Renting a house in Germany: all the peculiarities of the procedure

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Renting a house in Germany: all the peculiarities of the procedure

Germany is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, attracting millions of migrants with its high standard of living and stable economy. Finding a place to live here is an extremely difficult task, even for locals. Find out more about the peculiarities of the German real estate market, searching for a property and the paperwork procedure

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According to statistics, almost half of German citizens do not own their own homes but rent apartments. There is a joke in society that it is much easier to find a job or get married in Germany than to rent a house. Getting official housing is very important for migrants and refugees, because all social and financial services are tied to the place of residence. 

Features of renting a house in Germany

At the legislative level, the rights of tenants are more protected in Germany. Because of this, landlords choose people to rent an apartment with care and rigor. It is almost impossible to rent an apartment for a few months; the market is completely focused on long-term leases, which consist of a monthly payment and a prepaid utility bill.

Tourists or business travelers can rent furnished apartments such as Airbnb. Such housing is mostly rented by the day or week. Apartments for long-term rent are rented completely empty.

The most popular types of housing in Germany are the following:

1. Maisonette-Wohnung - two-story apartments

2. Souterrainwohnung - equipped apartments in the basement

3. Penthouse-Wohnung - apartments on the top floor of the house

4. Loftwohnung - large and spacious apartments

5. Appartement - studio apartments

6. Einliegerwohnung - apartments in the completion

7. Altbauwohnung - apartments in old houses

Procedure for finding housing in Germany

If you are planning to move to Germany, it is better to start looking for housing while still at home. The Internet is the primary source for finding any information. There are many housing search sites where you can fill out your profile and make an appointment to view a property. You can also use thematic groups on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram, to find housing. In Germany, the real estate press is widespread and is represented in Toto-Lotto kiosks. Local real estate brokers are unlikely to be helpful in finding a home.

Viewing a house in Germany

It is worth coming to viewings in advance. Ask as many clarifying questions as possible. Find out why the previous tenants moved out, find out the average rent in the city, ask how the neighbors behave and how the transportation in the area is. 

Landlords will also prepare a series of questions for you. They will want to know your profession, income level, credit history, etc. Most likely, they will require documentary evidence of this information.

Abbreviations and acronyms in German rental ads

In Germany, there are 2 types of housing on the market: houses (Haus) and apartments (Wohnung). The abbreviation Wfl is used to indicate the floor area of a room. To indicate the number of rooms, the numbers and the letter Z or Zi are used (2Z is a two-room apartment). There are many other abbreviations: K - kitchen, B - bathroom, T - terrace, DT - roof terrace, SZ - bedroom, AK - storage room, BLK - balcony, WG - veranda, etc. 

The numbering of floors in Germany starts from zero. The abbreviation ETG and the corresponding number are used to indicate the floor. KG is the first floor, EG is the first floor, OG is the last upper floor, DG is the attic or apartments under the roof.

Features of furnishing rental housing in Germany

Almost 90% of apartments in Germany are rented out unfurnished. Tenants take all their furniture to their new home. The only equipped room is the kitchen, as it is made to individual measurements. If the ad did not specify information about the kitchen equipment, you will have to buy it from the tenant or look for it in a store. The cost of furniture transportation in Germany can vary from 300 to 3000 euros.

Documents required for renting an apartment in Germany

According to statistics, in Germany, apartments in large cities receive about 200 applications for viewing on the very first day after the publication of the advertisement. Applications must be sent immediately with a list of required documents:

1. Passport

2. Income statement for the last 3 months

3. Bank statement on credit history, has the form of a scale from 0 to 100, which demonstrates the financial stability of a person

4. A completed application form with personal data and contact information

5. Certificate of no rent arrears

6. Recommendations from previous tenants

7. Bank account statement

The next step is to sign a lease agreement. This is a binding document that is drawn up in the form of a contract. It may even contain information about the hours during which noise is not allowed, as well as permission to perform specific repairs. In addition, the contract contains the following information:

1. The term of validity

2. Monthly rent

3. Additional payments (utility bills)

4. Notice period for moving out of the apartment

5. The deposit

6. The amount of possible rent increase

7. List of furniture and equipment provided

8. House rules

9. Permission to carry out repair work

An apartment handover protocol is also often drawn up. It contains all the information about the current condition and equipment of the apartment. Thanks to this document, it will be possible to return the deposit in the future.

It is mandatory to pay two types of insurance, which cost 120 euros per year. The insurance covers the apartment in case of any breakdowns or thefts, as well as the neighbors' homes in case of flooding or other unforeseen situations.

The cost of renting an apartment in Germany

The majority of German citizens do not own their own homes, but rent apartments all the time. Real estate prices will vary depending on the city, neighborhood, and size of the apartment. Consider the average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in a big city:

- 854 euros - in the central part of the city

- 627 euros - outside the city

- 450 euros - communal apartments

In some cases, prices can be significantly higher due to the size of the apartment, the quality of the renovation, or the availability of furniture. The price will also depend on whether the apartment is offered by the owner or a real estate agent.

A deposit of 2–3 months' rent is required. This deposit can be used for any damages incurred or will be returned when you move out of the apartment.

In addition, the tenant also has to pay utility bills for water, heating, garbage collection, etc., as well as TV tax. The average monthly utility bill is 246 euros.

Thus, there are many nuances to consider when renting a house in Germany. It is important to follow local rules and know your rights and obligations. Always check the terms of the lease, be prepared to pay the deposit, and remember to get legal support when signing the agreement.

We wish you a successful rental and a pleasant stay in Germany!

Igor Usyk - Head of Legal Department at Visit World

For safe relocation to Germany, obtaining refugee status and employment, use the advice of an international lawyer.

We help to solve complex and simple issues for your comfort and safety in Germany.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Germany;

Legal advice on immigration in Germany;

Travel insurance for foreigners in Germany;

Medical insurance all over the world.

More articles on the topic:

Health insurance for foreign employees in Germany.

Work visa for foreigners in Germany: requirements and procedure for obtaining

Traffic violations in Germany: how to avoid getting a fine

Financial aid for refugees in Germany in 2023

Au-pair program for foreigners in Germany: features of the contract and conditions of participation

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