One of the biggest issues when moving to a new place is, often, finding a place to live. This can be even trickier if you don’t read and speak the local language. Here I’ll try and give some help to navigate the online sites if Danish is an issue in terms of where to look and how the housing market works. I’ll cover private rental and non-profit housing associations as this is what we have been looking for.
A couple of things to be aware of:
- Most places are let unfurnished – except for student accommodation.
- Flats and houses are often listed with number of rooms. So a flat listed as having 3 rooms would be equivalent to a British/American 2 bedroom flat.
- Monthly rent might include some, all or none of the utility bills.
- Estimated utilities bills might be listed (DK: Acconto forbrug or A/C).
- Standard deposit is 3 months rent and when you leave it will be used towards redecorating the apartment for the next tenant.
- Standard notice period for you is 3 months.
- Private rentals seem to be listed as available immediately or within the next month. Housing association flats seem to be listed 2-3 months before they are available.
We only found two places useful for finding private rentals.
Lokalavisen Sønderborg is a free weekly newspaper that’s accesible online. Have a look here (only in Danish).
If you have the printed edition and flip through to the section called Annoncemarked close to the centre of the paper, the Bolig section is for housing (both rental and owned).
There are loads of websites with rental properties in Denmark but only BoligPortal seemed to have recent ads from Sonderborg. Go to Find Lejebolig, select the southern part of Denmark and put a check next to 6400 Sønderborg. The drawback of this site is that as a tenant it costs dkk 365,- to get access to contact information for rentals.
Non-profit Housing Associations
Common providers of rental properties in Denmark are Housing Associations (DK: Boligforeninger). These are non-profit housing organisations where the people living in an estate pay for the expenses of the building through their rent. Nobody can make a profit from the estate so the rent is set so it exactly covers the cost of running the estate. Vacant flats are rented out based on a waiting list.
In Sonderborg there are three associations; SAB, B42 and SØBO that together manage more than 5000 apartments. SAB is the biggest and this is the one we have experience with and will explain about below. The others should work in similar ways.
In many other parts of Denmark waiting lists at housing associations can be long and you go to the back if you have not been a member for a long time. That is also the case for some estates in Sonderborg, but not everywhere.
- To get started you first sign up online
- Then make a bank transfer of the fee of dkk 200 to become an actively searching member and put on the waiting list.
- Go search for flats, add checks in Sønderborg and Familiebolig and maybe set up limits of size and rent. When you search you will get a list of properties within your limits and you mark all the ones you want to be put on the waiting list for.
- The waiting game starts now and if you are in the running for an apartment you will get an offer that tells you what number you are in line as well as the details of the flat.