Purchasing real property

You must normally get permission from the Department of Civil Affairs to purchase real property in Denmark

Purchasing real property

Special rules apply if you wish to purchase a detached house, construction plot, owner-occupied apartment, holiday home, cooperative housing unit (andelsbolig) or other real property in Denmark. These rules apply regardless of how you intend to use the property (a permanent or non-permanent dwelling).

The general rule is that, unless you have domicile in Denmark or you have had residence in Denmark for at least five years, you must have permission from the Department of Civil Affairs to acquire real property in Denmark. 

This means that you will not need permission from the Department of Civil Affairs if you:

  • have domicile in Denmark, or
  • have had residence in Denmark for at least five years.

Domicile means having your fixed and permanent home in Denmark 

Whether or not you have domicile is determined by a discretionary assessment of whether or not you have your fixed and permanent home in Denmark. To have domicile in Denmark therefore requires more than merely living in Denmark. The assessment of whether you have domicile in Denmark is based on a number of factors, including:

  • the length of time you have been living in Denmark,
  • whether you are married or cohabiting,
  • whether any spouse/cohabiting partner lives in Denmark as well,         
  • whether you have minor children, 
  • whether your children go to school or an institution in Denmark,
  • whether you speak Danish,
  • whether you have taken Danish courses and, if so, which ones,      
  • whether you are working or studying in Denmark,
  • whether you have any other ties to Denmark.

When have you had residence in Denmark for at least five years

When the Department of Civil Affairs assesses whether you have had residence in Denmark for at least five years, they will use the information registered in the Danish Civil Registration System (CPR). It is not a requirement for you to have had residence in Denmark for five consecutive years. It is also of no significance how long it has been since you last lived in Denmark or how old you were when you lived in Denmark.

Unless you have domicile in Denmark or you have had residence in Denmark for at least five years, you must have permission from the Department of Civil Affairs to acquire real property in Denmark.

If you have submitted an application to the Department of Civil Affairs and it becomes apparent that you do not need permission, the Department of Civil Affairs will refer you to the Danish Court of Land Registration (Tinglysningsretten). The Court of Land Registration will then reach a final decision as to whether or not you can acquire real property without the permission of the Department of Civil Affairs.

Land registration is the official registration, verification and publication of rights concerning real property. When you register your ownership of the property, the Court of Land Registration will reach a final decision as to whether you need permission from the Department of Civil Affair to acquire real property. If you believe that you fulfil the conditions for acquiring real property without the permission of the Department of Civil Affairs, you must submit a declaration directly to the Court of Land Registration when registering your ownership.

Purchasing a permanent dwelling

A permanent dwelling is the property where you have your permanent residence, where you actually live and where you are registered as living in the Danish Civil Registration System (CPR).

If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, you can be subject to certain conditions to acquire a permanent dwelling in Denmark without the permission of the Department of Civil Affairs when the purchase takes place as part of you exercising your freedom of movement under EU law.

This will for example be the case if you are an employee in Denmark or another EU/EEA country, have an EU/EEA residence permit or have become established or intend to become established in Denmark in order to work as a self-employed person. This will also be the case if you have sufficient funds to support yourself.

In these cases, when registering your ownership of the property, under criminal responsibility, you must submit a declaration to the Danish Court of Land Registration (Tinglysningsretten). Amongst other things, the declaration must state that the property is not a holiday home or holiday plot, or used as such.

You can find out more about submitting a declaration to the Court of Land Registration in their guidance. This guidance is only available in Danish. 

I intend to move – can I retain my property? 

If you have declared that you intend to use the property as a permanent dwelling, you will normally not be entitled to vacate the property unless you sell or transfer it. If you do vacate the property, the Department of Civil Affairs may order you to sell or transfer the property within six months. If you fail to comply with this order, you may be fined.

However, if you have lived in Denmark for more than five years at the time you vacate the property, you will not be obliged to sell or transfer the property.

You must have permission from the Department of Civil Affairs if you are a citizen of a country outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland and you do not have domicile in Denmark or you have not had residence in Denmark for at least five years.

The Department of Civil Affairs is unable to grant general permission to purchase a permanent dwelling. Permission can therefore only be granted for a specific property.

You can have your permission to purchase a permanent dwelling amended to cover a different permanent dwelling up to three months after the date of the decision.

