Here’s how you avoid the most common rental scam

Although scams are not a major problem in Denmark, it does happen and expats and internationals are often cheated because they don’t know how things are done in Denmark.

The main thing to look out for are scams where someone will try and rent out apartments they don’t own themselves. Maybe they booked it on Airbnb and then post somewhere online that they are renting out an apartment. What these people are after is your deposit, they’ll claim there is a lot of interest so you better sign fast and transfer the deposit. If you transfer the deposit you’ll never see or hear from them again.

This is the most dangerous scam to expats and international students, because they come to Denmark and are in a hurry to find somewhere to live. So even if you’re in a hurry and even if you’re worried because you can’t find anything on the market, remember to take precautions.

Avoiding the most common rental scam in 4 easy steps

Only agree to send money to a Danish bank account. Some scammers will try to convince you to transfer the deposit via alternate ways, some might even ask for it in cash. The point being to get a hold of your money in such a way that it will be difficult to trace the money and get it back. There only transfer the deposit to a Danish bank account, in that case if you are dealing with a scammer the banks can help.

If it’s an offer that’s too good to be true then it probably is. In the big cities apartments are not vacant for long and the scammers take advantage of that. People have to move fast to get one when they become available and sometimes that makes people ignore their intuition. Now the scammers won’t ask for the maximum deposit allowed, that will often be an amount so large that people become hesitant. They will ask for a deposit small enough to make you not think about the risks, also rent will probably be lower than the norm to make people think they have found a great offer. So, if it’s a good offer and they’re asking for a low deposit, be skeptical.

Research the owner. In Denmark it’s possible and rather easy to research the owner of any residential property via the government run website, not only that it’s free of charge too. Always make it a habit to research the owner of a property you’re about to rent. If the person you’re talking to is not the owner that is a red flag. Subletting is a possibility but let the person you’re talking to bring it up, be smart about knowing the name of the owner.

Get a signed rental agreement first. You’re not obligated to transfer the deposit until you have signed the rental agreement/lease and landlord has signed it too. By law the lease must contain the name and address of the person renting out the house or apartment. Use this information to research the owner, look up the address that is written in the contract, does the name registered to the address match the person you’re talking to? Does it match with the real owner of the property? Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for photo ID (I actually send a copy of my driver’s license to my tenants for this reason).