How to go about rent levels and prices in Denmark

Rent in Denmark, Copenhagen and Århus

Rent, one of if not the most discussed subject as for renting in Denmark. When discussing rent, there is a important distinction to male, and that is the difference between what is normally asked by the landlords and what the maximum allowed rent is by law. It is common that the rent asked by landlords is above what the regulations allow. Of course, you can complain about this, but that just means someone else will get the apartment. This is the unfortunate reality at the moment.

If you just want to know what the current norm for rent is in Copenhagen or Århus you can go here.

So, what about when a landlord sets the rent too high? In online forums and in social media you’ll find tons of questions and discussions about rent, what is expensive? What is cheap? How much rent is too much?

Do you even need to understand the details of how rent works and which factors affect it? No, you don’t, if you can afford the rent being asked and don’t have any other options then what does it matter? The truth is that it can be so difficult to find a place to live that people have little choice but to accept the rent levels as they are.

That being said, there are reasons to understand how rent regulation works and they are as follows,

  • In Denmark, a landlord can’t just increase your rent as they see fit and in 2015 the rental law was revised and landlords now have even fewer options of increasing your rent while your renting. Not all landlords are professional and are aware of this, so they increase your rent not knowing they are not allowed to. If you don’t know your rights as a tenant then you can end up paying a lot more than you should. Beware of the amateur landlord.
  • If a landlord sets the rent too high in relation to what is allowed you can actually go to the courts and have it reduced. But you need to know if you actually have a case or not.
  • Knowing the details of rent regulation can help you evaluate the apartments and houses you’re looking at and considering moving into as you have different options and rights.

I’m not saying you need to become an expert on Danish rental law, far from it and in truth it won’t take long to learn what you need to know just by reading this page and this forum. I will give you some easy guidelines that are useful for 95% of the apartments and you will be able to use this to guide your decisions.

Rent regulation and the rent scale

While rent prices changes over time the scale and relation between the regulated part of the market and the non-regulated part of the market stays the same, that also applies to the public housing market vs the private market. Therefore, it is quite easy to determine where the cheapest homes are and where the most expensive homes are.

The public housing sector is and have always have been cheaper than the private market. In the private market apartments built before 1992 are rent regulated while apartments built after 1992 are not regulated by law.

Here’s why you don’t need to be an expert

When an apartment or home is affected by rent regulation then it means there are restrictions on how high the rent can be set. Unfortunately, Danish rental law regulates the rent with different models or principles so describing the models themselves, when each apply and on which apartments they apply would be a daunting task and I’m not sure the reader would benefit or needs to know.

The reason for me not wanting to explain this in detail is that there are plenty of webpages that do a lot of this work for you. There are websites that can calculate whether your rent is too high or not, based on the numbers and the apartment in question. I recommend just enter the details of your apartment in the form and it will tell you if your rent is too high or not.

You can get your money back

In Denmark if a landlord has set the rent higher than allowed then you can have it reduced retroactively. If you start a case with the Rent tribunal (Huslejenævnet) that your landlord has set the rent higher than what is allowed, the Rent tribunal will reduce your rent going forward and sentence the landlord to pay back the rent that was charged above the accepted level.

Quick example, the legal rent is 5.000 but your rent is 6.000. If you start a case with the Rent tribunal then you will get back from your landlord 1.000 dkk for every month you lived there, though maximum a year back in time which in this case would end up being 12.000 dkk. Going forward your rent would also be 5.000 dkk.

This is why knowing about your rights and the rental law is important, it can be a lot of money.