Rental Rules Copenhagen
Your free guide to the rental rules in Copenhagen
Welcome to RentalRules.dk. We are a voluntary project aimed at helping foreigners pay the correct rent while avoid being scammed by Danish landlords who take advantage of foreigners.
Tenants (or renters) in Denmark are protected by the Danish Rental Act.
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Rental Rules in Copenhagen in English
Rules are translated by volunteers and not lawyers or attorneys.
Rules are found on several websites and this website aims to collect the information for foreigners.
We do not help with cases, complaints or disputes. We simply want to help foreigners find the correct information as easy as possible.
1. The rental contract
If you are going to rent a tenancy to live in, you are entering into a lease agreement with your landlord. The lease agreement deals with which formal requirements that can be made for a rental contract and what must be written down.
The lease agreement and other agreements regarding the tenancy should be prepared in writing if either you or your landlord requests this. A verbal agreement can also be a fully binding agreement, but it can be difficult to prove a verbal agreement in situations where you may need this. Therefore, we recommend you to have it written down.
The rental contract is the written agreement between you and your landlord. The rental contract is legally binding between both you and your landlord. It describes the tenancy and you and your landlord’s obligations and rights concerning the tenancy – for instance:
- At what time the rental period starts
- The size of the tenancy
- The amount of money to be paid when moving in (deposit, prepaid rent and rent)
- Agreements regarding water, heat etc.
- What maintenance each of you individually are responsible for
It might seem confusing especially when you see one for the very first time. You might feel tempted to sign the contract right away, as everything sure is as it should be. However, you should always read the rental contract carefully before signing it.
One of the most important articles is §11 Special Terms (Særlige vilkår). This article covers all exceptions and additions stated in the contract. Therefore, you must always carefully read through what is covered in §11 before signing the contract.
For instance, the special terms can be:
- Annual rent increases
- What is extraordinarily required of maintenance by you as a tenant
- Special conditions when vacating (for instance that you have to move 14 days before the lease ends)
If there has not been composed a rental contract between you and your landlord, there is no need to panic. Your statement of account and/or receipts for rent payments, deposit and prepaid rent can be valid as proof that you are renting the tenancy.
2. Average renting costs
Costs of renting (per month)
These numbers are general estimations to help you get an idea of how much it costs to rent a place in the city centre.
- A room for a single person in a shared flat costs between DKK 4,000 to DKK 6,000.
- Small studios or apartments (1-2 rooms + kitchen and bathroom) are highly in demand. They can be rented to a single person or a couple without children and cost between DKK 8,000 to DKK 10,000.
- Apartments (2-3 rooms + kitchen and bathroom) cost between DKK 13,000 to DKK 15,000.
- Larger apartments (4-6 rooms + kitchen and bathroom) are great for flatsharing and prices usually start at DKK 16,000.
Deposit and prepaid rent
You are usually required to pay deposit and prepaid rent when you rent a place. Your landlord can demand up to 3 months’ deposit (not including utilities) and 3 months’ prepaid rent.
You pay a deposit so that the property can be restored to the state it was in when you move out. If the property is left in good condition, you may be able to get a fair amount of your deposit back.
You pay prepaid rent to cover the rent before your lease ends. For example, if you have paid 3 months’ prepaid rent, you do not have to pay rent for the last three months before you move out.
Utilities refer to heating, water, gas, electricity, internet and a media licence fee. You need to check your rental contract to see which utilities are already included in your rent. The amount you pay for utilities depends on how much you and your household consume.
3. Rules for the size of the rent
Every year, the five rent boards in the City of Copenhagen process a large number of cases concerning the size of the rent in residential apartments and rented rooms. An exact answer can not be given as to which rent can be approved for a lease. The determination of the lease depends on the provisions according to which the lease agreement has been entered into and on the appearance of the specific lease.
The size of the rent is basically the value of the rent.
The value of the rented property appears from the Rent Act, section 47, subsection. 2:
By decision pursuant to paragraph 1, 1st sentence, a comparison must be made with the rent that is generally applicable in the neighborhood or area of the corresponding house and living space in terms of location, type, size, quality, equipment and state of maintenance […].
It is not possible to compare with leases which are advertised in various housing advertisements.
In the City of Copenhagen, it will only be leases which are located in properties that per January 1, 1980 consisted of more than 80 percent private companies and rented single rooms in the landlord’s apartment, where the rent can be determined according to this starting point.
In other properties, a distinction must be made between tenancies located in:
- a: properties that per January 1, 1995 consisted of 7 or more residential apartments, or
- b: properties that per January 1, 1995 consisted of 6 or fewer residential apartments.
If the lease is located in one of the two types of properties, in certain special cases free lease determination can be agreed independently of other rules than section 36 of the Contracts Act, if:
- the property in which the lease is located has been taken into use after 31 December 1991,
- the apartment is per 31 December 1991 was lawfully used exclusively for business purposes, or
- the lease is newly furnished in an attic, which per. September 1, 2002 was not used for housing.
