Sunday, 10 September 2017

Please Stand By


Please Stand By

If you've recently received news from the Housing Foundation that they...
  • aren't repaying you for fees they illegally charged you, or 
  • they're reversing a refund you did get (and they still have your deposit), or
  • they're charging you 250 kr to return your deposit by bank transfer because their credit card system is broken
... you're not alone. We're seeking advice from the lawyers at LLO about what we can do and we'll share any information with you as soon as we can.

On a more positive note: the UCPH Residents' Association was born 9 months ago in a corridor at Rebslagervej (or was it at a house party at Signalhuset?). There are now 800 of us! We can only live on with your help though, so please: click here to share a link to us - change "Share on your timeline" to your kollegium Facebook group so the new tenants of Fall 2017 can find us. Thank you!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Refund progress?



Have you been refunded?

After what seemed like a good start, the Housing Foundation is being slow to respond to requests for refunds of illegal fees. It's understandable, given that the problem affects thousands of people and the HF only has 5 staff (with no Director, once again - no great surprise).

If you have read this article and you are certain that you are eligible to be repaid for illegally charged fees, please help us understand how big the problem is by responding to the survey below.


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Good news and bad news


The bad news is that the good news does not apply to everyone. 

Unfortunately, this will not apply to you if:
  • you have a Danish ('A9') contract, or
  • your contract was signed before 1 July 2015, or
  • your 'Specific Section' does not list separate fees other than antenna and internet.

If your contract meets any of the criteria above, sorry but we don't have any good news for you yet.

If your contract:
  • is the English type (common before 2017), and
  • was signed on/after 1 July 2015, and
  • lists monthly fees other than antenna and internet (e.g. administration, maintenance, heat, water, electricity, furniture, laundry, tenant membership, printing, etc.)
... then we have good news. If your contract meets all of these criteria, the Housing Foundation has admitted that these fees were charged illegally and is repaying them to tenants. To claim your repayment, email the Housing Foundation at contact@housingfoundation.ku.dk. All you need to tell them is your name, leased address and that you would like your illegal fees refunded. They will figure out the rest. If you want to know how much your refund should be, add up all monthly fees except base rent, antenna and internet. Multiply by the number of months, and this will be your refund.

Please do not email or message the Residents' Association about any questions to do with the refund until you have first asked the Housing Foundation. We simply don't have the resources to be able to respond to questions about individual contracts. If you are unsure about your contract, please ask the Housing Foundation first and then contact us if necessary after they respond. Be aware that they are about to receive thousands of emails about this so they might take a while (weeks) to respond.

There is one 'grey area' here which concerns those who rented in the second half of 2015. We are working with the LLO lawyer to understand at what point in time a contract officially comes into effect, and therefore the date from which the English contracts with extra fees became illegal. If you have questions about how this affects you, please do not contact us yet, we're working on it and will make a post with that information as soon as possible. If you want to email someone about it, email the Housing Foundation.

This is all a result of a change in the Danish Rent Act that came into effect on July 1, 2015. From that date onward, a landlord has to use a standard ('A9') contract in order to charge fees beyond the base rent (apparently antenna and internet are allowed). The Housing Foundation continued to charge extra fees on the non-standard (English) contracts; this is against the law and the extra fees now have to be repaid.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Send us your contract


We're collecting contracts to make available to the LLO lawyer. Please upload yours.

UPDATE 30 March 2017: We have finished collecting contracts for now. We'll begin again after the start of the next semester.

It's time for us to start collecting contracts and organising them into groups with similar legal issues. We understand that your contract has your personal details on it; it will be treated confidentially and will only be shared with the LLO. We can't promise that your contract will receive personal attention. If you think there is something unique about your contract, please alert us using the text box in the upload form. If you have already sent us your contract there's no need to send it again.

NB: If your contract began in 2014, time is running out; the statute of limitations in Denmark is 3 years. Please contact us if this affects you.

Monday, 13 February 2017

An introduction



The Housing Foundation has a new director, Jannie Sonne. This is our introduction.

Dear Jannie,

I am writing to formally introduce the UCPH Housing Foundation Residents' Association.The Association was started in December 2016 by a group of current and former tenants of the Housing Foundation. Our purpose is to educate all tenants of the Housing Foundation on their legal rights and to take action to ensure that those rights are upheld. We now have over 400 members and are growing quickly; in the coming days, the Association will become a member of the LLO.

I acknowledge the importance of the role that the Housing Foundation plays in enabling thousands of people every year to come to Copenhagen to study or work. For some, this would be difficult or impossible without the services of the Housing Foundation. However, the University of Copenhagen is obligated to arrange housing for many of its international guests - an obligation that is being discharged through the Housing Foundation. For this reason the service of the Housing Foundation is a privilege for some but for others it is a right that is attached to their acceptance as a student or staff member at the University. It is from this perspective that the Residents' Association views the concerns that have come to light regarding the way the Housing Foundation does business.

I anticipate a time when the Residents' Association can work cooperatively with the Housing Foundation to improve the housing situation for international students and staff. However, we first need to develop a mutual respect. At this point in time there are several outstanding allegations against the Housing Foundation regarding illegal fees, illegally high rent amounts, etc. Until the Housing Foundation acknowledges and resolves these matters to the fullest extent required by law, the Residents' Association is unfortunately forced to take the position of opponent rather than colleague. We understand that this is a tumultuous time for the Foundation; however, we are also conscious of the statute of limitations and the associated impetus for us to act quickly in the interests of our members. We will not hesitate to use our relationship with the LLO to lodge cases with the rent board if we perceive that the Foundation is not working expeditiously to rectify the issues that are raised.

I look forward to a constructive relationship with you as the director of the Housing Foundation.

