At one point in time or the other as an international student in Copenhagen, this is one dilemma you will unfortunately be faced with. Dilemma? Yes! That word primarily sums it up, especially as Copenhagen wouldn’t exactly be on your list of most affordable cities. Accommodation in Copenhagen is probably one of the most difficult things to get, so much so, that some have even likened it to looking for a needle in a haystack. It sounds like all gloom and doom I know, but hey, as an international student you actually have some things going for you, which it is my intention to point you to, in this post. So let’s get to it.
UCPH Housing foundation
If you are enrolled at the University of Copenhagen, this will most likely be your easiest option. The thing, however, is that this housing solution is for a maximum of one year and that means that if you are not on exchange and plan to complete your educational program in Copenhagen, you will be house-hunting soon. That leaves you with two options, which are: either to start off looking for a private accommodation which would potentially last for the duration of your study or to get accommodation through the housing foundation and worry later about what to do subsequently.
So here is the thing, if you are comfortable with living in a private accommodation, which simply means renting a room in someone else’s apartment and living with them (obviously), then you might want to start with making sure to contact all the private landlords on the housing foundation list. The housing foundation usually has a list of private landlords who are looking to rent out a room in their home, to an international student for the long-term and as always, different landlords have different preferences. This is a good place to start if you want to get something more private and potentially more long-term, as opposed to the housing foundation-administered rooms in the several student dorms in town. Just be sure to not sign any illegal contract (e.g. those that prohibit CPR registration or require you to pay money that is different from that stipulated in the housing contract) and to be aware of any special rules that might pertain to the apartment or neighborhood where you will live in.
I personally prefer this housing option as you have more control of the terms of your rental agreement and do not have any obligations to the housing foundation itself as the contract is between you and the potential landlord. Another thing you might want to consider is the flimsy fines that the foundation imposes and in some cases, unrefunded deposits upon moving out; and a whole lot of other hassles that international students have gone through in the hands of the housing foundation, so not putting yourself in the position to experience such will be nice.
TEAM UP WITH OTHERS
Another solution to your housing concerns could be that you team up with one or two friends who are in the same situation and then rent an apartment together. That way, everyone can split the costs and the financial burdens are thus lighter on the individual. A huge concern among students concerning renting apartments is the huge deposit fee that is usually charged for the rental period. I personally have seen two bedroom apartments available for rent but with a deposit fee payable of over 20,000 DKK meanwhile the monthly rent is just under 6,000DKK. There are several real estate agencies which lease apartments to people in need of such and students are not excluded from their clientele. One example is DEAS.
Before the expiration of your rental period, it is especially helpful to have applied for student designated accommodations, of which there are plenty. Most of the time, these rooms/apartments are administered through housing organizations such as CIU and KKIK. These organizations hold several apartments in different housing units and dorms, which they let out to students. The apartments are spread all around town and many are actually in choice locations (close to the city center). Surprisingly, the rent charged is a lot less than what one would normally expect for accommodation in Copenhagen, but the bad news however, is that they could be difficult to get, but not if you sign up in good time. This is so, as the apartments are leased based on the position of the prospective tenant on a waiting list. So the earlier you apply, the better your chances are, of being offered a place. As an international student, one advantage you have is that, by sending a proof of admission to the organization in charge of administering the accommodation, your application is prioritized, hence reducing the time you spend on the waiting list. Practically, this means that you get an offer as soon as a room is available in any of the dorms you applied for accommodation at.
I must point out though, that you will stand a far higher chance of being offered accommodation if you apply for the dorms a little bit out of town. For example, your chances of being offered accommodation in a dorm located at Brønshøj or Valby are exponentially greater than your chances of securing one in say, Frederiksberg or Østerbro. You might actually be surprised to find out when you actually think about it, that there isn’t a world of difference between living 30 minutes away from the city center and living 15 minutes away, as the transportation system is so reliable, you could be anywhere you want in good time. Or if you are a tad daring as I like to think I am, you could get around on your bike even if you study close to the city center but live a bit far away.
Other things you could do include; the old fashioned but effective word-of-mouth search. You never know how lucky you could get simply by making all your friends and acquaintances alike, aware of your accommodation needs. You could also join the room-search groups on Facebook; though I would advise some caution using that avenue (details in future blog posts).
So to all you accommodation hunters, I sincerely understand your plight and wish you the best in your search. Copenhagen is an amazing city but not so much when you don’t have a place to live. Till next time, Vi ses!!!