- Download our Moving to Denmark Guide (PDF)
Accommodation in Denmark comes in a variety of forms and is generally of an exceptional standard. From city apartments to suburban houses, expats are sure to find something to suit their lifestyle and budget.
Most newcomers to Denmark rent their accommodation rather than buy, as they will require special permission to buy property in the country. This does not apply to expats who have been permanent residents in Denmark for more than five years.
Types of accommodation in Denmark
Expats in Denmark can choose from apartments or suburban houses. Most accommodation in Danish cities comprises apartment blocks, and is best suited for single professional expats or young couples. Houses are more common in the suburbs, most of which have gardens. Suburban houses are usually the best option for those expats with children.
New arrivals in Denmark who want to live in the city should look out for apartments in beautiful historical buildings. These can be a real find for those lucky enough, as the apartments are generally of a high standard.
Rækkehus are private single-family homes where the outer walls of the property are linked to one another. There are also værelse available – these are shared rooms in a house. This type of house is usually favoured by students looking to save on their rental costs and build relationships with locals and those in similar situations.
Furnished vs unfurnished
Most rental properties in Denmark will come largely unfurnished, with only the basics, such as a fridge, freezer, oven and hob, supplied. Though rare, it's also possible to find long-term rental accommodation fully furnished, but this will generally attract a higher rental cost and more competition, as these apartments are typically sought after. Expats who will only be in the country for the short term often opt for this option to avoid the costs of buying or shipping furniture.
Thanks to the proliferation of platforms such as Airbnb, short-term rentals have become more popular worldwide. Short lets are fully furnished accommodation options that offer expats an opportunity to experience a neighbourhood before committing to a long-term lease. They are also great for those who will only be in the country for the short term, as they are more affordable than hotels and usually also include utilities in the quoted price.
Finding accommodation in Denmark
Expats looking for accommodation in Denmark should browse online property postings. A more convenient, but also pricier, option is to enlist the help of a real-estate agent. Estate agents will have the most extensive list of available housing and can also arrange viewings for prospective tenants.
It is also a good idea to speak to other expats already living in Denmark to find out how they went about finding accommodation. It’s quite common for expats to take over the lease of other departing expats.
- BoligPortal, Apartment in Copenhagen and Boligsiden are among the most popular property portals in Denmark.
- Foreigners in Denmark and Expats in Copenhagen are social media groups where expats can find rental properties from other expats and landlords who have experience working with new arrivals.
Renting accommodation in Denmark
Rental properties in major cities such as Copenhagen are usually highly sought after, so competition will be tough. Expats are advised to ensure they have key documentation such as proof of income, their residency permit with their Central Person Registration (CPR) number and proof of identification, ready when beginning the house hunt.
Once expats have found a rental to their liking, they will need to sign a tenancy agreement. Lease agreements in Denmark are typically for 12 months, but expats can negotiate shorter or longer contracts with their landlords.
New arrivals to Denmark should ensure their lease agreements state which utilities they will be responsible for, maintenance plans and the tenant and landlord's rights. Expats should ensure that they read their lease carefully before signing and should negotiate any terms they are unhappy with.
Once the lease is signed, expats will need to pay a deposit of up to three months’ rent. Tenants will also typically have to pay three months of pre-paid rent, as well as the first month's rent. This is equivalent to seven months' rent upfront and can be quite hefty for expats, but some landlords may be open to negotiation.
The pre-paid rent can be used to account for the remaining rental costs when the lease is terminated, and the deposit is usually returned if there is no significant damage to the property. The lease is provided in Danish and English, but only the Danish version will be legally recognised, expats need to have a Danish-speaking friend or real-estate agent go through it.
Termination of the lease
Expats who would like to terminate their lease before its stipulated expiration date must give their landlord notice at least three months before their intended departure date. They must do a thorough inspection of the property with the landlord upon moving out to avoid being unfairly charged for damages to the property beyond normal wear and tear.
Utilities are usually an additional charge on top of rent. Heating and water are typically paid to the landlord, while electricity is typically paid directly to the supplying company. It's common for landlords to request that tenants pay a fixed prepayment (conto) as part of their rent to cover utilities. To access all utility services, expats must ensure they have their CPR numbers.
Electricity and gas
Denmark operates a deregulated electricity market where customers can choose their own electricity suppliers. Ørsted is the largest electricity and gas supplier in Denmark, and customers can switch between electricity and gas suppliers at no cost. New arrivals will have a choice between a fixed or variable rate when choosing their electricity suppliers.
Expats are advised to contact their electricity suppliers at least two months in advance to ensure they are connected on their moving in date. The latest new arrivals can reach out to their electricity suppliers is at least 14 working days before moving in.
Much of the drinking water in Denmark comes from groundwater sources. Water supply across the country is managed by individual municipalities and usage is monitored through meters. The meters are read annually and expats are then refunded if they used less than their initial payment, or they are asked to pay more if their usage was higher.
Bins and recycling
Recycling and efficient waste management are an integral part of the Danish society. Waste management is overseen at municipal level. Municipalities are responsible for providing waste bins and collecting rubbish weekly. Residents are encouraged to separate waste at the source and most buildings will have separate rubbish bins for different materials such as glass, paper, plastic and electronic waste.
There are also recycling centres available throughout the country where residents can take their sorted recyclables. Denmark also has a recycling system for bottles and cans known as the Pant system. This involves paying a pant deposit when purchasing a recyclable bottle or can, residents can then get their deposit back when returning the bottle or can back to a reverse vending machine at a supermarket. Residents also receive a receipt from the vending machine that allows them a discount at the supermarket.
Denmark offers modern connectivity options, including fibre optic, wireless and cable. Most internet service providers offer reliable connections and some offer bundled options that allow users to combine their phone, internet and TV connections. This often works out to be the most economical option. Similar to other utilities, expats must have their CPR number before applying for internet contracts.
- To compare electricity prices across different suppliers in Denmark, expats can visit Elpris.
- The Danish Ministry of Environment's Environmental Protection Agency has more on waste management and recycling in the country.
- Kviknet and Lebara are some of the most popular internet service providers in Denmark.
What do expats say about housing standards in Denmark?
"The housing standards are pretty bad. Copenhagen has an unfair rental market. Flats are overpriced and as a tenant, you barely have any rights over your deposit. On top of that, finding an apartment is quite hard because of the insanely high demand and low supply." Read our interview with Spanish expat Astrid to learn more about moving to Denmark.
►For information on expat expenses in Denmark, see our page on the Cost of Living in Denmark
Photo credits: Residential housing in Denmark by Katerina Katsalap; Moving in checklist by Karolina Grabowska. Both sourced from Pexels
Are you an expat living in Denmark?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Denmark. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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