Public housing in Denmark

Public housing (“Almene boliger” in Danish) in Denmark is usually built with funding from the government and as such are subject to certain requirements that do not apply to the private sector.

Public housing is a non-profit endeavor, rent must be used exclusively for the financing, maintenance and improvement of the buildings and the housing association. No one is making a profit off of the renters, so rent is usually lower.

Older housing associations especially can be rather cheap compared to other options since their loans will have been paid off over time.

Anyone can apply for an apartment in a public housing association but since the cheap ones are popular expect the waiting time for one of these apartments to be up to 15 years. Due to these long waiting lists it is unlikely for expats and international students to get any of the cheap options when they arrive in Denmark. This also applies to Danish people if they move to other parts of the country and haven’t applied for an apartment many years in advance. Not every housing association has a 15-year waiting list, you should still expect it to be several years though.

Know your rights when renting in a public housing association

Should you get accommodation in a public housing association then be aware that you have certain rights which you most likely won’t have in the private housing sector. Every public housing association has a board that manages the association and the properties belonging to it, anyone who rents an apartment in a public housing association has voting rights for any issue that is presented for voting when the association meets.

Public housing and social responsibility

Public housing often gets a mandate by the government, meaning that the county usually sets aside land for the specific purpose of building public housing homes. They get differential treatment than the open market but that also comes with certain obligations. An example of this is that the counties on occasion gets the option of allocating renters when apartments get available. The counties use this opportunity to handle social needs and people who are struggling.

What is youth and student housing

Both youth and student housing are related to public housing, in the way that they are regulated by law. Sometimes they are the same and sometimes not, in essence youth housing means that only younger people can live there and student housing of course means that you must be enrolled with an education in order to live there. When people finish their education, they must leave.

For the most part though it is common for these associations to make both age and education a requirement to live in their apartments. A few youth housing associations do not require the tenant to be studying, expect these to be allocated to young people with social problems.

With regards to youth housing your personal situation is taken into consideration, what this means is that the applicant with the greater need for affordable accommodation will be granted the available apartments first. If you have wealth or high income you’ll probably be assigned to the back of the line

As for student housing, these are the equivalent of dorms, in Denmark dorms are independent and usually not associated with a school or university. Dorms are the cheapest option and as such the most popular for young students. Dorms in Denmark for the most parts have their own toilet/shower but shared kitchens.

Expats will not have access to any of the options since you will be working and not studying.  International students will find it hard to get access to these options since their stay in Denmark usually are long enough to get to the front of the waiting lists.