Denmark wants to build 20,000 new affordable rental homes

The government plans to increase the amount of subsidised (almene) housing in Denmark, in a move it says will provide a more diverse population in larger cities.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen discussed Copenhagen's lack of affordable housing in her opening speech to parliament.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen discussed Copenhagen's lack of affordable housing in her opening speech to parliament. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The proposal will set out a trebling of current construction of subsidised housing in the four largest cities – Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg.

That will make it easier for first-time buyers to find rental housing in large cities while saving for a deposit, the government says.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the plan during her speech at the reopening of parliament on Tuesday.

“We need more affordable housing. That’s why the government wants to make it possible to build more than 20,000 more subsidised homes over the next 10-15 years. Most will be built in the larger cities,” Frederiksen told parliament.

The PM referred to high apartment prices in Copenhagen neighbourhood Nørrebro in her speech. Three-room apartments in the area are currently listed with estate agents at 4-6 million kroner.

That makes it “very difficult” for first time buyers to get on the property ladder in the area, Frederiksen said.

“Denmark’s capital is a city where people actually still live their lives. That’s good. And when you look around the world that’s in no way a given. But there’s a problem. A big problem. Many people can no longer afford to live in the capital that belongs to all of us,” she said in the parliament speech.

It is important to note the difference between the two main types of rental housing in Denmark: private rentals and almene boliger (literally, ‘general housing’), a form of subsidised housing. Frederiksen was referring to the latter in her announcement of the plans on Tuesday.

For almene boliger, local municipalities put up 10 percent of building costs and in return have the right to decide who is allocated one in four available apartments, enabling them to provide housing to municipal residents who need it. The housing therefore plays a role in the social housing provision.

This type of housing is normally managed by a boligforening or housing association. Rent goes towards costs of running the housing and to pay off the housing association’s loans, which means property owners aren’t profiting from rents and prices are controlled.

Private rental prices are dependent on market forces to a greater extent.

READ ALSO: How the cost of renting an apartment in Copenhagen compares to other cities in Denmark

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Five essential words you need when renting a home in Denmark

Renting a home in Denmark is no walk in the park, especially in the big cities. We can’t find you a flat, but hope we can help you along the way with some useful vocab.

Housing in Copenhagen. A few key Danish words might make finding a place to rent just a little bit easier..
A few key Danish words might make finding a place to rent just a little bit easier.. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

If Danish is your second language but you feel comfortable enough with it to use in official correspondences, knowing a few key technical words can enable you to put your existing proficiency to reliable use.

Looking for rental housing could be one such situation. In our personal experience, landlords can entirely refuse to communicate in English.

Even in less difficult situations, knowing the right words can make it easier to understand and correctly react to posts on rental housing sites like Boligsiden, when you want to be quick and efficient at responding.

We’ve put together an outline of some of these words, their meanings and the context in which you might use them. If there’s anything important you think we’ve missed, let us know.

READ ALSO: Five essential words you need when speaking to a doctor in Denmark 


From the verb at leje (to rent), the husleje is the rent you pay on a property. Related words include lejer (tenant), udlejer (landlord), lejekontrakt (rental contract) and fremleje (sublet).

Other compound words and phrases involving leje are found in rental agreements. You’re unlikely to find them elsewhere but they are important for understanding you contract properly. For example, you will be obliged to move out of the lejemål (property) on the date set by a tidsbegrænset lejeaftale (fixed-period rental agreement).


Termination of a rental contract is opsigelse in Danish. This normally applies to giving notice when moving out of your apartment, but your contract can also be opsagt (terminated) by a landlord if you have breached the terms in a way that gives them the legal basis to do this.

You can find more on the legal ins and outs of this here (in Danish).

You might recognise the word from the related at sige op (to quit), usually used when handing in a notice at a job.


 The deposit you must pay before moving in is known in Danish as either the indskud or depositum. You’re also likely to be required to stump up forudbetalt husleje (rent upfront).

Rental contracts can stipulate up to three months of rent upfront, and deposits can also be as much as three months’ rent, meaning you can be faced with paying eye-watering costs equivalent to six months of rent before even getting the keys to your flat.

People who live in subsidised rental housing (almene boliger) can apply to the local municipality for a special loan to pay these moving-in costs. The interest on the rent is very low and it is usually only paid back when you are returned your deposit (or what’s left of it) after moving out.


Literally ‘housing support’, boligstøtte is a deduction to your rent which takes the form of money paid into your account by the state. You can qualify for it depending on a number of criteria including your income, the size of the property you rent, and how many people are living there (and contributing to the rent).

Tenants in both private and subsidised rental homes can qualify for the subsidy, which must be applied for digitally via the platform.


You are allowed to live in an ungdomsbolig (‘youth housing’) if you are enrolled in full time education.

Such housing can be found either with regular housing associations or by applying for an apartment with youth housing associations in the cities in Denmark which have universities and other major educational institutions.

There can be a long waiting list before you are offered an apartment through this route, and you may find a kollegieværelse (room in student halls) is your first point of call for living in Denmark as a student. But various personal factors, including your studies, financial and social situations are taken into account when you apply for a student flat.

You can see a list of the various youth housing associations in Danish university cities here.

READ ALSO: Five key things to know about renting in Denmark