Finding a place to live in Denmark can be quite a hassle, but it is possible. If you want to tackle the market on your own, this blogpost will help you on your way.
The Danish rental market
Sites such as boligportal.dk and lejebolig.dk show the majority of what is available on the rental market, but also a few things that are not. For instance, ads can be kept online for a long time after they have actually been rented out, in order to encourage people to buy membership to the site. When you are looking at the cheaper end of the market, you would be lucky to get a reply from a landlord once every 10th-20th time. However, this problem is not as extensive with the more expensive rentals which have lower demand. Sometimes, it can help if you are able to communicate to landlords in Danish.
While there are scammers, the level of housing fraud in Denmark is generally quite low. In this regard it is usually best just to approach situations with common sense: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
What is permissible?
Interestingly, it is often completely legal requests and contract terms which cause new tenants the most concern. For example, having to pay 3 months prepaid rent plus 3 months deposit plus the 1st month of rent upfront is legal and expected in certain cases. Also, being asked to vacate the apartment up to 14 days before the end of the rent period to allow the landlord time to make renovations is, frustratingly, perfectly permissible.
Whether “going it alone” or getting professional help, clauses like these are just part and parcel of renting in Denmark.
Be aware that sometimes there is room for negotiation, other times it is not possible at all. Big administration companies rarely negotiate rent, while the high demand for cheap rentals makes it mostly impossibly to negotiate for smaller, cheaper apartments as well.
Furnished or unfurnished?
Even unfurnished rentals in Denmark have functional kitchens with at least basic white goods, and with a trip to IKEA you can easily have a fully furnished rental without spending hundreds of thousands on furniture. Be aware though, that unfurnished long term rentals can almost cost the same as small furnished places, as demand for these is high.
Worthy of note
The m2 area listed on ads for Danish apartments is almost always gross, and therefore does not represent the actual available living area. This can cause a lot of confusion, as in many other countries it is the net living area which is advertised.
Apartment descriptions count the number of rooms in the apartment as being any living, dining and bedrooms. Kitchen and bathroom are not included in this count. This means that it is impossible to tell just from the room count whether an apartment has a stand-alone kitchen, or an open kitchen-living room. A 4-room apartment could be e.g. 3 bedrooms, a living room, a separate kitchen and a bathroom OR a living room, a dining room, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom OR another set-up.
The vast majority of landlords, whether private or professional, use the standard A9 rental contract. There are English translations of sections 1-10 available online, but it is section 11 which is the most important. This is where all of the extra terms and conditions are listed, and this is the section you should read carefully. Google Translate will usually translate it quite well, but ask a Danish friend or colleague to help if there are still parts you don’t understand.
How can we help?
For those who have found a place to rent on their own, but want some assurance from a professional, we have some very affordable services starting from just DKK800.
- Scam Check – contains: 1) landlord check-up, 2) lease explanation and 3) investigation of whether negotiation of rent and terms is possible (we negotiate on your behalf if possible).
- Accommodation Already Found – contains: 1) viewing of the property, 2) landlord check-up, 3) lease explanation and 4) investigation of whether negotiation of rent and terms is possible (we negotiate on your behalf if possible).
- Single Viewing – we will visit a property on your behalf, taking photos and videos in order to document the condition, or doing a live video viewing with you if possible.
- Lease Contract Explanation – a full translation of your contract from section 1 to 11.
Good luck with your home search!