Find the perfect student accommodation and avoid the housing pitfalls
Are you moving to Denmark and don´t have housing sorted? Do you know your rights when renting a property under Danish laws and regulations?
If you are unsure, we’ve compiled some information for you that can provide you with a clear overview of rights and regulations when moving into a rental property.
Starting your studies is an exciting time filled with new experiences, and for many internationals, the Danish housing market is not something they are aquainted with or have inside tips to. This year, there are 60,000 new students who have been offered spots at the country’s higher education institutions. This means that the housing market is under extra pressure these days, as a large portion of students need to find accommodation in the major student cities: Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, and Aalborg.
But if you keep your spirits high, your mind cool, and read on, you can learn how to find the perfect student accommodation. If you don´t know the first thing about lease contracts and you need an overview of tenancy law, we have an FAQ that answers most of your questions.
Happy house hunting.
Where Can I Find Housing?
Sign up everywhere
Danish universities don´t have campus dormitories or housing, so you need to look elsewhere for accomodation. They would however be helpful, if you need information about the right housing for you.
Everywhere It’s always a good idea to sign up for all college and youth housing lists you can find. Places like borger.dk, kkik.dk, s.dk, and general housing portals are good places to start. As you might know or will soon find out, finding an affordable and accessible place in major student cities like Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, and Aalborg can be a challenge; especially during and around the introweeks and months. Searching on general housing portals (which might also require a fee for access) rarely yields results that fit within a student budget. However, there are opportunities. Consider contacting youth accommodations that are located further from the city center and inquire about available units.
These are often also more affordable than inner city accomodation. Also, take into consideration how long you will have to travel to get to your studies, and the cost of this travel if it is by public transportation or bike.
Distance and Enrollment Lists
Sign up before you change your address to the new municipality to improve your chances. If you’re a new student and have more than 1 hour of commuting to your educational institution, you might be able to secure a spot at places that have special enrollment lists, such as CIU and KKIK. Don’t panic if you’re number 3289 on a waiting list for a dorm room. Ask yourself if it’s a high priority to get housing in one of the most sought-after postal codes (no judgments – there can be valid reasons for that), or if you can start your studies with a slightly longer commute.
Living with others or private room
One option you can explore is finding others to share a rental with, or looking for a room from a private landlord. With roommates who are also students, you have the opportunity to create a unique environment at home during your study period. And it doesn’t have to be fellow students in your academic field – consider it a chance to broaden your horizons and learn about what others are passionate about during their studies. And while you might feel more safe going with other internationals, consider Danish roomies, and doors will open for a unique cultural exchange.
Alternative housing options
Another possibility is to check if your new municipality offers a housing guarantee – there might be an option to get something temporary if things look dire. In a pinch, you could rent a room in a hostel, but do be wary of the costs. Some students try couchsurfing for a short period, even though it’s not designed for housing situations. However, be extra cautious, as being a guest in someone else’s home and living out of your suitcase during the time you should focus on your studies and getting settled can be stressful. Some municipalities also provide container homes specifically for students, which could be a cozy alternative to dormitories.
Be realistic and specific
The housing you end up in ultimately depends on your financial situation. Making your search more manageable involves creating a list of wants and needs and combining it with a budget.
Consider questions like:
- Do I want to live with others?
- Am I open to living in a collective, container home, or alternative places?
- How much can I afford to pay for rent and deposit?
- How much do I need for other expenses?
- Does there need to be a kitchen or laundry room?
- Do I have special needs, etc.?
- How far can I commute, and can I get to and from my study by bike or public transport?
- Is this a temporary starter home, or do I need to find something permanent now?
Keep an open mind when going through these questions, but don´t become desperate.
Unleash your creative side
We might as well state it as it is: finding housing around the start of your studies can be a nail-biting period. The housing market in major student cities like Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, and Aalborg struggles to keep up with demand. This results in long queues on the standard lists and potential side deals for those who know their way around the housing market. However, you don’t have to limit your search to housing portals, college lists, and following the crowd.
“Hi, my name is…”
If you have even a hint of creativity, you can create a short video to post on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, showcasing potential landlords or roommates what you bring to the table. Have your friends, family, former employers, and exes share it far and wide (you might reach a Danish audience). Also, look for (student) housing groups in the city you’re searching in and make a post if it’s allowed. Keep an eye on these groups so you can be one of the first to respond if a suitable housing opportunity is posted. Also, check the student dormitory pages for any openings.
