Danish Federation of Non-Profit Housing Providers

Danish Federation of Non-Profit Housing Providers was founded in 1919 after citizens began forming organizations around 1850 to improve and gain influence over their housing.

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The Danish model for Non-Profit Housing Providers

Non-profit housing providers in Denmark are part of Danish welfare and the stock varies from family and youth housing to housing for disabled people and the elderly, including nursing homes.

The aim of the housing sector is legally defined as affordable and decent housing for all in need hereof, and to give tenant a legal and decisive right to influence their own living conditions.

This manifests itself in a non-profit sector that aims at being both financially, physically and socially sustainable and well-functioning.

Non-profit housing organizations in Denmark have the aim of providing available and appropriate dwellings for all in need hereof at a reasonable rent and to give tenants the right to influence their own living conditions.

The regulation of the social housing sector in Denmark is strict. Apart from the overall aim everything from financing to the size of the individual flats, construction and to the individual activities that housing organizations can engage in is regulated.


As the sector underlies municipal supervision there is also a strong relation to the municipalities, which have a right to dispose over every fourth letting.


The municipalities are responsible for evaluating for the need for new construction, which also makes non-profit housing part of local urban development.

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Facts about BL


Rents equal operating, maintenance and capital costs. The sector is regulated and there is no room for speculation.

Stable financial model

Subsidies are associated to the construction costs, but not the running costs of the housing areas.

Tenant democracy

All housing organizations are managed by tenant democracy, where each individual housing estate elects its own tenant board at a yearly tenant meeting.

The boards of the individual estate elect an assembly of representatives, which then elects a board for the entire organization.

The tenants have the majority in the board of the entire organization, but often representatives of the municipality have a seat.

The residents

The basic principle for non-profit housing in Denmark is that housing is appointed by waiting lists to which everyone can register.


In spite of the inclusive approach of the danish non-profit housing model it is a statistical fact that in general – compared to the national level – the residents in the housing in Denmark are characterized by lower income and higher unemployment rate as well as a higher number of single persons or single parents.

This is partly because vulnerable groups have a general priority, but also because legal restrictions on construction prize and size of the dwellings affect demand.

However, the inclusive nature of our model ensures a natural social mix that helps us limit segregation. It also allows housing organizations and municipalities to act more flexible in order to create social mix when appointing homes. The ability and possibility to create social mix within the housing model in Denmark is thus an important tool to lift the social responsibility that the sector underlies.

The social side

Housing organizations in Denmark have a legal obligation to engage in social activities.


The social efforts are a very important part and tool for the danish non-profit housing organizations. To contribute to its overall aim of going beyond the physical aspects and focusing on life in between buildings. In this way our model also becomes a laboratory of the Danish welfare.

Activities are carried out within certain focus areas like for instance “children and youth”, “education and employment”, “health” and “residential activities”.

These areas have a proven value added effect as well as an impact on breaking negative social circles, which was also stated by the Commission in its Social Investment Package.


Social efforts are organized in partnerships between housing organizations and municipalities. This ensures that the social efforts match and compliments existing municipal efforts.


“As a result, socially challenges housing areas are often entrepreneurial hubs of positive activity” with many local resources (e.g. the residents, volunteers, local schools, job centers, local sport clubs and different municipal instances) “working together for the benefit of the entire local community. In this way social housing becomes a social investment in society”.

The financing

Our housing organizations in Denmark are non-profit and new dwellings are financed partly by public support and partly on normal market terms.


Renovations and developments in the existing stock can be supported by the National Building Fund which – in spite of its name – is a private fund that is financed by the tenants through the rent in dwellings where the mortgage loan has been paid off.


The Fund is revolving and solidary meaning that it generates savings for the entire sector. It is used for major renovations, refurbishments and social development plans.

A mortgage loan covers 88 pct. of the costs while the municipality participates with a loan equivalent to 10 pct. The tenants pay a deposit that covers the last 2 pct.

About BL

About BL

Some of the organizations had a social-philanthropic objective, while some had the character of cooperative associations.

BL gathered the organizations to serve a common aim: to provide good housing for families and individuals belonging to the poorer classes in return for an affordable rent.

Today BL members cover almost 100 pct. of all Social Housing organizations in Denmark.

BL is managed by tenant democracy consisting of 11 districts distributed throughout Denmark. Each district elects an assembly of representatives, a chairman and a vice-chairman, who are thereby automatically elected to the BL board. 

The assembly of representatives for each of the 11 districts also elects an (estate) board, which is responsible for activities in the district.

BL as an interest federation

BL as an interest federation

BL works for its members’ interests by exercising its influence on the development of the social housing sector.

One major component of this involves representing the Social Housing organizations in relation to public authorities.

In collaboration with government representatives, the political parties, ministerial officials and Local Government Denmark, BL negotiates the overall framework within which the housing organizations operate.

The views and political stances advocated by BL in negotiations with public authorities are determined by BL’s Board and Assembly of Representatives.

Training and courses

Training and courses

BL provides training for residents and personnel in tenant democracy, management and administration. Every year, BL offers a wide range of courses, conferences and workshops on social housing policy, housing administration and elected representatives’ rights and competencies.

BL as an industry federation

BL as an industry federation

BL assists members administratively, technically and socially to ensure that they remain a modern and effective part of the housing market. BL develops support tools for streamlining administration and has systematised the industry’s knowledge sharing while developing new solutions, standards, methods and business processes.

BL assist members with interpreting rules in all applicable areas, including:

  • Resident democracy issues and rental rules
  • Employment conditions
  • Budgets and accounts
  • Good general management
  • Administration audits 

BL as an employer association

BL as an employer association

BL negotiates wage agreements for approximately 12,000 people work on behalf of the Social Housing Sector.

BL also represents the housing organizations as employers in connection with disputes concerning the interpretation of contracts and dismissal disputes within the labour law system.

BL also guides on personnel, legal and labour market issues, including working environment and training issues.

Published: 30.10.2018 | Edit date: 15.05.2023

Responsible: Kristoffer Friis Sørensen

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