extremely hard to get an apartment. All I could rent was a 1-bedroom place in Sydhavnen for 12.500 kroner + utilities per month. This was more than half of my net income each month,” Mille Jensen says. Her budget was ca 10.000 kroner per month, and to avoid competition from the many students in the city, she looked for +6.000 kroner rooms in shared apartments. This was how she got to rent a room in a house in Søborg, where 2 people lived in the basement and she and another woman lived on the ground floor. The landlord lived on the first floor. This was the situation a month and a half, until the landlord decided that the other tenant could not have her boyfriend visit her. “He threw her out because her boyfriend visited. I told him that it was illegal to throw her out like that and then he kicked me out as well and had all of my belongings removed. It is crazy to be new in a city like this, but I am lucky to have a job at a place where people have some means and have offered me to stay in guest rooms around the city. Mille ended up buying an “andelslejlighed” (a share in a cooperative housing association) and today she is happy. But this experience tells me that something is seriously wrong with the Copenhagen rental market, if landlords can act the way they do. They have too much power because people feel hopeless and vulnerable.”

She declines to having been too naïve: “I think it is spoiled to think that you can get a city centre apartment for 5.000 per month, but I actually think that I had a reasonable budget. And still it was impossible. Having to buy an Andelslejlighed was absolutely not my dream, but it turned out to be the only solution to the Copenhagen rental nightmare.”

As this article describes, the situation in Copenhagen is problematic in multiple different ways. The huge demand for small, cheap apartments (caused by a few different factors, as described here) means that landlords have all the power, because they have a never ending supply of potential tenants. At Charlie’s Roof we can elevate your chances of getting one of these hard-to-access apartments, because we have direct contact to the landlords. But also, by working with us and our reputable landlords, you avoid the negative situation with a nasty landlord that Mille describes above.