Learn about how time-limitations can affect your lease and if it's legal?
Photographs: iStock photo
Text: Alex Dagil
When we're helping expats reducing their rent in rent-controlled housing (all buildings built before 1992), it often occurs that the lease has a time-limitations. Due to this, we often get questions regarding that if they seek to get the rent reduced to the legal limit, then the landlord won't give them an extension of the time-limit. In nine out of ten cases we see, the time-limitation the landlord has imposed on the tenant is illegal. This is typically done for two reasons:
#1 It makes it easier for the landlord to sell the property if they expect the
housing market to drop in value. You're not allowed to evict a tenant due
to the landlord wanting to sell the property - if they want to sell, it has
to be with the tenant living there on the same conditions.
#2 If the tenant causes too much hassle, they can find a new tenant that
might be easier to deal with.
The danish rental law has tried to protect the tenant's right to build a life around their home by making it difficult for landlords to impose a time-limitation upon the tenant. But the problem is, that there's no real consequence for the landlord in doing so - the worst-case scenario is that the tenant challenges it through the legal system and get a lease on the terms it should have been anyway. But it is possible to challenge and get an unlimited lease through the house of tenants (huslejenævnet) and housing court (boligretten).
But some cases let the landlord make a time-limited contract - but a rule of thumb is that if your landlord owns more properties than the one you're living in, it's most likely invalid.
Here are the most likely scenarios for a legal time-limitations:
#1 Your landlord is out travelling/working for an extended period and is
going to return home, to live in the home. This also makes sense, as you
should, of course, have the right to come back to live in the home that
#2 The landlord has not been able to sell the home without taking a
significant loss. Right now, the market is at an all-time high, so time-
limitations of this nature are very difficult to enforce.
Note that if you find yourself in a situation where you are willing to challenge the time-limitation to have the right to stay as long as you want you should know that the landlord always has the option to sell their primary residence and move back into the home you're renting. If this were to happen you have to be given one year's notice.
In Rent Hero, we specialize in cases like this, and we're happy to help you out seeking a rent-reduction and getting the time-limitation removed. Interested? Then check out renthero.dk