What you need to know about your tenancy agreement

What exactly is a tenancy agreement and why do you need one? Why is it a good idea to have a written contract drawn up before you move into your apartment or room? And are you sufficiently protected if you don’t have a written tenancy agreement? 

A tenancy agreement (sometimes referred to as a lease) is a written contract between you and your landlord. It states which rights and obligations each party have under the agreement, and so it basically forms the conditions of your tenancy. 

The most important aspects covered by the tenancy agreement is:

  • The beginning and duration of the tenancy
  • The size of the deposit, rent and pre-paid rent
  • The rental unit (i.e. what your tenancy covers)
  • Who is responsible for the costs of utilities (water, heating and electricity)
  • Who is responsible for the internal maintenance 
  • Whether there’s anything in the agreement that derogates from the provisions of the Danish tenancy laws

One of the most important sections in the lease is without a doubt Section 11, since this is where your landlord can legally derogate from the Danish tenancy laws, and as a consequence add further obligations to you as a tenant. 

It’s quite important that you read the agreement before signing as you’ll then be sure that the contract corresponds to what you’ve agreed to with your landlord. If you’ve only entered into an oral agreement with your landlord it’s generally a good idea to ask for a written contract as well. 

Remember that if you’re paying too much in rent, Rent Guide can help you get a compensation for the overpaid amount. You can read more about that further down the page. 

First we’ll just go through the individual parts of the tenancy agreement in more detail. 

Read here about your tenancy agreement

You’ll always be able to download a free template of the standardised housing tenancy agreement (called “Typeformular A. 9. udgave”) on the internet. Remember to always use the current version (nr. 9) to make sure the lease will not be deemed invalid at a later time. You’ll also be able to get an English version, which is an unauthorised translation of the Danish one. 

Section 1 of the tenancy agreement: The parties and the rental unit

In section 1 of your tenancy agreement it is stated which type of rental unit the agreement concerns, such as whether it’s a whole apartment or a single room. This section also states your name, the landlords name, the size of the rental unit as well as the extent of the use of the property (i.e. what the rental unit may or may not be used for).

Section 2 of the tenancy agreement: Period of tenancy

In this section the duration of the tenancy is specified which is the dates for when the tenancy starts and ends. If there’s any special agreement between you and the landlord concerning the duration of the tenancy, such as a fixed-term tenancy, this has to be stated under Section 11 of the contract. 

Section 3 of the tenancy agreement: Payment of rent

This part of the agreement states the size of the rent as well as whether this is paid monthly or quarterly. Here is also where possible additional costs for utilities such as electricity, heating and internet will appear.  

Remember that if you suspect that your rent might be too high, Rent Guide is always ready to help you!

Section 4 of the tenancy agreement: Deposit and prepaid rent

It will be stated in Section 4 of your contract how much you’ll have to pay in deposit and pre-paid rent. Your landlord is not allowed to charge more for deposit or pre-paid rent than what is equivalent to 3 months rent. That means you might risk paying 6 months worth of rent when you move into your new home. However, you will of course be able to use the pre-paid rent for the last months of your tenancy. 

Section 5 of the tenancy agreement: Heating, cooling, water and electricity

In Section 5 it will be evident whether it’s the landlord or the tenant who is responsible for the supply of heating, cooling, water and electricity. 

Section 6 of the tenancy agreement: Common aerials, etc. and access to electronic communication services

In Section 6 it will appear whether the landlord or the aerial association for the tenants provides connection to a communal aerial and whether the landlord provides access to the internet. 

Section 7 of the tenancy agreement: Property condition at the start of the tenancy

It will be stated in Section 7 of the agreement whether the rental unit has been assessed in an initial inspection when you moved in at the beginning of the tenancy. It’s very important to give your landlord a written notice of any deficiencies related to the property within the first 14 days of the tenancy – otherwise you may lose the right to make any subsequent claims concerning these deficiencies.

Section 8 of the tenancy agreement: Maintenance

In this section of your tenancy agreement it will be stated whether you or your landlord have the responsibility for the internal maintenance. It is generally the tenant who is responsible for internal maintenance, which often includes painting, paperhanging, surface finishing of floors etc. This part of the tenancy agreement along with Section 7 is quite important for any future disputes concerning what you’re liable to pay for when you move out, and as a consequence how much of your deposit you’ll get back. 

Section 9 of the tenancy agreement: Fixtures and appliances 

Under Section 9 of the agreement the landlord will have clarified which of the items in the rental unit is the property of the landlord. It might be a good idea to make sure the items listed under this section is in fact part of the rented property as well as the condition of these items, as you might otherwise risk being liable for replacing these when you move out. 