4. Moving in?
Prepaid rent and deposit
When you move into a tenancy, the landlord has the right to charge financial security from you.
Your landlord is allowed to claim up to 3 months rent (exclusive utilities) in prepaid rent and 3 months rent (exclusive utilities) as a deposit plus rent for the first month you are going to live in the tenancy – which is the overall price of maximum 7 months of rent. If your landlord at any time is increasing your rent, he or her has the right to regulate the prepaid rent and the deposit in order to make it correspond to the new rent.
At the key handover, the tenancy will be inspected by you and the landlord. The inspection is usually carried out by filling out a form called a move-in report, in which you note the condition of the tenancy and the defects that might be at the time you move in. The form typically includes the following or similar points:
- Is the painting ok?
- Is the floor ok?
- Are the fillets and doors ok?
If you find any defects at the inspection, the landlord might either choose to correct the defects, or simply report them in the move-in report. When you vacate the tenancy, you will not be liable for any of the damages and defects stated in the move-in report.
If the landlord is renting out more than one tenancy, there must always be an inspection according to the rent act. But if the landlord is only renting out one tenancy, he or she does not have any obligation to arrange an inspection. However, it is recommended that you go through the condition of the tenancy together with your landlord anyway. This is recommended as the rules of the move-in report often are of great importance to the tenant and the landlord’s relationship when you have to move out.
It is the landlord’s responsibility that you as a tenant receive a physical copy of the move-in report in connection with the inspection. If you as a tenant are not present at the inspection or you do not want to sign the report, the landlord must hand over the report to you no later than two weeks after the inspection. If your landlord does not keep this deadline, he or she cannot require any refurbishment when you are vacating – unless the defect is due to violation due to your behavior.
Important when moving in
The typical mistakes made by tenants often happen in connection with moving in. What often happens is that tenants sign the rental contract without carefully having read and understood it. In other situations, tenants are taking too easily on the inspection, which may cost them a lot in the end. Follow the tips mentioned below and avoid problems:
- Never pay the deposit or prepaid rent before you have received a signed rental contract from your landlord.
- Pay particularly attention to article § 11 of your rental contract – this section covers all important exceptions, rules and other conditions.
- Be thorough at the inspection. When moving in, you will inspect the tenancy with your landlord. How thorough you are, might have a great impact on how much of your deposit the landlord will refund when you are vacating.
- In order to document any potential defects, we recommend you take pictures of them.
- Remember to report the defects during the first 14 days – the inspection may take place very quickly and there may be some things that look proper on the surface, but with a closer inspection prove to be insufficient. You have 14 days to find, document and report these defects to your landlord.
- Be sure of your obligations regarding maintenance of the tenancy – as a tenant, it is important that you familiarise yourself with what your maintenance obligation covers and thus what the landlord may require renovated when you move out. This can be found in article §8 of the rental contract. Any additions can be found in article § 11 of the rental contract.
Payment of water, heat, etc.
There are 3 different ways in which your landlord may charge you for utilities of electricity, water, and heating. However, your landlord cannot freely choose between them. There are specific requirements that must be met in order to charge payment of utilities in each of the different ways. Read about the different ways and requirements here:
Payment on account: The first way you can be charged for utilities is on account. A payment on account is a payment of a fixed amount, paid as a payment in advance for a later settlement. If you as a tenant pay the utilities on account, it is the landlord who pays to the utility company. Once a year, your landlord will draw up an account where it is calculated how much you have paid on account, what your actual utilities have been and what the actual expenses for your utilities are. If there is a difference between the amount you have paid on account and the actual expenses, you will either have to pay the difference to your landlord or your landlord will repay you the difference.
Included in the rent:
Utilities may also be included in the rent. If your landlord has chosen to include utilities in the rent, you as a tenant cannot be charged any additional payment by the landlord if your actual utilities are greater than expected.
*Payment directly to the utility company: The third way to be charged for utilities is directly from the utility companies. Thus, your landlord is not in control of the settlement. Instead you will be responsible for the payment to the utility companies. In the majority of cases, electricity and heat will be switched off if you fail to fulfill the agreement, but this is not necessarily the case with water. Water is often connected to the entire property and your landlord may have to settle on your behalf if you do not pay. Your landlord will then be able to make claims against you.
Obligation for maintenance
As a tenant, it is important to become acquainted with what you and your landlord respectively are obliged to maintain.
The only maintenance obligation, you as tenant is assigned directly to through the rent act is the maintenance and necessary renewal of locks and keys. However, you might be imposed more than maintenance and necessary renewal of locks and keys in your rental contract. Therefore, it is important that you familiarise yourself with your rental contract when you are going to check the obligations that are imposed on you.