Conditions for the permission

Permission to purchase a permanent dwelling is subject to the condition that you are lawfully resident in Denmark and that you use the property as your permanent dwelling.

You will not normally be permitted to vacate the property without selling or transfering it. If you do vacate the property, the Department of Civil Affairs may order you to sell or transfer the property within six months. If you fail to comply with this order, you may be fined.

However, if you have lived in Denmark for more than five years at the time you vacate the property, you will not be obliged to sell or transfer the property.

How do I apply?

If you wish to apply for permission to purchase a permanent dwelling, you must send the following to the Department of Civil Affairs:

Documentation that you are lawfully resident in Denmark (e.g. a valid residence permit).

  • A declaration that you intend to use the property as your permanent dwelling.
  • A purchase agreement or particulars of sale (salgsopstilling) and a statement of the expected date of acquisition.

Information on whether you own any other real property in Denmark. If yes, please state the address of the property/properties. 

You must also answer the following questions about yourself for use in the assessment of whether you have domicile in Denmark:

  • whether you are married or cohabiting,
  • whether any spouse/cohabiting partner lives in Denmark as well,
  • whether you have minor children,
  • whether your children go to school or an institution in Denmark,
  • whether you speak Danish,
  • whether you have taken Danish courses and, if so, which ones,
  • whether you are working or studying in Denmark, If so, please state where,
  • whether you have any other ties to Denmark. 
  • The Department of Civil Affairs has prepared an application form which you can use to apply for permission to purchase a permanent dwelling.
  • Applications can take up to four weeks to process. 

You will find application forms on the Department of Civil Affairs’ website. The application forms are available in Danish and English.

If you are being posted and you have not lived in Denmark for at least five years, you can apply to the Department of Civil Affairs to retain the property during your posting. Your application must include the following:

  • A contract or other similar document which documents your temporary posting.
  • A declaration that you intend to move back into the property after your posting.

Purchasing a non-permanent dwelling

A non-permanent dwelling is often a holiday home or apartment. However, it could also be commuter accommodation or a house where you do not live permanently and where you therefore are not registered as living in the Danish Civil Registration System (CPR).

You must apply to the Department of Civil Affairs for permission if you wish to purchase a non-permanent dwelling and you do not have domicile and you have not had residence in Denmark for at least five years.

You can only be granted permission to purchase a non-permanent dwelling if you have particularly strong ties to Denmark.

You can only be granted permission to purchase a non-permanent dwelling if you have particularly strong ties to Denmark.

The most important factor is whether you have spent a high proportion of your holidays in Denmark over an extended period of time. For example, if you have had at least one week's holiday in Denmark during each of the past 25 years, you will normally be considered to have sufficiently strong ties to Denmark.

However, the Department of Civil Affairs will also take into account other factors, such as

  • your family ties with Denmark,
  • your linguistic or cultural ties to Denmark, or
  • your association with the property that you wish to purchase.

You cannot be granted general permission to purchase a non-permanent dwelling. However, you can obtain advance permission from the Department of Civil Affairs if you have sufficiently strong ties in order to be granted permission to purchase a holiday home. Once you have found a property you wish to buy, you must notify the Department of Civil Affairs, who will then prepare the final permission. The advance permission is valid for three years.

Permission to purchase a non-permanent dwelling can be amended to cover a different non-permanent dwelling up to three years from the date of the decision. 

If you wish to apply for permission to purchase a non-permanent dwelling, you must send the following to the Department of Civil Affairs:

  • Information on previous holidays in Denmark.
  • Information on family ties with Denmark - both current and previous family in Denmark.
  • Information on linguistic affiliation.
  • Information on cultural ties to Denmark
  • Information on other ties with Denmark.
  • A copy of your passport.
  • The address of the property you wish to purchase.
  • Relevant documentation.
  • Information on whether you own any other real property in Denmark. If yes, please state the address of the property/properties.

The Department of Civil Affairs has prepared an application form which you can use to apply for permission to purchase a non-permanent dwelling.

It can take up to ten weeks to process your application.

You will find application forms on the Department of Civil Affairs’ website. 

Find out more

You cannot appeal against the Department of Civil Affairs’ decisions concerning the purchase of real property to another authority.

However, you can appeal to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, and decisions reached by the Department of Civil Affairs can be brought before the courts.

Last updated: 31 March 2021