Those living in cooperative housing in Denmark will be pleased to learn that there is a body that is set up to support and encourage this way of living in Denmark. ABF is the Danish Association of Private and Cooperative Housing and the body are not connected to the Danish government but are there to support the needs and services of those living in cooperative housing in Denmark.
How someone living in a cooperative function most effectively does and who can they turn to when there are problems? Essentially the ABF can offer a lot of help and advice and also motivate any political agenda for you, despite its NGO status. So, what is it like when you buy into and live in a cooperative in Denmark?
Anyone buying a house or an apartment that is within a cooperative housing scheme, it means you will be paying for the right to use that specific house or flat with your payment actually covering a share of the wealth of the cooperative itself. The payment is actually in the form of a deposit and is determined by the current economic status of the cooperative at the time.
Each cooperative has a list of different rules and regulations which members will need to follow and also determine the way the cooperative is run itself. As a member, living in the cooperative, you get a say on your living conditions, your surroundings, the way the cooperative is run and generally you will be part of the team, as it were. If you do not like the way the maintenance of the communal gardens are being kept up or you want the cooperative to hire more economical service men when fixing the boiler or servicing it annually, you can say so and your comments are taken on board by the cooperative at its regular meetings or via a forum online.
When you pay your rent (which is called andelsbolig in Denmark) you will be helping to pay for the interest the cooperative pays on the loans it took out, and your rent will also include expenditures, what some would call service charges or ground rent. There is an audit held every year that determines the current economic plight of the cooperative, which will set the levels of rent or andelsbolig you will eventually pay for that next financial year.
Use these links to find cooperative housing in Copehagen (Andelsboliger):
Bolig.com Andelsbolig i København – Cooperative housing in Copenhagen
Bolig.com Andelsbolig – Cooperative housing in General
Andelsboligannoncer.dk – For sale by owner site
Andelsbutikken – Cooperativ housing in Copenhagen
It is you – the resident that decides and determines how your cooperative is run. When you live in a cooperative you will be expected to get up close and personal with the other residents in your cooperative. There will be a sense of sharing, a feeling of family and a lifestyle where you will always feel as though you are part of a team. Often small communities of cooperative residents will sit down together and join in on a meal or a bite to eat with a buffet or nibbles. In the summer the cooperative members may get together on a communal patio and enjoy a barbecue together, chat and maybe talk about some of the issues of their cooperative that are causing concern or need addressing.
But it’s not all essential that you absolutely have to join in on everything. Some residents like their own space every now and again and it is up to them as to how much they wish to engage in the level of activity that takes place within the cooperative. Some prefer to be active and vocal members, others may want to just join in quietly on the odd meal or barbecue with other cooperative members. No one will force you to participate more, or less than the level that you have to decide to engage with.
In Denmark there are close to a quarter of a million privately-owned homes or apartments that form part of a cooperative. It is not clear as to how many cooperative associations exist in Denmark, because not all of them actually affiliate with the ABF. Currently there are almost 100,000 homes and apartments that are affiliated under the wing of the ABF, which represents just under half but the number is growing year on year.
Most member cooperatives can be found in and around the capital Copenhagen, where you will find a wide variety of ages and lifestyles within the given communities. Some cooperation associations are located in the town, others way out in the countryside.
It was throughout the 1970s when living in cooperative housing in Denmark really took off, and it was in Copenhagen where apartment blocks began the trend by turning into cooperative communities. It became possible in Danish law from 1976 for tenants to buy their apartments in Copenhagen and when this spread to the rest of the country over the next few decades, it became an extremely popular method of living in Denmark.