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RENTING

Denmark proposes affordable rental housing in Christiania enclave

Denmark’s government wants to build subsidised housing in Christiania, an alternative enclave of Copenhagen first established as a squat in the 1970s.

Christiania, here photographed in September 2021, could be one of a number of parts of Copenhagen to get new affordable rental housing under a new government plan.
Christiania, here photographed in September 2021, could be one of a number of parts of Copenhagen to get new affordable rental housing under a new government plan. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Christiania, home to around 900 people, is now legally owned by its residents and recently marked the 50-year anniversary of its foundation when squatters moved into a disused army barracks in 1971.

By proposing the construction of new subsidised housing in Christiania, the government could change the ‘freetown’ significantly.

The proposal to put new homes in the area part of a plan to build 22,000 new subsidised homes in Denmark by 2035, presented by the government on Tuesday.

The proposal text lists a number of specific locations in Copenhagen where new subsidised housing could be established, including parts of Nørrebro and Bispebjerg as well as Christiania.

“If we want to create balance in all of Denmark, we also need to create balance in our big cities. That balance is tipped when it’s hard for normal people to find housing and when new residential areas are on the way to becoming affluent quarters,” housing minister Kaare Dybvad Bek said, presenting the plan on Tuesday.

“We are therefore putting ourselves at the forefront of building more subsidised homes to ensure mixed cities,” the minister added.

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

The proposal does not give clear detail on the viability of constructing new homes in Christiania, but says the government will “investigate” and “work targetedly towards” building subsidised housing in the area.

Neither is any figure given for how many of the 22,000 homes will be placed in Christiania.

The government proposes that municipalities be given the power to demand that up to 33 percent of housing in new developments are allocated to subsidised housing.

This will “need a change to the law and it will need money,” Dybvad said.

Ten billion kroner from Nybyggerifonden, foundation into which residents in newly-built subsidised housing have paid as part of their rent since 1999, will be used to build the 22,000 new homes by 2035, according to the plan.

The foundation, which currently has around one billion kroner, will be used to finance a new foundation for economically divers cities and will receive five billion kroner up to 2031, according to the plan outlined Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Christiania residents said in response to Tuesday’s announcement that they would wait until more detail of the proposal emerges before taking any stance on it.

“We don’t know anything about the proposal, so we’ll have to address it when (detail) comes,” Hulda Mader from Christiania’s press group said.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s ‘freetown’ Christiania hangs onto soul, 50 years on

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RENTING

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 

Husleje

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).

Opsigelse 

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.

Indskud/depositum

 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.

Boligstøtte 

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 Borger.dk platform.

Ungdomsbolig 

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

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