HOUSING – University of Copenhagen

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International Staff Mobility > HOUSING


Housing Introduction

Moving to a new country and navigating a new system while finding suitable accommodation can be challenging. It can also be an opportunity to get to know your new city and surrounding areas and help you feel at home.

Below you will find information about the current housing situation in Denmark, what to look for and think about when you search for and find a place to live – either before your move to Denmark or when you are already in the country. We have also included some useful links to help you in your house hunting efforts, as well as a vocabulary. Good luck!

Finding Housing

Finding housing can be a challenge especially in the capital of Copenhagen. It can be particularly difficult to find a rental place in August and September. As soon as we move into October and November it is our experience that it becomes easier to find accommodation. The market for buying real estate in Denmark has become more competitive especially in the Capital-area as the prices for real estate has begun to rise.

Housing hunting tips

Be realistic in your expectations when searching for your future home.

  • Carefully consider your priorities and what really matters to you when you search for a home
  • Downtown vs. suburban area (include link to pdf with websites/ municipalities )
  • Walking distance to work vs. bicycling or using public transportation (include map with s-tog )
  • School/daycare near your home (can we include a map)
  • Affordability – do you consider renting or buying?
  • Where do I find a place to live?

Expectations & Priorities

Copenhagen is a very popular city to live in, also for Danes and finding affordable housing can be difficult. You might want to consider extending your search to suburban areas outside the city center.

These areas are often more affordable with excellent public transportation to the city center and University as well as excellent bicycle lanes/trails, and you will be able to travel a longer distance within a short amount of time. Suburban areas outside the city center are typically areas with lots history and amenities, and a neighborhood feeling that one also experience in the city.

In general apartment buildings in the city center dates back one or two hundred years; while many have been renovated to fit modern standards, bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms are often very small yet equipped with all necessary facilities. You may find that these facilities differ from what you are used to from home or other places you have lived.

Personal House Search

There is no central register for advertising private rental property and apartments in Denmark.

Rooms/subleasing an apartment are often advertised on the Internet or found through your personal networks, such as colleagues, friends and acquaintances. Make sure to spread the word among your new colleagues that you are looking for housing or a better housing option, if you already have a temporary place to live.

Please provide detailed information about what you are looking for, including areas and size. Other great ways to find housing on your own is to check ads in daily newspapers, local papers and special housing newspapers; place a notice on bulletin boards in supermarket and sign yourself up on wait lists whenever you get the opportunity (fees might apply).

  • The Blue Newspaper (Den Blå Avis) online carries adds on a range of things, including rooms and flats for rent. The site is in Danish only and you pay a small fee to log on to the ads. http://www.dba.dk/
  • Craigslist – København is another place to look for rentals. They have a website in English. http://copenhagen.en.craigslist.dk/
  • Public Housing Associations are another option to find a rental. There is a caveat; they do have long wait lists  however, it is worth a try. http://www.danmarkbolig.dk/Portal/UI/Aspx/Default.aspx (in Danish)
  • For anyone able to afford high-end apartments, you may also want to check out: http://www.hay4you.com/front-page http://www.ejendomskontoret.dk/main_uk.php?content=forside
  • The Researcher Hotel located in International House - Copenhagen offers
    short-term accommodation for international faculty and Ph.D. students. For more information, please contact: researcherhotel@adm.ku.dk. (is contact information correct?)
  • Another place with high-end hotel apartments for temporary accommodation can be found at Hotel 9 små hjem: http://www.9smaahjem.dk/?layout=1

Renting vs Buying

In Denmark there are three main types of housing:

• Renting an apartment, a single-family house, or a room
• Subleasing an apartment, a single-family house, or a room.

  • Buying a single-family house, an apartment, or an apartment in a housing co-op The majority of internationals who work in Denmark choose to rent their home being the housing option with the least obligations. You can either rent from a private landlord, a public housing association or a pension fund. Your rights and responsibilities as well as your landlord’s rights and responsibilities are typically written in a Rental Agreement .

  • We will cover the rental area in greater details below. Another option is to buy real estate, either an apartment, single-family house or an apartment in a housing co-op. As an international researcher you are allowed to buy real estate in Denmark as long as the property is used as your all-year dwelling.

  • If you are national of another country than a EU/EEA Member State you are required to obtain a permission to buy real estate in Denmark from the Danish Ministry of Justice. More information can be found further down.

