Note: Some data and all percentages presented in the article may not be accurate at current time of reading this article.
Foreigners are being deceived in Denmark
DIGURA helps tenants all over Denmark – both in the big cities, in the suburbs and in the smaller cities,towns and villages. We help both Danish and foreign clients with their disputes in their tenancies. In fact, we handle so many foreign cases that we have two English-speaking employees to help our foreign clients. 32% of our cases come from foreign tenants, and our client base consists of 38% foreigners.
Our data on the subject
Since we started DIGURA over 3 years ago, we have received more than 5,000 inquiries, also called potential cases, and out of these, 32% of these inquiries have been from foreigners – that is over 1600 potential cases. Based on our data, experience and assessment, 62% of these inquiries had a definite issue and a conflict where something was wrong.
The inquiries have referred to:
- Rent: 28%
- Move outs and deposit: 26%
- Utilities and on-account payments: 16%
- Maintenance and shortcomings: 21%
- Other: 9%
The numbers above are based on the issues that the foreign tenants have addressed to DIGURA.
Out of the 62% of cases with an actual problem, the numbers look different. Mainly, this is due to the fact that tenants often only seek help and make claims against their landlord if there is a significant financial gain, and this aspect is mostly seen in the subjects of relocation and rent. Also, many tenants do not want to create an unnecessary conflict with landlords, and therefore it often seen that the problem must be of a certain size before the tenant seeks help.
The numbers read as follows:
- Rent: 42%
- Relocation: 39%
- Utilities and on-account payments: 11%
- Maintenance and shortcomings 5%
- Other: 3%
The numbers above are based on the +1000 cases that DIGURA is processing at this moment or already has processed for foreign tenants in Denmark. The data is divided into direct dialogues with the landlord and settlement agreements as well as decisions by the Huslejenævnet. Data is not restricted to certain geographical locations but distributed throughout Denmark.
In all cases that DIGURA has processes for foreign tenants in Denmark, the outcome has been positive in 97% of the cases. There is full support from the Huslejenævnet for settlement in 54% of these cases. The remaining 46% has been partially supported by the Huslejenævnet or by settlement. In partial assent, the assent has consistently been in favor of the tenant in more than 50% of the cases.
Statement from our advisor responsible for English speaking clients, Louise Song:
“The most common issues with foreign tenants are rent and deposit cases. Among other things, it is foreign students who are charged an incredibly high rent for a small furnished room, and they never see any of their deposit again. They are desperate to find a place to live, so they often accept the first offer they find.”
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The economic aspect of the cases
At DIGURA, we go through a lot of data – In fact, the whole business is based on data. The average amount for which we save clients is DKK 24,500 for all types of cases (of course, primarily driven by moving and rent cases). For foreigners, the average amount is DKK 28,400. This is an average of 20% above what the “Danish cases” are closed to. The largest amount we have had is DKK 76,000. This is based on a three-digit dataset of completed cases. It is a remarkable number, which shows that foreigners have a real disadvantage in Denmark and experience a greater financial burden than Danes.
The numbers above are based on internal data regarding settlements and decisions at the Huslejenævnet. This is based on actual data of closed cases.
The media has presented data stating that foreign tenants are paying up to 28% more than Danes in rental housing. This is not a thesis we disagree with – but we have not been able to document or find a pattern that can verify the validity of the data*. Overall, it is not possible to make a conclusion like this, as it would require a very specific situation, where a Dane and a foreigner would have to rent the same apartment at different prices. This data does (most likely) not exist.
The data is most likely based on different tenancies, where the square meters of the premises have been measured and divided by the rent and then measured an m2 price distributed among Danes and foreigners. Location, state of the tenancy or other basic conditions may not have been taken into account. Every lease must be assessed specifically, which is why this method is not data-supportive for the thesis. At DIGURA, we recognize the fact that our primary target group for rent cases is foreigners, but putting a specific number on the “defraud” will be impossible. In total, The amount we have saved for our clients is over 20 million DKK.
*Our data on rent consists of more than 10,000 data points.
Why don’t we see more cases with foreigners / Why are foreigners being deceived?
At DIGURA, we are “unfortunately” aware of the fact that a lot of tenants are being deceived. Many of these are foreign tenants, which is why we have gathered the main reasons for why they are being deceived as well as why there are no more cases in the area. The reasons were found after reviewing correspondences with clients or potential clients where we have noted their reasoning for contacting us or that they have misunderstood / been told incorrect information from the landlord or other tenant representants. The reasons are listed in random order.
- The landlord takes it to court if there are problems with the lease
The landlord “converts” the rules, so the tenant thinks that the landlord can take it to court whenever there are any problems.
- They move out of the country and therefore cannot claim their rights
When you move out of Denmark, you can still claim your right. We see many tenants who think they can no longer do anything about the matter and thus give up on a lot of money.
- Expensive area equals expensive rent
Many tenants (both Danes and foreigners) believe that because everyone pays a high rent in the area, that is the standard. In fact, it is often the case that everyone pays too much.
- Foreigners do not have rights until they have had 2 years of residence in the country
As a foreigner, you have the same rights in your lease as Danes have from day 1 without any exceptions.
- Can be thrown out of the tenancy if one raises an objection
Your landlord cannot terminate you if you make an objection regarding your rent, complain about your neighbor or a third matter.
- The Rent Act is just a “guideline” and does not need to be followed
The Rent Act consists of a number of mandatory rules, which cannot be ignored in order to harm the tenant. We see too many being deceived for this reason!
- The building is build later than 1991, so the landlord must set the rent as they want
Although many rental sites say that if the building is built later than 1991, they cannot help you, it is because of their lack of competence and not based on facts. In order for the landlord to set the rent, there are still some clear requirements that must be met. The rent must not be unreasonable, and therefore it can still be reduced.
The article above is not comprehensive, but enlightens the lack of information regarding the matter in Denmark. At DIGURA, we have +400 inquiries from foreigners a month.
“At DIGURA, we also see an extremely large number of inquiries from foreign tenants in Denmark. That is why we have adapted our service so that both Danish and foreign tenants have equal opportunities to learn about their rights and seek legal representation. Unfortunately, before we launched DIGURA, the amount of articles available on Danish rental legislation in English was very limited. Many foreign tenants are well aware of the fact that they are being deceived but feel powerless in a foreign justice system”,
Ms. Louise Song, Senior Advisor at DIGURA
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Facts about DIGURA
DIGURA is one of the country’s leading legal companies in the field of tenancy, where we process hundreds of cases on a continuous basis on behalf of tenants. This is both in dialogues with landlords and by filing with the Huslejenævnet. Last year (2021), we received more than 4,500 inquiries. Since we started helping tenants some years ago, we have received more than 7,000 inquiries. DIGURA has completed more than a 5-digit number of cases over the past 3 years.
DIGURA uses more than 16,500 data points in the assessments that the tenant can undergo at DIGURA and has a total database of more than 5,000 tenancy rulings. We also actively use data to analyze case law, case outcomes, rent levels and distribution of case outcomes at rent boards, at conciliation and many other very interesting data points. DIGURA has 15+ employees at our office in Aalborg.