Section 10 of the tenancy agreement: Tenant representation, pets, house rules and additional information regarding the tenancy

Are you allowed to have pets in the rented property? Are there any house rules that you have to follow? Is there a tenant association that can enter into agreements with the landlord on behalf of all the tenants? Or might there by any other information about the tenancy? This will all be included under Section 10 of the contract. It’s important that you respect any house rules there may be for the building as you might otherwise risk termination of your tenancy. Consequently, if it’s stated in your contract or in any additional house rules that you’re not allowed to have pets, the landlord can give you a written notice of termination in case you continue keeping pets in the property – such termination can either be with immediate effect or with the usual or agreed termination notice. 

Section 11 of the tenancy agreement: Special terms

Are there any special conditions agreed to in the tenancy agreement, it has to be stated under Section 11 of the contract. This is where the contract will specify if you and the landlord have agreed to any derogations from the general provisions of the tenancy laws and the other provisions in the tenancy agreement (i.e. sections 1-10). That means that if your rights as a tenant has been restricted, or you’ve assumed more responsibility under the agreement in comparison to the provisions of the tenancy laws, it will have to be stated here. Section 11 may, however, be included in a separate document, which you’ll also need to have signed. 

Your landlord will therefore be able to insert a clause concerning e.g. any future rent-increases, additional information about keeping pets or whether the tenancy is time-limited (i.e. a fixed-term tenancy). 

This means that, as a tenant, you need to read this section of your contract very closely and perhaps seek help from a legal advisor. Not only does this section inform you of any special conditions you may have agreed to, but you may have agreed to derogations from certain provisions in the tenancy laws that is non-derogable. 

What else do you need to know about your tenancy agreement? 

If you’re not sure about something in your tenancy agreement you can always seek out help from legal experts in tenancy law either from LLO (the Danish Tenants Organisation) or Lejernes Frie Retshjælp (free legal aid for tenants). This is usually free, however, as a member of LLO you’ll of course need to pay a membership fee. 

If you’re paying too much in rent, the best option for you is to contact Rent Guide, as we’ll be able to help lower your rent and get a compensation for the amount you’ve already overpaid. 

If you, for some reason, have not read your tenancy agreement closely enough before you signed the contract, it might be a good idea to have a legal expert look it through. This way you’ll be able to know if there’s anything you’ve agreed to in the contract which is not permitted under the Danish tenancy laws. 

But if you don’t have any written tenancy contract you can still breathe easily, as you’ll nevertheless be covered by the relevant provisions in the legislation. Sometimes it may even be a good thing not to have a written agreement as these provisions might give you a better position than what you might have agreed to in the special terms under Section 11 of the contract. Also you’ll always be able to prove your tenancy based on documentation such as bank-statements with transfers of your rent or deposit. 

If you’re sharing an apartment with a partner or a friend, it might be a good idea to be a bit more cautious. You’ll need to know beforehand what might happen if you break up with a partner or your friend decides to move away, as both being on the contract and not being on the contract may cause some problems for you. If your name is not on the tenancy agreement you only have 1 month notice to move out of the apartment. However, if your name is on the contract you may be liable for damages caused to the property even after you’ve moved out. 

You may also risk paying too much in rent. This is of course something Rent Guide can help you with! 

Rent Guide and your tenancy agreement

It’s of course very unfortunate if you’re paying too much in rent. This may be a consequence of yearly rent-increases agreed to in Section 11 of the contract, where at some point the rent is too high compared to the size and condition of the rental unit. However, remember that if you’ve entered into the tenancy agreement after July 1st 2015 a fixed yearly increase in rent is not valid unless it’s based on changes in the net price index. 

Luckily, you’re always covered by the relevant tenancy legislation, and you’ll therefore always be able to file a claim to the Rent Control Board. However, it may at times be a difficult and longsome process to file such a claim, as the tenancy laws can be quite complicated. Rent Guide is therefore always ready to help you with the process in order to get your rent lowered. 

At Rent Guide we’re excellent at assessing whether you have a good case or not. If we consider your rent to be too high, we can help you with the legal aspect of your case, due to our expertise in the relevant legislation. 

If we believe that you have a case that we can win for you, we’ll take care of all the legal issues for you related to the rent-level case both in regards to the landlord, your landlords lawyers and the Rent Control Board, so you don’t have to deal with that yourself. We might even be able to help get you a compensation for the rent you’ve already overpaid from the day you moved in to your apartment or room. 

We do all this for free due to our model of ‘No Cure No Pay’ – and only charge you a fee of 30 % of the final compensation if we win the case. We will however not charge you anything beyond this once the case has been closed and we’ve received the compensation from the landlord. 

You can create a case through our website by first trying out our calculator, which will be able to tell you if you’re paying too much in rent. After you’ve created a case and uploaded your tenancy agreement, we’ll be able to make a full assessment of your case and tell you whether there’s a good chance of getting your rent lowered. 

If you’d like Rent Guide to help you lower your rent and get a compensation for overpaid rent, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.