About Renting

Private rentals come in many forms and shapes; some are remodeled, some are not, some are located in newer buildings, some in older buildings, some are apartments you rent from a private landlord, that owns the entire building; some are single-owned apartments (either a purchased apartment or an apartment in a Housing co-op) or, some are rooms, either in a private residence or shared with other roomies and some might be a single-family house, all dependent on what you are looking for.

Other types are Public Housing Associations, which carry an inventory of various housing types built with public subsidies. Almenlejeloven (Public Housing Law) regulates rentals in a public housing association.

In Denmark private rentals and the rent itself are regulated by the Tenant Consolidation Act (Lejelov) and the Boligreguleringsloven (only available in Danish and applies to all municipalities in Seeland, except for Greve, Solrød and Fredensborg municipalities).

Rent for a certain rental is determined by a number of factors; Location (downtown/suburbs), Type (apartment, single/family house, and rooms), Building year, remodeled and other aspects.

It is rather complicated and difficult to say something specific about what rent you are going to pay. As a very general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay DKK 400 to DKK 1200 per m2 per year in older buildings and in buildings built after 1991 it is not unusual that the rent might be DKK 1200 to DKK 2000 per m2 per year or even more.

Another private rental option is to sublease, where your landlord holds the actual rental agreement with the building’s owner. Specific rules and requirements apply when you enter into a sublease agreement.

When you are subleasing you are relying on the person who holds the actual lease and that he/she fulfills their rental obligations. If this person does not have the legal right to sublease or is evicted, you cannot claim any rights to the building’s owner. More information here:
(Link to https://lifeindenmark.borger.dk/Pages/Housing.aspx?NavigationTaxonomyId=77c7d0b9-2133-4085-9ee5-d6d134fd8b28)

Signing a Lease

When you are about to sign a rental agreement, please read the terms carefully and make sure they describe clearly what you have agreed to. A number of provisions in the Tenants Laws are mandatory with no option to negotiate less protection for a tenant. Other provisions can be negotiated and may offer a tenant less protection than what the Tenants Laws prescribe.

If you use the standard rental agreement developed by the Danish Ministry of Housing, which is preferred by landlords, the text in bold and italics are terms, which are valid deviations from the Tenants Laws. (Link to pdf rental agreement in Danish). There is no official translation of the standard rental agreement in English; however an unofficial translation exists. We have indicated in yellow - underlining and notes – in the pdf, which terms in the rental agreement you should think about .
(Disclaimer: The notes in yellow and yellow underlining do not constitute legal counseling and Copenhagen University does not warrant the accuracy of the information. With the below text, Copenhagen University has not assumed responsibility of any kind as a consequence of a reader’s use of the above as a basis of decisions or considerations).

In case of any inconsistencies between the official Danish version and the unofficial English translation, the Danish version is authoritative. What to think about when you sign the lease Do’s Read the terms and conditions carefully:

Make a note of the rent and what it consists of (is heating, water etc. included?). You can be asked to pay up to three months deposit and three months advance payment of rent, which is within the terms of the law. The notice of termination is typically three months. Do PAY your rent, any utilities and regulation of rent on its due date.

If you don't, it is a reason for eviction. Sign up for meter services https://lifeindenmark.borger.dk/Pages/Your-residence.aspx?NavigationTaxonomyId=ff1d9a2b-caf4-451c-8789-854d0b26d898

Move-in and move-out condition; what are the terms, and is the move-in condition as stated in the contract. Do not sign a lease without reading the terms – a rental agreement is a legal contract. Do not pay any deposit in advance without having a contract.

Housing Subsidy

It is possible to receive a housing subsidy from Udbetaling Danmark, if you meet certain criteria. A number of factors determine whether you meet these criteria, such as: the rental is an all-year dwelling that has its own kitc hen with water and drain; the size of the rent; the number of adults and children in the dwelling; the total income for all in the dwelling.

