Housing scams have become a major issue in big cities, and Copenhagen is not an exception. In this article, I share my experience about deposit scams in Copenhagen, which occur after I moved out of my department. Through my story, I share some tips on how to gain your deposit money back from the scammer.
My Story: Deposit Scams in Copenhagen
While waiting to receive my deposit after more than 1 month moving out, I found out that my former landlord had blocked my Facebook.
It was the most accurate word to describe what I felt at that time. I thought that this could not happen to me because everything seemed really legit.
My apartment was checked monthly by the landlord’s parents.
I followed all the house rules.
I also kept in touch with the landlord until moving out date.
The apartment was checked carefully before I handed the key as well.
I have the contract and paid my rental fee through bank.
I was like “No way this happens to me!”, “It cannot right?”, “They were nice, weren’t they?”
In my overall impression, Danes are really nice and friendly. Therefore, I could not believe that my deposit was not returned. So, I had DEPOSIT SCAMS!!!
2. Freak out
Yes, it was the second stage of my emotion!
As I paid quite a big amount of money for my deposit, I was freaked out that I might lose it!
It may be not that big compared to Danish people, but it’s big for me. I’m an Asian student without SU, which is a 5000 DKK scholarship for EU students. I’m also from a developing country. So yes, I already pay a lot to live in one of the most expensive countries in the world.
I can say that I’m poor :( And yes, I was still cheated.
I kept asking myself “Why? Why this happens?”, ” Did I do anything wrong?”, “What should I tell my parents?”
3. Feeling lost
I don’t want anyone at home to worry about me, but at that time, I was completely lost.
a) Lost my faith in the society The worst thing is that I start losing trust in people, losing good image about Denmark that I had. Moving from Japan, where I can just put my phone on the table, go and then come back, it is still there, to a country where some people are freaking rich but still be freaking greedy as well, was too much for me! Hello, culture shock!!! b) Lost my way
I did not know what to do. I was shocked, freaked out and scared. Also, I don’t understand about Danish law, and my Danish level is very basic. Also, Facebook was the only way to communicate with that landlord. And yes, it was blocked :( So, if one day, you wake up and realize that you may lose your deposit. What will you do?
“Stay strong, Ha”, I told myself. These are 10 steps to deal with deposit scams in Copenhagen.
1. Calm down
It’s the most important step. You cannot deal with anything if you cannot calm down. You may give a wrong decision or provide wrong information because you’re freaked out. So take a cup of tea, stay away from your computer/ phone/ etc, and give you some time to think clearly.
2. Search for help
You can use Google search for solutions. You should choose legit sites as always.
3. Ask people
You can ask your friends first, especially Danish friends. In my case, my friends did not know how to deal with it, so I asked in an Expat group. I had lots of help and useful instruction from the group Expats in Copenhagen. I’ve really appreciated all the help and I’m glad that I’m a part of that community.
4. Prepare all the necessary documents
Read your contract carefully to make sure that you know everything about it.
Gather all photos about the accommodation (if you have) before you enter and after you leave the place.
Record or save your emails, messages, phone calls. Sometimes you can record some valuable information which can stand against your landlord.
Prepare to tell what happens with your lawyer.
5. Go to lawyer
Københavns Retshjælp, or Copenhagen Legal Aid, offers FREE legal advice to all citizens, no matter your nationality, and no matter whether you live in Copenhagen or indeed in Denmark. However, there are some conditions for receiving free legal advice. You can check here. Address: Stormgade 20, 1555 København V Opening time:
You can only go there once a week. For example, if you go there on Monday, you will have Monday case. You cannot meet your lawyer on the other days. Therefore, if you need any help or have new information, send to Københavns Retshjælp by email. Remember to include your CPR number and case number. In my case, the lawyer sent the landlord an email indicated that he had to pay the money back to me in 10 days, otherwise they would take the next step. Fortunately, I received all my money back.
b) Huslejenævn If your landlord doesn’t pay money after 10 days, your case will be brought to Huslejenævn. Huslejenævn, which is a local rent council, will provide advice and help in case of a rent level issue in court. Note: You will need to pay 305 DKK, so they can start to investigate your case. Also, because each community will have different Huslejenævn, you will need to contact the Huslejenævn where you sign the House contract. For more information, you can ask Retshjælp.
c) LLO LLO is a tenant land organization. You can find more information at their page. You will need to pay money to be a member of this Union. Address: Reventlowsgade 14, 1651 København K Phone: 33 86 09 10 Mail: [email protected]
6. Be patient and wait
The procedure may take months to receive your money back. Therefore, you should go back to your daily life and wait for the good thing to come.
7. Don’t contact your landlord by yourself if you already came to your lawyer
Let your lawyer do everything. Don’t let your landlord fool you. They know that you don’t know the law, so they may say fake things and you will think it’s correct. Again, just ask for your lawyer’s help.
8. Believe in yourself
You should believe that you can get your money back. You may feel really tired with all those things and want to give up. But, don’t do that!
9. Learn about the law by yourself
In order not to let it happen again, you should understand the basic law of the country you live. It will be really useful. You can also learn much useful information at Borger.dk
This step is only useful if you receive your money back :)
Don’t show your landlord’s identity to social media because it will violate the law. You may pay money for it.
Don’t contact or answer strangers: Your landlord may use fake accounts or ask friends to contact you to know about your steps or lead you to wrong ways.
What did I learn from my case?
Don’t trust landlords too much. They can take advantage of you and steal your money.
Take detailed pictures when you move in and when you move out. Remember to take the pictures closely and carefully in every small detail.
Bad people are there, but still, lots of good people are trying to help you.
Be brave and believe in yourself. Everything will be okay. Stay strong and you can do it!
* This article was updated on June 1oth, 2018. I had this experience in March 2017.