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Accommodation in Germany

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Finding accommodation in Germany is not easy because of  expensive prices and restrictive renting conditions (payment of several months' rent deposit in advance, restrictive legislations, many supporting documents to provide etc.) In general, rents' prices vary according to the region, city or neighbourhood in which you choose to settle.

In Bavaria, for example, prices are much more expensive than elsewhere in Germany. As far as the rental market is concerned, Munich is deemed to be the most expensive city in Germany, followed by Frankfurt and Stuttgart. By contrast, rent prices in Berlin and eastern Germany are much more affordable. 

Finding accommodation in Germany

To start searching for accommodation in Germany, visit real-estate agencies online or on site, consult real-estate sections in newspapers, especially in weekend supplements of major German newspapers. If you are looking for a flat to share ("Wohngemeinschaft" or "WG"), many dedicated websites are also available on the web. 

German apartments are usually unfurnished, without kitchen appliances and often very poorly equipped. The rent, payable on a monthly basis, generally does not include gas or electricity. However, it may include water, heating and maintenance fees. Note that in Germany, waste separation for recycling purposes is mandatory. Everything must be clearly stated in your rental agreement in any case.

In general, there are no fixed-term leases in Germany, though a minimum period of occupation of one or two years may be required. Termination notice is of two to three months. Fixed-term leases are possible resulting in more expensive monthly rents. In case your rental agreement requires from you a minimum period of occupation but you have to leave Germany before the term ends, you will be legally bound to your lease until the minimum occupation period ends. In other words, you will have to pay rent and maintenance fees until termination of the required minimum period term. However, you may be able to negotiate with your landlord to find a new tenant.

Once you have found accommodation in Germany, a two or three months' rent deposit is generally required. The landlord may also require from you financial statements as well as proof of employment. Make sure that an inventory is done, and if not, make an inventory list as exhaustive as possible, especially if the accommodation is furnished.

 Important:

Remember to submit the "anmeldeformular" to your landlord in order to file your residency certificate application!

For more information about rental agreements in Germany, visit the Deutscher Mieterbund (German rental board) website. 

Unique aspects of German accommodation

You may encounter a few seemingly far-fetched German laws and habits when it comes to renting a place. Here’s are just a few to keep you on your toes:

  • Many flats may not include the kitchen and German tenants are used to moving their own kitchen or having to buy it from the previous tenant. Funnily enough, Germans also tend to keep take their light fittings.
  • Depending on the local council arrangements, you will often have to register and pay individually for rubbish disposal and pick up your own garbage bin. This definitely encourages people to recycle as much as possible at the free collection points.
  • When renting a flat, check who is responsible for cleaning the staircase, front walk or shovelling snow in winter. It could be you! Many buildings respect weekly rotas.
  • There are laws when you have to avoid loud noises, for example on a Sunday.
  • You may have to ask the landlord’s permission to have a pet or to install satellite dishes or television antennas.
  • Cars, bicycles and baby carriages may only be parked in designated areas. You may only wash and dry your laundry in areas provided by the landlord.

 Useful links:

Scout24 - real-estate www.immobilienscout24.de
Immonet.de - real-estate mieten.immonet.de
WG Gesucht - flat-sharing www.wg-gesucht.de
At Home www.athome.de
Deutscher Mieterbund - German rental board www.mieterbund.de

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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See also

Düsseldorf sits on the Rhine river and has good accommodation options in its many neighbourhoods. Unsurprisingly, rent is cheaper in the outskirts.
Hamburg, is located in Northern Germany at the mouth of the river Elbe. It offers residents both historical sights and lively neighbourhoods.
Hanover is a pleasant city in Lower Saxony that is appealing to expats either looking to work or study in the region.
Munich is considered to be the most expensive city to live in in Germany, however it remains a very desirable expat destination.
Frankfurt is one of the more expensive German cities thanks to its rich culture and high population density. Finding accommodation may be time-consuming.

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