Is the landlord obligated to rehouse tenants?

Is the Landlord Obligated to Rehouse Tenants?
Is the Landlord Obligated to Rehouse Tenants?

steen larsen

Legal advisor

Published 16.06.2024

Rehousing Tenants: What Does it mean for landlords?

There are times when a private rental property becomes partially or entirely uninhabitable, for example, due to defects or because the landlord wants to make improvements. In such situations, tenants often approach landlords with demands for rehousing. But is the landlord legally obligated to rehouse the tenant during the period of defect or improvement work? This article will shed light on this issue.

The article focuses solely on the issue concerning private rental properties and not public housing. Rehousing is not regulated by the Rent Act, unlike the Public Housing Act, which makes it difficult for landlords to navigate. The Urban Renewal Act also contains rules about the municipality’s obligation to rehouse tenants if a property is declared unfit for habitation. These rules will not be discussed here.

Is there a rehousing obligation for landlords?

Many landlords believe they are required to rehouse tenants when a rental property becomes wholly or partially uninhabitable. However, this is not the case! Since rehousing is not regulated by the Rent Act, the general rule is that landlords are not obligated to rehouse tenants. In some cases, landlords may be required to cover the costs incurred by tenants for rehousing.

There can be many reasons why a rental property becomes uninhabitable during the lease period, such as fire, water, or mold damage, or if the landlord wishes to make improvements. Regardless of the cause, there is no rehousing obligation for landlords.

What claims can you face as a landlord?

Landlords are required to keep the rental property free of defects throughout the lease period, meaning the property must be in a condition that the tenant can demand according to the lease agreement and the Rent Act, and thus habitable. If not, a defect may exist that entitles the tenant to a proportional rent reduction or compensation if the property is wholly or partially uninhabitable.

It’s important to note that landlords can only be held liable for defects if they are due to circumstances for which the landlord is responsible, making the property uninhabitable.

Tenants are entitled to a proportional rent reduction as long as a defect reduces the value of the rental property, regardless of the defect’s severity and without regard to the landlord’s fault. If the property is entirely uninhabitable, tenants should not pay rent during that period.

Tenants may also claim compensation if they suffer losses due to a defect for which the landlord is to blame. For example, the tenant might have expenses for temporary housing if the property is uninhabitable. Additionally, damaged furniture due to water damage can also be claimed against the landlord. If the uninhabitability is due to external factors, such as nearby construction or flooding, the tenant cannot claim rehousing expenses from the landlord. This is different if the issue is due to improvement work or the landlord’s failure to maintain the property.

Landlord’s obligations

Although landlords do not have a rehousing obligation, they can still face claims for a proportional rent reduction and/or compensation, which may include the tenant’s rehousing expenses.

Some landlords choose to offer rehousing to quickly carry out renovations with the tenant’s consent. This requires the landlord to have another property available. This can prevent compensation claims if the temporary housing does not incur additional expenses for the tenant, such as transport costs to work.

Tenant’s home insurance

Many tenants have home insurance, which often covers rehousing expenses for up to a year. Landlords should inform tenants about the possibility of covering rehousing expenses through their home insurance.

However, home insurance does not always cover rehousing expenses, especially if the damage is due to the landlord’s negligence. In such cases, neither the landlord nor the insurance will cover the expenses, and the tenant must bear these costs themselves.

Avoid delays during the rehousing period

If the tenant’s home insurance covers rehousing expenses, landlords should avoid delays in repairing damages that make the property uninhabitable. A court ruling illustrates this well, where a landlord was held liable for slow repair of flood damages, resulting in additional rehousing costs for the tenant.


Landlords do not have a rehousing obligation according to the Rent Act but must ensure that rental properties are uninhabitable for the shortest possible periods. This can minimize the risk of claims for proportional rent reductions and compensation from tenants. 

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