When renting a house, apartment or room in Denmark, owners (udlejer) almost always demand from the renter (lejer) a security taken against any future arrears in payments, or in case renovation after the agreement is over. Following the 2015 changes in law, it is worth revising our rights if we entered into rental agreement before the 2015 changes and afterwards.

deposit

Proper rental agreement
First and foremost, a proper and legally binding rental agreement must be signed. There exists one official standard form of rental agreement. It is not obligatory, but may serve as a good source of all elements of a rental agreement, thus, we can be sure that nothing will be missed out.
Download the standard form HERE

Read also: Before signing the agreement...

What kind of security can lessors demand?
A security may take the form of a:
1. down payment (maximum of threefold monthly rent) - forudbetalt leje; or
2. deposit (maximum of threefold monthly rent).

The total amount of security may not exceede the sextuple monthly rent (it is not allowed to demand a deposit in the amount of the sextuple monthly rent). The agreement must specify both: the amount of the down payment and the amount of the deposit.
If, at the beginning of the rental, the tenant made the down payment e.g. for three months, the amount paid in advance may be later settled on account of a three-months' rent during the notice period. No such possibility exists in the case of the deposit, which is paid as a security to the lessor against renovation requirements.
Any other securities, or the amount of the deposit exceeding the sextuple monthly rent are illegal and can be reduced.

Read also: Huslejenævnet – how can they help you?

Return of the deposit
The lessor is not obliged to return the deposit on the day the tenant leaves the rented property.
The lessor is assumed to settle all possible costs of renovation and return the deposit within one or one and a half month from the date of tenant's moving out. The lessor shall inform the tenant in wiritng within two weeks (up to four weeks at the latest, if the contracts provides such an option) since the vacancy about all damage, renovation and repairs requirements. If the lessor does not meet the deadline of the notification, he or she is not allowed to claim any costs from the tenant and must return the deposit in full.
The lessor in not obliged to inform within these two weeks about the price of renovations (or other deadline specified in the contract), if the cost of the renovations has not been estimated yet.

If the lessor is overdue in the payment of the deposit after the move-out day, the tenant must in the first place send a registerd letter with the order of payment (a copy of the document and the receipt must be kept), indicating the deadline and bank account number to which the security is to be returned.
If the lessor still evades the obligation of returning the deposit, the tenant must contact a tenants organization dealing with such cases for its members, e.g., LLO, or ask a lawyer. Tenants may also seek free legal advice, available in every city - retshjælp (you can browse it in the Internet by entering retshjælp and the name of your city).

Download the letter with the order of deposit payment HERE and and the instruction how to fulfill it HERE

In the case the property changes its owner, the tenant may demand the deposit return from the new owner. The tenant cannot demand interest on the rent deposit.

Huslejenævnet
Huslejenævnet is a department specializing in contentious tenancy and deposit issues, operating in every kommune. Huslejenævnet cannot handle all types of cases related with hiring an apartment, it is therefore worth joining a tenants organization to get quick help when the need arises, or contacting a law office.

What you need to know about the new tenancy law?
Rental agreements that went into effect before July 01st, 2015, must respect old provisions of law. Rental agreements signed after that date are subject to the new law.
As far as the deposit is concerned, the most significant development has been the introduction of the obligation to draw up a handover protocol, both on the day of moving in (indflytningsrapport) and on the day of moving out (fraflytningsrapport), jointly by the lessor and tenant. It is strongly advised that the parties attach photographs of the property to the protocol. If, at the moment of drawing up the protocol, one of the parties is not present, or if the protocol does not contain all required remarks (from the point of view of any of the parties), any reservations must be submitted in writing to the owner/administrator of the property as soon as possible.
Regardless of the handover protocol requirement, the tenant has a right to report in writing by a registered letter within fourteen days after moving in all defects noticed in the property. In some cases, it is not possible to identify all hidden damage or defects within fourteen days, it is still necessary to inform the owner/administrator of our findings immediately.
On the tenant's move-out day, the owner of the property must inform the tenant in writing about the date of the handover protocol (fraflytningsrapport) at least one week before the protocol is drawn up. If the owner fails to do so, he or she cannot keep the deposit and must return it in full, even if the the protocol reveals damage or renovation requirements.
If you do not agree with the provisions of the protocol, do not sign it and make sure to clarify all discrepancies.
The lessor may charge the tenant only with the costs of renovation arising from a normal wear and tear of the property, as provided for by the protocol, e.g., paintwork, and is obliged to prove the necessity of the renovation works. This means that the lessor cannot repair any damage at the expense of the tenant, if the tenant is not proven to have done the damage.

Summary:
1. Make sure you sign the right contract and read it carefully before you sign it, or even send it to a professional for verification.
2. Draw up the handover protocol jointly with the lessor both on the move-in and move-out day with pictures.
3. Enrol in a tenancy organization, especially if you plan to rent an apartment for a longer time.

Read also: Termination of rental agreement – a brief guide

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