7 Surprising Things About Renting in Denmark

Whether you are new to renting in Denmark, moving from sharing to your first solo apartment, or an experienced Danish renter, the market can throw up a number of surprises. Knowing what to look out for will make your property search infinitely easier. Here are the things that myself, friends and colleagues have been caught out by:

The sqm of your apartment doesn’t just include your apartment.

Typically it also includes the balcony, a section of the corridor outside your front door, maybe the stairway area on your floor, and (less often) the basement / attic storage room. This is standard practise when calculating the sqm of a property in Denmark.

The line is drawn at shared common rooms and terraces. If it wasn’t, my 38sqm studio would be roughly -15sqm.

The Takeaway: Always view the apartment to get a clear idea of size. If in doubt, ask what the total sqm includes.

Deposits and rent up front can be sizeable

To secure an apartment or room, you may be expecting to provide proof of employment or income, payslips or bank statements. In Denmark however, this is often not the case. Whilst many attribute this to the famed Danish ethos of trust, it is the size of deposits and upfront rent that makes the documentation less necessary.

Deposits tend to range from two to three months for an apartment or one to three for a room (three is the legal maximum). You will also be asked for a minimum of one month’s rent upfront (again, three is the legal maximum). You can be asked to pay the final month’s rent upfront too.

Bear in mind that deposit sizes vary significantly between properties and landlords. If the amount required for an apartment is out of reach, there are specialised loan providers. Another option is sharing with roommates, whilst you save.

The Takeaway: Calculate the maximum you can afford to pay upfront when you begin your search. If it’s not stated in the ad, make this question top of your list.

Plan for your deposit, from the day you move in.

Let’s say you would like to put up a curtain rail or a few shelves and need to drill holes. You might ask your landlord for permission. They say yes. Then you move out and find that the cost of filling the holes and painting the apartment has been deducted from your deposit.

The general rule to remember is that you need to leave your apartment in the exact condition as it was on the day you moved in.

Some landlords require you to paint the apartment, others will do this themselves and then deduct it from the deposit. Find out the rules before you move in so that you can make informed decisions.

The takeaway: Clarify how anything you do to the apartment will affect your deposit. Have a conversation with your landlord once you have decided to move out.

Light fittings – You likely need to wire them yourself

One glance at the circular socket where you would expect to find your light fitting and you may wonder if you need to call an electrician.

However, some common sense, basic health and safety and a good old YouTube tutorial and there’s really no need to be intimidated.

There are generations for who rewiring a plug, or lifting the hood of a car are normal tasks on the To-Do List. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt for the rest of us to take a leaf out of their book…

The takeaway: Safety first, but it can be surprising how quickly you can pick up this skill. If in doubt hire a handyman (or ask a more practical friend).

Your washing machine might be in the Basement

Not all apartments have their own washing machine. Instead, a large number of apartment buildings have shared machines in the basement, with washes generally costing 15-25kr per wash.

This has resulted in a handful of start-ups offering convenient, digitised solutions, that allow you to book your laundry slot through an app and see live cycle times.

Although this one mostly applies to one bedrooms or studios, it is not unheard of in larger apartments.

The Takeaway: Don’t forget to factor in the cost of laundry, when calculating consumption bills.

Rental Increases in January (even if you moved in during December)

The January rent increase in line with inflation, is another standard practise in Denmark.

It is written into many contracts and takes effect In January, even if you moved in only a month or so before. Not all landlords raise the rent every year. If they do, the increase is regulated to be in line with inflation.

What’s more surprising is that your deposit, and any upfront rent, will also be adjusted. It is then added to your January rent (or spread across two to three months).

The Takeaway: Check your contract for this clause. You are unlikely to be able to negotiate this but knowing what to expect allows you to plan.

Subletting is Legal

So you have found the perfect place to live. You’ve made it hygge and it feels like home.

Then life throws up a surprise or two and you find yourself needing to leave the city, or Denmark, temporarily. The solution? You can sub-let your apartment or room.

Unlike many European countries, in Denmark, it is legal, providing you have a good reason (e.g. a work secondment abroad). There are various rules and restrictions, for example, you may only sublet to the same number of people as there are rooms in your apartment.

The Takeaway: Research the legalities, inform your landlord and place your ad on goroom.dk

By Rebecca Hallam

Rebecca Hallam is a freelance writer and administrator from the UK. Currently living in Copenhagen, she moved to Denmark in February 2020. She lived and rented in London for over 13 years, and has also lived in the northern English cities of Manchester and Chester.


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