Entering the housing market during the start of the semester in Copenhagen is a bit like entering a battlefield. Everyone is looking for a place to live and your news feed on Facebook is flooded with desperate housing posts.
Optimally, students should have found a place to live before the start of the semester, but that’s not the reality at all. CBS student, Jeremie, was already looking for accommodation long before he started his studies at CBS but ended up staying at a hostel for 1,5 months and later on decided that it was cheaper to commute between Paris and Copenhagen. Something, he found very tiring, as he couldn’t fully concentrate on his studies and social activities.
So, is there any way to up one’s house-searching game and avoid fake adverts?
As a matter of fact, there are. Of course, it’s not a 100 percent guarantee that you will find housing but it might be a way to get luckier.
Facebook – a good place to start
Even though it might be a little annoying to see all of those searching-for-housing posts on Facebook, it might actually be useful.
One thing CBS Academic Housing put emphasis on is that international students might have a harder time finding accommodation due to the lack of network when they move to Copenhagen. But here, Facebook can be useful.
Even though you don’t have a network in Denmark, some of your friends might. And through them, you might get in contact with someone who knows something about a room or an apartment.
In an article from Uniavisen, social media specialist, Nathalie Camilla Larsen, explains why it is worth spending a little more time on making a good and different post to catch people’s attention.
“If you can use the Facebook post in a different way and make something else than just a text – could be a comic or a video – then it will probably draw a lot more attention,” she says and continues:
“It’s important to make a call to action. Tell people, what you want them to do; should they share the post or just like it? Do you want people to comment on it? Choose one action, then it’s easier to make people act on it,” she says to Uniavisen.
Another reason to use Facebook is that it has a lot of groups involving housing in Copenhagen. Here’s a list of three. Even though they are in Danish, it’s still possible to make posts in English.
Is it too good to be true? Then it probably is
Due to the high demand for housing in Copenhagen, some have made it their occupation to scam people by renting out non-existent places, and others earn a lot of money on students by renting out apartments to more people at the same time.
Ana Andonovska, a full degree master student at CBS, was baffled by the number of email scams she received while trying her luck in finding a place to live in Copenhagen.
So how can one avoid them?
CBS WIRE called Lejers Landsorganisation, a national organization helping tenants in different legal cases, in order to get a piece of advice.
“You can always ask the person renting out a room or a flat to send some legitimation, just to make sure that the person is real. You can also check if the landlord actually lives in the apartment by going to tinglysning.dk and then search for the address. There, you’ll get names of the people living in the apartment,” says Jesper Larsen, Chief Economist at LLO.
He argues that more often than not, international students will be asked to pay some money up front before moving in. And this could put students in an awkward situation where they have to risk that an apartment or room doesn’t exist, or someone else is living there when they show up.
“It’s difficult to say how many scammers are out there, as they are not registered. But we know that by clearing the identity of the person renting out a place is a way to strengthen one’s position in not getting scammed,” says Jesper Larsen.
And if the price and accommodation seem like it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.
Websites – an expensive business
If you don’t find your luck using Facebook there are several websites and online portals to try out. But for those, you’ll have to dig into your wallet.
Most of the accommodation searching websites require you to enter your bank account information in order to get in contact with the landlords. Usually, you’ll get a few trial days for free but then it will automatically withdraw a monthly fee when the trial period has ended. So, make sure to cancel the subscription on time.
Network, network, network
Some students, like master student Jeremie, thought that if he came to Copenhagen before beginning his studies that it would be a little bit easier to find a place to live, as you could show up in person and actually see the place before accepting it.
Jeremie had no luck with that in the beginning but as he got more friends and a student job things started to happen. Which is why Jeremie recommends to get a network up and running fast.
“Talk to people in your program, and try to link with people from other semesters, as they know the city a little better. Everything goes through word of mouth here,” he says.
So, as soon as you have got the acceptance letter from CBS, get your network in motion. Ask here and there if someone knows someone who knows someone. And see if you can get in contact with a possible landlord.
The lack of a network is also why Niels Henrik Larsen, Deputy Director of the International Programmes at CBS, thinks CBS should help out the international full degree students more.
“They have no network in Copenhagen what so ever, and network means a lot here,” he says.