Regardless if it’s a house or an apartment you are searching for, or if your preferred location is Horsens or Copenhagen city centre, the Danish rental market is a challenging one, even for Danes.
Text: Laura Wintemute
The labyrinth of limited property options, high monthly rents, property sizes and a fast-moving market all make this experience quite possibly the most challenging aspect of your relocation to Denmark. Rental contracts, house rules, tenant and landlord responsibilities, move-in inspections, termination clauses, deposits, sign up for utilities… the list goes on, and all in Danish!
Private or public websites
Numerous websites are advertising rental properties, both private and public. Public websites referring to certified and authorised rental property agencies. Private referring to those which you must pay to be a member. I do recommend going through a certified rental agency. This way, you ensure the landlords have already been screened. Plus, it’s the agency that does the lease, move-in, inspection etc. They act as an unbiased third party, and you are not charged a penny.
Furnished or unfurnished
There are always exceptions, but typically furnished properties are fully equipped, even down to crockery, cutlery, and linen - all you need to move in with is your toothbrush! Unfurnished properties are like empty shells with no lights, wardrobes or curtains. However, they do include most appliances like a fridge, stove, dishwasher, and sometimes washer and dryer. Strangely enough, the price is more or less the same, if not more for unfurnished.
Three months of deposit and your first month upfront are the norms, but it is also common for landlords to request 1-3 months “pre-paid rent”. This would be used for your last three months during your termination period, but now it’s seven months rent upfront, just to move in!
Utility costs are not included in the base rent. Instead, these are averaged at 1500-2500 DKK per month, depending on the size of the property. A move-in inspection report overrides anything stated in your lease contract.
Utility costs are not included in the base rent.
In Denmark, landlords expect you to take care of their property and expect their properties to be returned in the same condition you received. That’s what’s stated in the Rental Act. It also states that it is illegal for the owner to receive their property back in a better state than when first taken over. No matter if your property is taken “as seen” (som beset) or if it is “newly refurbished” (Nyidstandsat), you can expect to have to pay something when moving out. Very rarely is “wear and tear” taken into consideration.
If the owner is not providing a move-in inspection report, you can conduct (or hire a professional and have them conduct) a move-in inspection on your behalf. The better the move-in day is documented, the more smooth your move out will go. There should be no questions if there is new damage or if it was there on the move-in day.
If you are here on a residence work permit (opholdstilladse), it is recommended to request a termination clause in your lease called the “Diplomatic Clause”. This clause will allow you to terminate the lease with three months’ notice from day one. Typically you are locked for the first 12 months. This clause can only be used if you have to leave the country or lose your job. Not all landlords will accept this, but it’s worth asking. Negotiating monthly costs or contractual content is not culturally typical, but I’ve always said: “the worst they can say is No”.