Best regards,

Adam

-----
Adam Shrimpton
Chairman
UCPH Housing Foundation Residents' Association

Sunday, 5 February 2017

How much have you paid in illegal fees?



Click here to look up details of your contract and see how much you've potentially paid to the Housing Foundation in illegal fees such as administration and maintenance.

We can't tell exactly how much as been charged for administration and maintenance but we can give you a reasonable estimate. The estimate might include charges for laundry or tenant membership, which may or may not be illegal - we won't know for sure until the court makes its decision. If you still have a copy of your contract, check it for fees like those circled in the image above.

If everyone donates just 2% of what they are owed in illegally charged fees, we can join the LLO tomorrow and begin legal action. Click here to find out more and make a donation.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Why we're joining the tenants' union


On January 19 we met with the tenants' union (LLO) to negotiate an affiliation between the LLO and the Residents' Association. The LLO has been aware of the Housing Foundation's wrongdoings over the past few years and is supportive of our effort to organise, inform and protect UCPH tenants. In light of this, they have made us a great offer: for DKK 4800 per year, the Association can be a member of the LLO.

This enables us to get expert legal advice on issues that affect many of our members and make it available to everyone through our web site and Facebook page. What we can't do is provide detailed advice on specific or unique individual cases. Doing so would not be in the best interests of our relationship with the LLO (they can cancel our agreement at any time if we overwhelm them with requests) and we also simply don't have the resources - we are run entirely by volunteers. For unique cases that need individual attention, the LLO has made a further offer: anyone in the Residents' Association can become a full ('ekstra') member at a big discount - only DKK 500 instead of 1200 per half-year. We imagine that these unique cases will be rare; most of the problems we are facing as tenants are faced by many others.

To put this in perspective, our membership with the LLO will allow us to help more than 6000 current and former UCPH tenants for the cost of only two full memberships.


Monday, 23 January 2017

Deposit anxiety? How to protect yourself


The Housing Foundation has a history of cheating tenants out of their deposits. 
Here’s how you can stop it from happening to you.

tl;dr:
  1. Take detailed photos when you move in and send them to the Housing Foundation
  2. Do the same when you move out
  3. Know that you can lodge a case in the housing court if your deposit is kept unfairly
As the semester ends it’s time for most of the Housing Foundation’s 1500+ tenants to pack up and move out. Meanwhile, the Housing Foundation is holding 12 million kroner of students’ money in the form of deposits. Reading the news articles and the Foundation’s own web site (try searching it for ‘deposit consequences’), we can only wonder how much of that sum will be returned. According to the Housing Foundation:
The deposit will be used to cover any repairs due to damage caused by you (in your room or in the common areas), replacement of keys/locks, post-departure cleaning or other things that might have to be fixed at your expense. In other words: if the room is left in an unsatisfactory condition at the end of the semester, the deposit (or part of it) will not be returned to you![1]
What ‘unsatisfactory’ means is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain: any decision by the Housing Foundation to keep your deposit is not final. If you think the Housing Foundation has unfairly kept your deposit, you can lodge a case against them in the housing court. Find out how to do it here.

To support your claim you'll need evidence though, so take photos when you move in and when you leave. Send your moving-in photos to the Housing Foundation using the method they describe or just email them. If you want to be extra careful, place the front page of a recent newspaper in your moving-out photos so you can prove that they are not old.

Do you have a story about the Housing Foundation unfairly keeping your deposit? Let us know here.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Help us to help you


To ensure we provide you with the best possible information and advice, we're joining the Danish tenants' union (LLO). Please help us raise money to pay the membership fee.

For DKK 4800 per year, the UCPH Residents Association can become a member of the LLO and provide accurate information and advice to all current and former Housing Foundation tenants. That's less than 2 kr for each of the 2500 people who will lease from the Housing Foundation this year alone. Please consider donating and sharing our appeal with your family and friends on Facebook.

To see why this is important, please read the articles linked here. We have to protect ourselves if we don't want to see history repeat!

Here's how this will benefit tenants:

  • We can consult with the LLO and their lawyers to provide you with information about your rights
  • We can provide you with information on how to lodge a claim in the Housing Court
  • If your case is unique or requires extra attention you can personally join the LLO at a significant discount (500 kr per half-year gets you the all-inclusive membership with assessment of your case by a lawyer and management of your case by the LLO)

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Claim back unfair rent

The UCPH Housing Foundation is probably screwing you and it’s not too late to do something about it




We’ve already seen what an incompetent and probably illegal operation the Housing Foundation is running and it’s not too late for you to claim back unfair rent and utilities charges. Members of this group are taking legal action against the Housing Foundation and they want to help everybody to do the same. But we need your help.

Time is running out for us to get in touch with the 1500 students the Housing Foundation has probably overcharged in this semester alone. Please, share this post wherever you can. Post it to your kollegium’s Facebook group, send it to your friends who live in Housing Foundation accommodation or just click ‘Like’. Our goal is to help everybody know their rights and claim their money back.

If this all sounds like too much trouble, don’t worry. In Copenhagen, the process to claim unfair rent and utilities charges is all done electronically.

Maybe your contract has already finished? Maybe you’ve already left Denmark? It doesn’t make any difference.

Please share now to spread the word.
(Change 'share on timeline' to 'share in group' to post on your kollegium's page)

To find out the next steps, follow @ucphresidents on Facebook and register for our mailing list.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Who we are

We are an informal group of current and former residents of the University of Copenhagen Housing Foundation (KĂžbenhavns Universitets Boligfond). We exist to promote the fair treatment of Housing Foundation residents in accordance with Danish laws.


Our objectives are:

  • To establish a formal association for all residents of the Housing Foundation
  • To help residents be informed of their legal rights
  • To bring to light cases of unfair treatment by the Housing Foundation 

To stay up to date, follow us on Facebook and register for our email list.