It’s all about catching the attention of the right people. So, think beyond the digital realm. If you already in the country, and have not been lucky with finding housing before moving, you can go the paper route. Create an A4 poster with contact details that can be torn off at the bottom, and hang them in cafes, on lampposts, bulletin boards at dormitories and student accommodations.
The sky is the limit, but if you want a genuine chance with a landlord, perhaps downplay how many ciders or beers you can chug in 30 seconds, and stick to words like responsible, positive, and cat lover (if applicable). Everyone appreciates sincerity and honesty, and if you can capture the right person’s attention, it might be the key to having a lease agreement in hand when you start your first semester or shortly thereafter. Just remember to keep your eyes and ears open and approach offers that seem too good to be true with skepticism.
Don’t let the hunt for housing consume all your attention. Finding peace in your own home is important, but so is the initial period of your education.
This is where you lay the foundation for friendships, academic growth, and good study habits. It affects your motivation to complete your education and how much time you spend studying if you don´t give yourself time to settle in and focus on your introductory weeks.
How do I avoid being scammed?
Unfortunately, during the start of studies, there’s a growing trend of some trying to take advantage of the panic that can arise in the housing market. And this is especially true for international students who are vulnerable in not knowing what goes and what your rights are. If you choose to find housing through alternative means, there are special precautions you need to take to avoid being tied to hefty financial expenses. The police have a series of good advice for those seeking housing, so you don’t fall for something too good to be true. We have listed these in short form below. See the comprehensive list with explanations on the police website (NB: in Danish)
11 tips from the police
- Investigate who owns the property. You can see who owns the property you’ve been offered on boligejer.dk
- Investigate if the property is on the market. You can contact the owner listed on boligejer.dk
- Request photo identification from the landlord.
- Consider the reference and don’t pay for a property you – or someone you trust – haven’t seen. This includes deposits and special list fees.
- No cash payments, and preferably transfer money to a Danish financial institution.
- Be extra cautious if the landlord asks you to transfer money to a foreign account. It might be legitimate, but be critical.
- If you found the property through a housing platform, be extra cautious if the landlord contacts you outside the platform to save money.
- Communicate through the housing platform if that’s where you found the property. These platforms often have security measures to prevent fake accounts and listings.
- Insist on a viewing. This is a must. Check if the name matches the mailbox, the name on the door, etc.
- Get a valid lease contract. Many use a standard template for renting, but if you’re not comfortable with the wording or if it is in Danish, have someone who understands rental contracts read through it. Don´t take the rentors word for its validity.
- Don’t succumb to pressure. You might be impatient or even desperate, but keep your cool and never sign a contract on the spot.
If you have been the victim of housing fraud, contact the police.
Good to remember
If you’re moving away from home and it’s the first time you’ll be responsible for all necessities yourself, it’s a good idea to create a budget as one of the first steps. Expenses may include rent, including electricity and heating, food, insurance, streaming subscriptions, mobile phone, gym, clothing purchases, and social activities. Income sources include student financial aid (SU) if applicable, part-time jobs, and housing subsidies if eligible.
Also, remember to notify the local authorities of your move no later than five days after relocating.
Have you insured your laptop and mobile phone? Don’t forget about home contents insurance if you’re moving into your own place. Apart from being useful in case your bike gets stolen or an energy drink spills on your computer, it also includes liability coverage. This is handy if you accidentally damage someone else’s property or belongings. The home contents insurance from IDA is free for student members – which is truly exceptional. Even better, if you have flatmates, they can be included in the policy as well. Use this as an added bonus when looking for flat mates – this might be a sell point 🙂
The Danish Rent Act
When you have a contract in hand or want to know what to expect, it’s good to have a basic understanding of tenancy law. That’s why we’ve put together an FAQ.
Here, you’ll find answers to the most crucial aspects of tenancy law that could be relevant to your situation when you move into your own accommodation.
The regulations within tenancy law can be intricate and, in many aspects, not always straightforward. These rules can often prove challenging to comprehend and manage in practice, both for landlords and tenants. In numerous instances, parties can inadvertently find themselves in conflict with these regulations
The FAQ is solely a general and overarching description of a range of issues most relevant to a tenant. It is not intended as a complete, let alone exhaustive, account of how a tenant is legally positioned in the described contexts, and therefore, the information provided cannot stand alone when a dispute arises or when the tenant needs to ascertain whether the rules of the tenancy law have been violated.
The description serves as guidance, enabling both the landlord and the tenant to access information about what is generally applicable—as a basis for seeking further information or advice when needed.