You can calculate whether you are entitled to a housing subsidy. Please have your rental agreement, receipt for rent payments, pay stubs and a tax return (if you have one) handy:

This website is in Danish only. https://www.borger.dk/Sider/handlingsside.aspx?DomainServiceId=72b5638f-70c3-41e3-8974-e7888099d981&PageId=b0244c66-1e26-470c-88c1-768a24b0abc8 https://www.borger.dk/Sider/Portalservicesiden.aspx?DomainServiceId=72b5638f-70c3-41e3-8974-e7888099d981&PageId=b0244c66-1e26-470c-88c1-768a24b0abc8&PortalServiceId=eaf7973b-d9d5-4ae3-994d-d7a09841c139&National=1&PopUp=1

Housing & Rent Tribunal

Each municipality has a Housing and Rent Tribunal (Huslejenævn) that makes decisions in cases between a landlord and a tenant regarding issues in pursuant to par 106 of the Tenant Consolidation Act and chapter II-V in Boligreguleringsloven, such as: the size of the rent; move-in and move-out conditions; heating and water; maintenance, deposit and advance payment of rent. The Housing and Rent Tribunal is not a Court of Law; it is an administrative Tribunal.

Decisions from the Housing and Rent Tribunal can be appealed to a special Housing Court. You can submit a compliant to the Housing and Rent Tribunal yourself, and you do not need to use a legal advisor.

There is a fee for submitting a complaint to the Housing and Rent Tribunal.
In Copenhagen municipality (in Danish): http://www.kk.dk/da/borger/bolig/uenighed-mellem-lejer-og-udlejer/huslejenaevnene In Frederiksberg municipality (In Danish): http://www.frederiksberg.dk/da/Borger/Bolig-og-byggeri-for-borgere/Bolig-og-ejendom/Lejebolig/Huslejenavn.aspx

Tenant's Organisation

The Office of International Staff Mobility has an agreement with a Tenants Organisation (Lejernes LLO I Hovedstaden: http://www.llo.dk/As-a-member-of-the-LLO.389.aspx).

The organization provides legal counseling in housing and rent matters for our international researchers, however the matter has to go through International Staff Mobility.

If you need legal advice, you can contact ISM at interstaff@adm.ku.dk and write rental in the subject line. We will discuss your matter with LLO and hopefully resolve the matter. If LLO’s legal advisors decide the matter needs more legal research, you can become a member of LLO for a reduced fee and they will pursue a potential legal action for you.

Rent, housing subsidy

The lease should state the rent and if the rent is very high, you can apply for housing subsidy from the municipality. The right to housing subsidy is dependent on your income.

For the municipality of Copenhagen, you can do a calculation of your housing subsidy here (Danish only). You must provide information about your yearly income before tax (not including the 8% labour market contribution), fortune and rent (excluding utilities).

Example: If you are a PhD (level 4) in the municipality of Copenhagen with no fortune paying 9.500 as rent for a 2 bedroom flat of 68m2 where you live alone, you can receive approximately 904 DKK monthly.

A postdoc (level 6) would receive approximately 346 DKK monthly for the same flat.

Rent Tribunal

It might be a better option to file a complaint about your rent instead of applying for a housing subsidy.

It is not uncommon that foreign tenants pay as much as the above rent of 9500 + utilities for 68m2. A flat of 68m2 should cost no more than 4550 + utilities. If you are paying too much, you can complain to the Rent Tribunal (Huslejenævnet) in the municipality where you live.

You can complain both about a normal lease, as well as rooms/flats rented on subleases. The rent cannot be increased on the initiative by the Rent Tribunal. In 2010, it costs 131 DKK to submit a complaint to the Rent Tribunal. It costs 262 DKK to complain of two issues.

Seven of ten people who complain have their rent lowered. If you complain within the first year, you can have reimbursement of excess rent which you have already paid. If you complain after the first year, you can have the future rent lowered. Your landlord cannot evict you because you have complained of the rent.

You should submit a written complaint with a letter stating briefly what you are complaining about. You must also include the lease, and any other documents relevant to your complaint. You will subsequently receive information about how to pay the fee. The Rent Tribunal accepts that you write in English, however, they will respond in Danish.

If you live in the municipality of Copenhagen you can submit a scanned copy to borgerservice@kk.dk or mail it to Huslejenævnet, Københavns Kommune, Rådhuset, 1599 København V. If you live in the municipality of Frederiksberg, you must email it to lejeret@frederiksberg.dk or mail it to Huslejenævnet, Fredriksberg Kommune, Rådhuset, 2000 Frederiksberg. Telephone: 38214237/38214238.

You can also complain about the amount of the deposit and the prepaid rent, if they exceed 6 months rent, as well as a variety of other unreasonable demands made by the landlord.


