About two-fifths of the population in Denmark live in housing that they do not own themselves. Instead they rent it from a company or a social housing company. It is thus completely normal to rent a home.
There is a shortage of housing in Denmark, especially affordable housing. Therefore, finding a good rental can be difficult, especially through a social housing company. If you are new in the country and don’t know the system, you can often end up renting expensive and poor housing because the landlord is taking advantage of the situation. But you don’t have to tolerate this!
In the following you can see some of the most common situations that people coming to Denmark to work find themselves in. You can also see what you can do to improve your housing situation.
- You have rented a room from a private owner – you live in an apartment with the person who owns the apartment in your own room and with access to a kitchen and shower: It is an insecure way of living. Your rental agreement can be canceled with one months’ notice. But the rent is maximized by law.
If you pay more than 3500 kr. for a room, there is good reason to look into whether your rent may be too high, who can help you getting the authorities to lower the rent and maybe even help to get some of your money back.
- You share a room with others and only have your own bed: This is in principle illegal in Denmark, but many do it anyway. If you pay more than 1500 kr. a month you are almost certainly paying too much – this also applies if you are renting the bed from your employer.
- You rent an apartment with others and have your own room – but the owner of the apartment doesn’t live there: The total rent paid by everyone should not be more than 900 kr. per square meter per year.
- You have rented an apartment on your own from a private owner or a private company: The rent should maximally be at 1600 kr. per square meter per year. – But only if the apartment has a relatively new shower and kitchen.
If the rent is higher than the limit set in the four examples or if the place you live is in poor condition, then it might be a good idea to seek help, and find out if you are entitled to a lower rent, or money back. According to the Danish rent law (lejeloven).
Reed the rent law in ordinary danish here: https://www.lejeloven.dk/fortolkning
(Google translate can perhaps help you understand it)
You can read some useful information about the Danish rent law in English here: https://www.lejeloven.dk/en
Rent courts (Huslejenævn) have been set up in all municipalities, where you can raise a case without process costs. The Rent court can demand that the rent be reduced, with retroactive effect, up to 12 months after you paid rent for the first time.
You can raise such a case yourself, but it is probably best to get help for it. For help you can contact the renters union (LLO) www.llo.dk.
It is also possible that you can get help a legal aid organization (retshjælp) like www.copenhagenlegalaid.com or www.lejerens-fr.dk/
Be aware that according to the law, you can't be thrown out on the grounds that you complain about the rent, but you must know that the landlord may find another excuse to throw you out.
Be careful when entering the rental housing market,. Many who are new to the Danish society gets cheated. You should always check whether the person you rent from are allowed to rent out their place – otherwise you’ll risk losing your money and maybe the rental too. If something looks exceptionally cheap or nice, be extra careful. Use all your options for getting more information, HOW?
You can look up the housing on the internet on the website www.ois.dk. Here you can see who owns it – if it is not the same person owning it who is renting it out to you, you should ask how that can be. You can also ask the neighbor if they know the owner.
LLO will help you as best they can if you are a member. In the same way as the labor unions and insurance companies, you need to sign up before you get a problem. www.llo.dk
Bouth LLO and the legal aid organizations will properly only understand English, but if you are in the greater Copenhagen area, you can also get some assistance with translation from MigrantCenter Copenhagen: www.migrantcenter.dk