The rental contract distinguishes between internal and external maintenance obligations. Internal maintenance consists of whitewash, painting, papering of the walls and lacquering of floors.
In article §8 of the rental contract, the landlord must state whether it is you as a tenant or the landlord who has the internal maintenance obligation. If you are imposed more than the usual internal maintenance obligation as a tenant, it must be mentioned under article §11 of the rental contract.
The external maintenance covers both components located outside and inside the tenancy. As a rule, anything that cannot be categorized under the term of internal maintenance – that is whitewash, painting, papering and lacquering of floors – belongs to external maintenance. It is typically the landlord who has the external maintenance obligation and therefore is obliged to maintain the tenancy.
If your landlord does not fulfill his/her maintenance obligation, you should contact your landlord and ask the person concerned to rectify the defects. If the defects are not rectified, you can refer the case to the Rent Assessment Committee (Huslejenævnet), which can impose your landlord to rectify the defects within a given deadline.
5. Moving out?
A valid termination requires that your termination is given in writing to your landlord. As a tenant, you have no obligation to justify your termination.
By 1st of January 2019 new rules within the rent act became effective. This means that you now can terminate your tenancy digitally through mail as long as you and your landlord have each other’s mail. If you do not have your landlord’s mail, you need to send your termination through letter post.
If you are in doubt whether your written termination should be sent as letter post, or if it can be approved digitally, contact your landlord.
If your rental period is time-limited to for instance 6, 12 or 24 months, it is not necessary to give your landlord a written termination when the period expires, as you already have agreed upon how long you are going to live in the tenancy.
If your rental period is not time-limited, the notice period is typically 3 months. However, it is allowed to agree on a shorter or longer notice period. This will be stated in your rental contract.
If you would like to move out of the tenancy before the expiry of the notice period, your landlord is obliged to try to find a new tenant as soon as possible if the tenancy still has to be rented out afterwards. If your landlord finds a new tenant to take over the tenancy, you will be excused from paying rent when the new tenant is moving in.
The landlord’s right to dissolve the rental contract
As a tenant, you are in general well protected against the landlord’s termination. In cases where it is possible for the landlord to terminate the tenant, there are special requirements for how and in what time the termination must take place. As a tenant, you must be aware of the distinction between terminating and dissolving the rental contract.
A termination takes place when the rental contract is terminated in accordance with the terms of the rent act. As a rule, the landlord cannot terminate a tenant with an indefinite rental agreement, unless some of the reasons mentioned in section § 83 and § 84 of the rental act are present. Included in these reasons are cases such as if the tenant overrides ordinary good customs and order, if the landlord himself wants to move in (in this case the landlord has to notice you 1 year before) and if the property/lease must be demolished.
The landlord can terminate the tenant if:
- You are dealing with an owner-occupied house, which the landlord himself wants to live in, and the landlord did not have any other tenancies and owned the tenancy at the time the lease agreement was contracted. The notice of termination is a minimum of one year.
- It is the rental of single rooms which are part of the landlord’s home. The notice of termination is a minimum of one month.
- It is a residential apartment in a house with two residential apartments, where the landlord lives in one of them. The notice of termination is a minimum of one year.
- When a rental contract is dissolved, the contract ends with immediate effect. If the tenant violates the rental contract or the rental act, the landlord may dissolve the contract with immediate effect.
The landlord might dissolve the rental contract, if you as a tenant violate your obligations – that is, violate the rental contract or the clause in the rental act section §93. The landlord may dissolve the tenant, if the tenant i.a.:
- Does not pay rent in time
- Uses the tenancy for anything other mentioned in the rental contract
- Overrides good customs and order
(This list is not exhaustive. The full format can be found in the rental act)
If the landlord is renting out more than one tenancy, there must always be an inspection when moving out, according to the rent act. The inspection must happen no later than two weeks after the landlord is made aware that you have moved out.
The landlord is obliged to prepare a relocation report at the inspection. The report must be handed over to the tenant immediately if both parties are present. Furthermore, the report must be signed by you as a tenant and the landlord.
Do not sign the report unless you agree 100% with the landlord regarding the content of the report. If you are unable to participate in the inspection or you refuse to sign the relocation report because you disagree with the content of the report, the landlord must send it to you no later than two weeks after the inspection. Once you have received the relocation report, you can raise objections.
If the above-mentioned is not obeyed, the landlord cannot fulfill his claim and you as a tenant is not responsible for anything. As a result, you have the right to have your entire deposit refunded.
If your landlord only rents out one tenancy, the landlord is not obliged to conduct an inspection when you are moving out. However, the landlord must bring his/her requirements for refurbishment to your knowledge within two weeks from the day you have moved out. The landlord must inform you of which defects in the tenancy that must be repaired and what the price for this will be.
