The Danish Rental Law is complex and applies differently based on whether the home is public or private sector, the age of the home and what is being rented. I have heard so many stories of people having trouble with their landlord or their lease, and expats and international students are vulnerable due to the lack of knowledge about the Danish rental market and rental law. So I decided to make a post to help people coming to Denmark navigate safely while getting settled.
This may seem silly to some to mention but I just want to mention that the Danish rental law applies the same throughout the country whether it be the smaller cities or the larger one like Copenhagen, Aarhus or Odense, there are no regional laws or regulations.
I have singled out the following parts of the rental law, if you know these, remember them and make sure to use them then for the most part you should do just fine when dealing with landlords.
In Denmark we have regulations regarding rent which limit how much a landlord can ask for. I am going to simplify it a little bit here to make it more reader friendly, you don’t need to know all the details because I will give you a few links to webpages that will calculate these things for you.
The thing to note is that rent regulation doesn’t apply for all homes and in all parts of the country equally. There is a simple rule to go by though, homes built after January 1st, 1992 are not rent regulated while homes built before January 1st 1992 are regulated. For apartments that are not regulated the landlords can set the rent freely.
If you paid too much rent, you can get your money back
If a landlord has charged too much rent it is possible to lodge a complaint with the Danish rent tribunal (Huslejenævn) who will then order the landlord to reduce the rent and also pay back any excess already paid by the renter. The correct or legal level of rent is not explicitly stated anywhere since there are several factors that effects it.
These factors are size of the home, location, no of rooms, state of the home, history of the home, price level in the area and others. There are webpages however that have gathered the information necessary and are capable of calculating if the rent for a specific apartment is too high or not.
The whole process of filing a complaint is actually still manual(i.e not digitized yet) and each complaint is evaluated case by case by the rental tribunal, who then decides what the appropriate rent should be. While the exact level of rent for a specific apartment should be is difficult to establish beforehand it is possible to estimate it using the website www.tjekdinleje.dk and thereby evaluate whether your rent is too high.
Should you file a complaint with the rent committee?
Some renters chose to lodge a complaint with the rent committee and some do not. Those who do not raise a case usually don’t in order to maintain a positive relationship with their landlord. The landlord will lose money if the rent is reduced and most will likely be angered by this. There have been cases of people being harassed, eviction and such by a landlord following a reduction in rent by the committee. In the end the decision is up to you.
When you enter into a rental agreement in Denmark the law allows for the landlord to ask for security in two forms actually, the security deposit and what in Danish is called pre-paid rent.
Pre-paid rent is a really bad name for it, because it’s lets you think that you pay rent up front. This is not the case however, and many people start by getting notices that they haven’t paid their rent. Pre-paid rent is actually rent reserved for the last period of your rental period. It’s a measure so that the landlord doesn’t risk having the tenant move out and not paying last months’ rent.
So if you start by transferring money for the deposit and pre-paid rent you still need to pay rent as normal for day 1.
Your landlord risks jail if greedy
A landlord can ask for a maximum of 3 months’ rent as a deposit to be used to fix any damages things that need to be brought in order when the tenant moves out. Examples of this could be painting the walls. A landlord can also ask for a maximum of 3 months pre-paid rent to cover expenses in the situation that a renter leaves the rented home before the end of the termination period. Be mindful if a landlord asks for more than this, they may want to have a more security but that will be illegal. A landlord can by law not ask for more than the 3+3 months, and risks being sentenced to fines or even jail if he or she does.
In Denmark renters are very well protected from eviction by the landlord. Professional or corporate landlords can only evict you if you break the rental agreement or lease, damage the property or violate the regulations of the housing association.
If the home that you rent is owned by an individual and the individual is the landlord then besides the before mentioned reasons the landlord does have another option to evict you. A private individual can evict a tenant with 1 years notice but only if the landlord intends to inhabit the apartment or house themselves.
Time-limited rental agreements are possible in Danish law but regulated as well. If a lease is time limited it must say so in the lease and the lease must automatically end at the designated date. When Time limited rental agreements end it does not count as an eviction.
Notice of termination by the tenant
In Denmark the law allows for a 3 month notice of termination period, meaning that from the time you move out you are still obligated to pay rent for 3 months if a new tenant is not found. Should the landlord find a new renter who moves into the home before the end of this period then you are no longer obligated to pay rent. In the major cities apartments rarely stay vacant for long so this rarely becomes an issue.
When a tenant moves into a rented home, the new tenant and the landlord must fill out a moving-in report (indflytningsrapport). This is a requirement by law and the responsibility lies with the landlord. There is one exception to this and that is if the landlord only own one rental unit in which case it is not required by law. It is always a good idea though, ask for it if your landlords doesn’t bring it up.
The purpose of the report is to document the “state” of the home and record any damages and short comings so as the renter is not liable for these when he or she terminates the lease.
When a renter terminates the rental agreement then a moving out inspection and a report (fraflytningsrapport) must be filled out. again, this is a requirement by law unless the landlord only has one rental unit.
The moving out report must be sent to the tenant otherwise it’s not valid and the tenant can’t be held liable for any repairs and maintenance. It’s the responsibility of the landlord to make arrangements for the inspection. In the report the landlord must document all the repairs to be made and all the maintenance work that is to be performed.
Make sure that the landlord doesn’t write anything in the moving out report that was documented in the moving in report.