If you decide to buy a home, the approach depends on whether you are a national of EU or EEA Member States or a national of other countries. O ne rule applies in both situations:

The property has to serve as a necessary all-year dwelling for the buyer. http://www.justitsministeriet.dk/arbejdsomr%C3%A5der/civilret/foreign-citizens-acquisition-real-property/acquistion-all-year-dwellings

Nationals of EU or EEA Member States of the European Union can acquire an all-year dwelling in Denmark without obtaining permission from the Danish Ministry of Justice, and need only to make a declaration to the Land Registration Court. http://www.justitsministeriet.dk/arbejdsomr%C3%A5der/civilret/foreign-citizens-acquisition-real-property/acquistion-all-year-dwellings

Nationals from other countries than EU/EEA Member States must obtain permission from the Danish Ministry of Justice. The process for applying for permission is not complicated and is described at the Ministry of Justice’s web site: http://www.justitsministeriet.dk/arbejdsomr%C3%A5der/civilret/foreign-citizens-acquisition-real-property/acquistion-all-year-dwellings

If nationals from other countries than EU/EEA Member States purchase a home and decide to leave Denmark before they have resided in the country for 5 years, they are required to sell their home within 6 months; a time limit, which can be extended to no longer than one year after re-applying http ://www.justitsministeriet.dk/sites/default/files/media/Arbejdsomraader/civilret/Lovbekendtgoerelse_EN.pdf

Housing Information

For general information about buying or renting a place, you can read more at this website. If you need legal counselling in housing matters, you can become a member of LLO. Please visit the official website for more information.

If you are renting an apartment, you can use this standard rental contract (only in Danish) which is preferred by many landlords. For a translated English version please click here. For the Danish Rent Act please go to this website. If you prefer it in Danish, you can read more at this website.

ISM Housing International Staff Mobility has a limited number of apartments in Copenhagen, which are available to foreign researchers. The apartments range from one bedroom to family size. Please contact one of the personnel administrators at your faculty for further information on specifications and availability Searching on your own for listings for buying a house, apartment or an apartment in a housing co-op, are available at these two websites (both in Danish): http://www.boligsiden.dk/ http://www.boliga.dk/

You can also contact realtors in the areas where you are looking for housing. Realtors in Denmark work for house sellers and carry their own listings. There is no formalized buyer’s agent to help a buyer, searching, previewing, and negotiating with the seller’s agent on your behalf. You might be able to negotiate an agreement with an agent to help you out.

Three of the major real estate companies with local neighborhood offices are: http://www.edc.dk/ http://home.dk/ http://www.nybolig.dk/maegler/forside.jsp Dansk Ejendomsmæglerforening: (Danish Real Estate Association) http://www.de.dk/in-english Financing a single-family house or an apartment Thinking about buying or refinancing a house or apartment, you will find that there are various mortgage options. We recommend that you seek advice from your bank of choice.

You can read more about the various mortgage options: http://www.danskebank.dk/en-dk/Personal/day-to-day/Loans/Pages/Mortgage-loans.aspx

http://www.realkreditraadet.dk/Danish_Mortgage_Model/Main_types_of_mortgage_loan.aspx Finding the best interest rate: http://www.mybanker.dk/

In Denmark you pay a property value tax and a land value tax on your property, which are deducted on your tax return. http://www.skat.dk/SKAT.aspx?oId=2114240&vId=0&lang=US

Financing an apartment in a housing co-op (andelsbolig) Buying an apartment in a housing co-op differs from the form of a single-dwelling ownership. This also applies to financing and taxation of an apartment in a housing co-op. When you buy an apartment in a housing co-op, you have the right to use a specific apartment, and you own an arbitrary part of the entire building.

Your monthly housing costs consist of a monthly ”rent”, you pay to the operation of the apartment building, to expenses such as maintenance, taxes, etc. and monthly costs on housing loan you obtain from a bank. You do not pay a separate property tax on your apartment; taxes are covered by the “rent”. The important part, when you buy an apartment in a housing co-op is to check the buildings accounting methods and financial statement - the current year and a few years back – to find out about earlier and upcoming renovations as this can influence your monthly “rent” and also the value of your apartment.

We recommend that you seek professional advice, from a housing lawyer. This form of ownership provides a very pleasant form of living, often with access to a shared yard, the option for participation in the well being of the building and the people living there and a shared community.