General Questions about Rentals - Frankfurt

Hello Everyone,

We're moving to Frankfurt from Portland Oregon USA.  :)

Thank you in advance for your help.

My wife is going first, as I have to wrap up things here in Portland.    She should arrive by August 19th or so.

Some general questions about Rentals / Logistics:

- We could potentially look for a rental starting Sept., Oct. or Nov.  Would there be any difference in availability or price if we waited to start the rental in Nov.?

- Given the above, we would have my wife stay in an AirBnB (or something) while we are searching for a rental.  Again, is it better to give ourselves a good chunk of time, or dive in right away in August?

- Has anyone used any of these Deutsche Kautionkasse or Moneyfix companies?  The idea being you're paying them like an "Insurance" and they take care of the high rental deposits.  If you have used, them, what was your experience?

- My wife will be working at a school in the Nordweststadt/Praunheim/Niederusel area. 
Are there neighborhoods nearby that you would recommend?  We like quiet, and being able to walk to everything we need.

Thanks again!!!

Michael

I don’t know Frankfurt well at all so I can’t give advice on neighborhoods. But I can give a few other tips.

There is no seasonal advantage to waiting to rent a place. If you find a good place you can afford then grab it. Housing is very tight in most German cities these days.
Be aware that the vast majority of people live in apartments so forget about even looking for a house with yard like most Americans are used to. One might find such a place in a rural community or small town far from a big city and even for a decent price. But anywhere commutable from a big city is hopeless.

Frankfurt is flat so one can extend their radius of a walkable distance by making it a biking radius. But don’t be surprised if you end up with accommodation farther away. The distance is often not such a factor as the proximity to public transportation. And it might be better to be convenient to a U-Bahn, S-Bahn  or bus that can get one to work directly than having to change trains and/or buses. But public transportation in virtually any city in Germany is far better than the best public transportation in any American city.

One usually has to put up 3 months deposit on an apartment. I have no personal experience with such a thing so I can only provide you the following info. There is a special bank account “Mietskautionkonto” where the money gets put and nobody can touch it until things are settled when one leaves. This protects both the landlord and renter.  There is a tiny bit of interest earned on the money but a large fee usually taken monthly that adds up to around 50 Euros a year.

This site explains it well (German only)

https://kautionsfrei.de/kautionskonto#vergleich

An alternative is a Mietsbürgschaft which is more like an insurance like you mentioned. From what I've read they are theoretically simpler and slightly but not significantly cheaper than a Miteskautionskonto. But there are different types that either react on the first request of the landlord for supposed damages (auf erstes Anfordern) – or not (ohne auf erstes Anfordern). If they give out the money at first request then you have no chance for a refund if they cheat you. There are advantages and disadvantages and one should be well informed to make such a decision.

See the  provide the following link (German only)

https://kautionsfrei.de/mietbuergschaft … uergschaft

Excellent information!  Thank you so much!

I would like to add three things to Tom's otherwise excellent reply above:
- Termination notice periods for rental apartments and houses in Germany are three months or longer (by law). Most places, especially in the more sought-after cities like Frankfurt, are advertised and quickly taken up soon after the previous tenent submits his termination (or is terminated). Therefore you usually have to sign a rental agreement months before moving in.
- Alternative options for the deposits might look attractive to you, but they all require onsent of the landlord - which might o might not be given. The usual way is still the traditional "deposit given in cash, stored in a special deposit account by the landlord".
- Are you bringing (or buying) your own furnishings and houseware? Furnished apartments are rare in Germany and usually overpriced.

Yeah, Beppi is right about furnished places. They used to be very rare but I understand they are becoming much more popular. The reason being is that landlords can charge much more money. Unless one is staying less than a year, then buy your own. Ikea is good for cheap basic furniture or one can find used furniture in some shops, flea markets, online or in newspapers. People often have very limited storage space or are moving and sell used furniture very cheap.

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