A tenancy agreement is valid regardless of whether a written agreement between the landlord and the tenant has been set out, or not. However, it is advisable to have the agreement set out in writing, as this is an important tool should a dispute or a misunderstanding arise. I some cases it is for practical purposes required.
The tenant and the proprietor both have the right to insist that a written agreement is prepared. The tenancy agreement should be prepared using the 9th edition of standard housing tenancy agreement A (“Typeformular A, 9. Udgave”). If the tenancy agreement is not based on this standard housing tenancy agreement, the proprietor risks that the provisions imposing obligations on the tenant will be set aside as being invalid.
At ADVODAN, we can review the provisions of your tenancy agreement to ensure that it complies with the requirements of the Danish Rent Act.
The amount of rent charged
The statutory provisions relating to rent put certain limits on the amount of rent charged. This means that a proprietor may not freely decide the amount of rent charged.
As either the tenant or the proprietor, if you are uncertain whether the rent charged is too high, you may bring the issue before the Housing and Rent Tribunal, which will then determine whether the rent charged is correct.
In Denmark, when a tenancy agreement is entered into, the proprietor may require a deposit equivalent to three months’ rent, as a maximum. The deposit is security for the tenant fulfilling his or her obligations on vacating the property. These may include repair and redecoration of the property or final utility payments, amongst others.
In addition to the deposit, the proprietor may also require advance payment of a sum equivalent to three months’ rent. The tenant may choose to have this sum refunded on vacating the property or may choose for the sum to be applied in lieu of the final three months’ rent.
In principle, the proprietor is entitled to require advance payment of what is equivalent to seven months’ rent prior to the tenancy commencing, as the landlord is also entitled to require advance payment of the first month’s rent.
Taking up occupancy and vacating the property
If the proprietor has more than one tenanted property, the proprietor and the tenant are required to carry out a joint inspection of the property on the tenant taking up occupancy and again on the tenant vacating the property. On each of these inspections, the proprietor must prepare a written report on the condition of the property. The tenant must be provided with a paper copy of each of these reports – a report provided by email will not suffice – at the time of each respective inspection of the property.
If this procedure is not adhered to, the proprietor forfeits any rights to require repairs and redecoration be carried out.
In the case of tenancy agreements entered into from 1 July 2015 onwards, when the tenant vacates the property, the proprietor cannot require that the tenant carries out repairs and redecoration taking the property back to the condition at the time of commencement of occupancy. The proprietor can only require such repairs and redecoration required to put right any wear and tear above and beyond “fair wear and tear”. This basically means the landlord cannot insist that the tenant decorates the flat or sands the floors.
It is important that both proprietors and tenants are familiar with the provisions on the inspections required on the tenant taking up occupancy and on the tenant vacating the property, as these provisions contain a significant number of formal requirements that must be met before the tenant can be considered liable for the costs of repairs and redecoration.
May the proprietor terminate the tenancy?
In Denmark, the general rule is that tenancies are non-terminable by the proprietor. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule, e.g. if the proprietor wishes to occupy the property.
A proprietor may also decide that a tenancy should be of fixed duration. However, for the fixed-duration tenancy to be valid, specific requirements must be fulfilled.
If you are in any doubt whether a termination of a tenancy or the fixed duration of a tenancy are valid, you should to contact a lawyer.
May the tenant withhold payment of rent?
If a dispute arises between the proprietor and the tenant in relation to the terms of the tenancy, the general rule is that the tenant must not withhold payment of rent. If the tenant does that, he or she acts in breach of the tenancy agreement and risks the proprietor terminating the tenancy.
The Housing and Rent Tribunal
If a tenant disagrees with the proprietor on the amount of rent charged or on the costs for repairs and redecoration on vacating the property, etc, the dispute may be brought before the local municipal Housing and Rent Tribunal. The Housing and Rent Tribunal decides most disputes between proprietors and tenants. Decisions by the Housing and Rent Tribunal may be brought before the Rent Tribunal.
ADVODAN assists tenants as well as proprietors in navigating the complex tenancy law and has right of audience at Court and Tribunals of all instances.