If you are going to vacate your tenancy, it might be difficult to know what your landlord requires when it comes to refurbishment. However, in the rental act, there is a limit to what can be expected of you as a tenant. It is important to remember that you have no obligation to hand over the tenancy in a better condition, than when you took over the tenancy. Therefore, the landlord cannot expect you to renovate the tenancy completely.
Pieces of advice when moving out
- Look through your move-in report before you and your landlord make the inspection when you are moving out. In this way, you become aware of how the condition was when you moved in and thus how the tenancy shall be handed over.
- If you have refurbished the tenancy, it is important that you make sure to take pictures of the whole apartment, both the minor and the major things before the inspection. The pictures can be used in case of disagreement between you and the landlord.
- Never sign the relocation report unless you agree 100% with the landlord regarding the content of the report.
- Always get a receipt when you have handed in the keys.
- It may be a good idea to bring a friend to the inspection so it is not just the landlord who leads the word, and you end up regretting that you just agreed with everything he/she said.
6. Tenant rights and (free) legal aid
Tenant rights and legal aid
You can seek legal assistance related to housing from relevant organisations for free or for a fee.
Tenants (or renters) in Denmark are protected by the Danish rental act. If you have been scammed or face problems with your landlord, you can seek help from the following organisations:
Copenhagen Legal Aid (Retshjælp)
If you need free legal aid with contracts or other issues on renting a home, you can contact Copenhagen Legal Aid (Retshjælp in Danish). You need to fulfil certain conditions to receive free legal aid:
- Your personal income must not exceed DKK 344,000 (2021) a year before tax if you are single
- If you are married or living with a partner, your joint income must not exceed DKK 437,000 (2021) a year before tax.
Read more about Copenhagen Legal Aid – www.retshjaelpen.dk/front-page
Rent Control Board (Huslejenævn)
The Rent Control Board (Huslejenævn in Danish) settles disputes between landlords and tenants. Landlords and tenants pay a fee to bring a case to the rent control board.
Examples of cases that can be settled by the rent control board:
- Level of rent or rent increase
- Utility bills such as water and heating
- Issues related to repayment of housing deposit
7. How to file a claim to the Rent Control Board
All municipalities in Denmark are required to establish a Rent Board for either the individual municipality or jointly with other municipalities.
If you want to bring a case before the Rent Board, you must contact the Rent Board in the municipality where the property is located. If you live for rent in a public housing, you must contact the local residents’ complaints board. Find the contact information for the City of Copenhagen further down on this page.
If you rent with a private landlord, and have some tenancy terms that you are dissatisfied with, you can have the Rent Board decide whether your tenancy terms are in accordance with the provisions of the Rent Act and the Housing Regulation Act.
Before you ask the board to take a position on the matter, you must first contact your tenant (if you are a landlord) or your landlord (if you are a tenant) and seek a solution to the conflict. If this is not successful, you can ask the Rent Board to assess your case. It costs DKK 319 (2022) to bring a case before the Rent Board.
A complaint to the rent board must be in writing, and you must enclose the necessary documentation, such as a copy of your lease, a copy of your landlord’s notice letter regarding rent increase or a copy of what you may feel dissatisfied with.
How long does it take?
When the Rent Board receives your compliant, it notifies the landlord what you are complaining about, and the landlord is usually given a deadline of two weeks to make his/hers statement – as stated in the law.
The Rent Board itself decides which further investigations are to be carried out in the case, and the board has the right to obtain information from the parties to the case, all public authorities and private individuals.
In addition, the board can inspect the property or your apartment, but in that case you and your landlord will be summoned to the inspection with at least one week’s notice.
Which authority to contact
If you rent an apartment with a private landlord, and have some tenancy terms that you are dissatisfied with, you can have the Rent Control Board (Huslejenævnet) decide whether your tenancy terms are in accordance with the provisions of the Rent Act and the Housing Regulation Act.
Are you living in public housing, however, and you’d like to file a claim against your landlord in regards to your tenancy, such complaint needs to be submitted to the Tenant Complaint Board (Beboerklagenævnet) instead of the Rent Control Board.
The Rent Control Board can only decide the outcome of the dispute and is not able to provide you nor the landlord with any general counselling. The Board is completely impartial and decides each case objectively in accordance with the relevant legislation and case-law. The Board is, however, not considered a court but instead a tribunal which decides specific matters in relation to lease agreement.
Typically, the Rent Control Board decides disputes concerning:
- The rent-level
- The size and repayment of the deposit
- Rent increases
- Maintenance issues
- Utility bills (e.g. for heating, electricity and water)
The Rent Control Board in City of Copenhagen
Address: Postboks 493, 1506 København V
Municipality number: 101
Phone number: +45 33 66 62 00
The rules listed on this website is solely regarding the City of Copenhagen. You can find the contact information for the other Rent Control Boards here: www.huslejenaevn.dk/naevn/huslejenaevn