Here’s my story of how I, as a Masters student, found lodging in Copenhagen. Your mileage may vary, of course.
As soon as I got my acceptance letter from the IT University of Copenhagen, I instantly decided to start looking for lodging, since I had heard how difficult it is to find.
Initially, I browsed Craigslist in the hopes of finding a suitable apartment or a room that could be rented. However, the only replies I got back were scams (usually from a Nigerian missionary who could not show me the apartment, but was willing to send me the keys to a very cheap flat in the city centre, if only I could send him some money as a deposit to prove that I was not wasting his time). I was later informed that the Danes do not usually use Craigslist anyway.
I then registered at the KKIK, who assign dorm rooms to students. The waiting lists were extremely high though (from 2000 to around 4000), so I left a few applications while continuing to look elsewhere.
I signed up to two sites (boligportal.dk and boligbasen.dk) that were recommended to me as being helpful for me to find a place to stay in Copenhagen. However, to access the complete listings, I needed to pay an amount of money (365DKK and 599DKK respectively). In hindsight, boligbasen.dk was definitely not worth it, and I’ve also heard several complaints from people about it.
I also signed up to findroomate.dk, which assured me that I was able to find a room-mate to stay with while in Copenhagen. However, I also had to pay an amount to be able to send messages to people. Ultimately, nobody ever answered my queries, so I don’t think it was worth it.
I looked around at dba.dk, which I was told was a site commonly used by Danes to buy and sell stuff. I only got one answer from it, which never materialized anything.
Ultimately, the main problem I found while trying to search for lodging is the fact that nobody seemed to answer any of my queries and emails. I would only get an answer a week later, telling me that the apartment had been rented. This made my experience very frustrating.
My girlfriend approached me with an apartment which seemed realistic enough, since communication was from a person who appeared to be a student. However, the more the person spoke to us, asking us to fill in forms and more detail, we became suspicious and I suspected some form of identity theft. The identity card she provided us with had expired (and to make matters worse, the format on the card was no longer used). Therefore, we quickly abandoned that apartment and reported the person to the relevant authorities.
On the 8th of August, I arrived in Copenhagen with my girlfriend and checked in to the Generator Hostel, located very near to Kongens Nytorv. I was determined to make the most of my time there and try to find a place to stay. After looking through the classifieds in the Copenhagen Post (a local newspaper written in English), I managed to find a room to rent in Brønshøj, where the landlord actually answered my e-mails. I did not feel comfortable in the area though, and was even more worried to see an apartment catch fire when we arrived.
Meanwhile, some other international students who would be studying at the University were also having problems trying to find lodging. We decided to find an apartment to rent out between 2 people by using the Danish Homes agency. We found ourselves an apartment in København SV, and after I viewed the apartment, we were asked to send in some information so that the owner would be able to decide who to rent out the apartment too. This however, was only available from the 1st of September, and so I still had the problem of finding lodging for the rest of August.
My time at the hostel was up, so we decided to move from Generator Hostel to Cabinn Metro, a small hotel in Amager very close to the IT University. Our stay was for the weekend. However, we received a message on Saturday afternoon telling us that the apartment we had found through the agency had been rented out successfully, leaving us with nothing again.
It was here that I began to panic, since I was effectively homeless and hadn’t found a place to stay yet. I sent several emails to people that I believed would be able to help (such as the Jesuits in Denmark), but no such luck. Finally, my girlfriend messaged a guy who happened to be the friend of her cousin, and he was willing to provide us with temporary lodging, as well as try to find people who were interested in renting out their room. In the mean time, I continued to send emails to interesting apartments on the websites mentioned about, switching the written language from English to Danish (assuming that I would have the upper hand).
Eventually, I did manage to find a room to rent in Vanløse and I moved in 2 days ago to settle down and finally get ready to start my Masters degree.
Some helpful advice: When looking for a place to stay in Copenhagen, do not just look for lodging inside the city centre! Look also for lodging just outside it, such as in Vanløse, Valby and other similar areas.