Housing scams in Copenhagen have become a significant issue, especially with expats who live in this city.
In this article, I share my experience with deposit scams in Copenhagen, which occur after I moved out of my department. Here, you’ll find 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 one 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 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 the 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 nice and friendly. Therefore, I could not believe that my deposit was not returned. So, I had a DEPOSIT SCAM!!!
2. Freak out
Yes, it was the second stage of my emotion!
As I paid quite a significant 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 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 utterly lost.
a) Lost my faith in the society
The worst thing is that I start losing trust in people, losing a good image of 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!
b) Lost my way
I did not know what to do. I was shocked, freaked out and scared. Also, I don’t understand Danish law, and my Danish level is 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?
How to deal with housing scams in Copenhagen
Here are ten 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 incorrect 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 appreciated all the support, 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 that 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.
You can only go there once a week. For example, if you go there on Monday, you will have a Monday case. You cannot meet your lawyer on the other days.
Therefore, if you need any help or have new information, send it to Københavns Retshjælp by email. Remember to include your CPR number and case number.
In my case, the lawyer sent the landlord an email indicating 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 after ten 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.
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.
LLO is a tenant land organization. You can find more information on their page. You will need to pay money to be a member of this Union.