Copenhagen is an expensive place to live. In fact, it is one of the most expensive in the world. Add in the fact that it is next to impossible to actually find an apartment to call your own, and you have a perfect seller’s market where a lot of cheating and the breaking of rental laws takes place.
CBS alumnus Frederik Reichstein decided to do something about this. When three of his friends founded the company Rent Guide, he decided to be a part of it and take action.
“Don’t overpay for your apartment, fight the system instead,” says Frederik Reichstein and continues:
“We are interested in the landlords who run it as a pure business and who just want to see how much money they can get away with charging.”
Rent Guide is a company that specializes in helping people who believe that they are being cheated into over-paying for their apartments and want to take the case to court. This can be a long and strenuous affair, and according to Frederik Reichstein, outrageous and false claims are often being made.
“Generally, the landlord will tell you all sorts of things about what your rights are,” he says.
We are interested in the landlords who run it as a pure business and who just want to see how much money they can get away with chargingFrederik Reichstein, CBS alumnus
And the truth is that as a renter in Denmark, you have a lot of rights. But many people are not aware of that and simply keep over-paying for fear of ending up homeless. Frederik Reichstein experiences has seen this while working in the company.
“A lot of people will contact us and then the case never goes anywhere because they say, ‘it’s fine, I don’t want to risk anything,’ even though we tell them their rights and that they don’t have to fear repercussions from the landlord,” says Frederik Reichstein.
When we end up winning…
Even though Frederik Reichstein and his colleagues feel very strongly about changing the renting environment in Copenhagen, and even though all of them have work outside of Rent Guide, it is not completely altruistic in nature. If you end up winning the case, you have to pay the company 30% of the money you are awarded. But on the other hand, if you end up losing, you do not have to pay at all.
Frederik also says that they have several examples of cases where they got the renter more money than they were offered in the original settlement.
“We had a case where a girl was offered 50.000 DKK in a settlement, and we actually ended up getting her twice as much, 100.000 DKK in the end,” Frederik Reichstein says enthusiastically.
Of course that was good for the company, which got 30% of the 100.000 DKK instead of 50.000 DKK, but it was also good for the girl who ended up with 70% of the money she was cheated out of.
They also do not take on every case they get presented with, but only the ones where they can see a clear violation of the rental regulations.
“Some people will come to us and we can immediately see there isn’t a case to be won,” says Frederik Reichstein.
That is especially true for apartments built after 1991. But luckily, most of the buildings in the expensive areas in inner Copenhagen are older, and that means there is a set limit to what a landlord can legally charge, no matter how newly renovated the kitchen and bathroom may be.
Fight the career rent sharks!
Frederik and his colleagues have a goal to make Rent Guide into a full-time business at one point, and so far, they have hired a part time employee to start in April who will help with the case load.
That means, come April, there will be four employees in the company, and two of them are CBS alumni, including Frederik Reichstein.
They also have a lawyer amongst them, and he was a student when the company was founded.
According to Frederik Reichstein, the companies aims to fight the career rent sharks and to make renters realize just how many rights they have.
“Our goal is definitely to make it common knowledge among renters that they have rights. In the end we want to make ourselves obsolete,” he says.