So, you’ve decided to move to Denmark. What next? Well, there’s plenty of questions on the list, these are some of mine;
- Am I allowed in / can I stay?
- How do I get there / all my stuff there
- What work will I be able to do and what will be available to me?
- When I do find work, what do I need to know about taxation , etc?
- Is there anything the government of Denmark do to help me with work/taxation/language?
All of these and more will be looked at and answered in their own time, I am sure.
Before all of that, though, comes the big question – WHERE AM I GOING TO LIVE?!? – SO here we go, what to do about accomodation
The Danish housing market is, in many ways, very similar to that of the UK; there are houses for sale, to rent through private landlords and those made available through the housing associations.
I have put this first as, frankly, this is something we are yet to really look into as it’s not yet on our radar. If you’re interested, though, there’s a very good article at Hej Sønderborg about Ann and Michael’s experience in buying a home and some great information and advice there too. (This is just one of many blogs I have seen, read and will reference. There is no affiliation or interest here, just friendly tagging!)
Like here in the UK, the rental market in Denmark is a strong one. It is also, great news for us, mainly an online process now.
The main website that we have used so far in our rental search is Bolig Portal, a property search website that covers the whole country.
Bolig Portal allows you to narrow your search by location, size, price, number of rooms and type of housing.
Warning, a word on number of rooms – The Danes class the living space (or living room) in their properties as a ‘room’. When looking for accommodation, therefore, you need to take this into account. A 4 room property, generally speaking, is 3 bedrooms for example.
Most of the property search websites charge a fee for you to access their services such as contacting landlords etc. This is a subscription and gives you full access to the site’s features. You can, however, search and view properties on the website without paying the fees.
Found the perfect home? First, pay the fee, then you will need to contact the landlord. This is an interesting process from an outsider’s point of view… Many of the landlords will ‘collect’ the interest in their properties and then contact the most attractive enquirers and arrange, usually a group, viewing. That means that the initial contact is not as casual as it might be here in the UK – you are effectively bidding for the attention of the landlord.
When you’ve secured a place, you will need to pay a deposit. Advice – be sitting down when you look at the deposit fees… Most deposits in Denmark are based on 3 months rent in advance and 3 months as a security deposit. This means that you pay 6 moths rent up front. The deposit, I am told, you almost never get back as this is used, when you leave, to paint everything white (no Beige or Magnolia in Denmark) and to sand and varnish all the flooring (carpets are also not common). The advanced rent, however, is used at the end of the tenancy to pay for the final 3 months. This means that you are almost always required to give three months notice to leave a property but then you stop paying rent (which is helpful, given that you need to find a further 6 months rent to move to your new place).
That means that, for an apartment that is 8,000 DKK (Danish Krone) a month, you would look to pay 48,000 DKK to move in. That’s £5500 (rounded up) or $7200 USD.
What do I get for my money?
There are, I am learning, quite a few differences in terms of what is included in your rental payments and what is not. Whilst this is the same in the UK, in my experience it is more common to pay a rental with no extras (such as electricity/gas/water/telephone/TV etc) included and these are paid by the tenants separately. In Denmark there is, it seems, a real mixed bag of what is and is not included so it’s definitely worth checking. Bolig Portal for example do tend to list what is and is not included in the rent payment.
Most Communes (Local Authorities or Departments, depending on your preference) have housing associations. These are, similarly to many in the UK, large organisations that provide mass housing options for the local population, normally in flats or apartments.
Anyone is able to register for the housing association, for a small fee, and you can select the properties you are interested in. The most desirable can have a 5+ year waiting list, some are as low as 6 months. Then you play the waiting game and keep an eye on your position on the list and wait for accommodation offers to come through.
What do I get for my money?
Very similar to private rental accommodation, the rental amount varies, as does what is included. Make sure you check the listing thoroughly (Google Translate is useful – and sometimes entertaining – for catching information.
Quick Danish Lesson
The Danish word ‘Bolig’, which I have used in this article, translates to (unsurprisingly), ‘Housing’ in English…