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Renting in Germany – A detailed 2022 Guide

Finding a place to live is one of the most crucial tasks when relocating to Germany. Most ex-pats choose to rent in Germany; just a handful choose to buy a house or apartment after living in Germany for a while. When it comes to renting an apartment in Germany as a foreigner, there are a few things you should be aware of to prevent a bureaucratic slog and unneeded stress.

This article will detail all of the pitfalls and idiosyncrasies of German flats, as well as provide crucial suggestions on locating an apartment in Germany and what to look for in the rental contract. 

8 points to remember when renting a property in Germany

Before you begin your apartment search in Germany, you should be aware of what to anticipate from German apartments. They are different from what you are accustomed to in your home country.

The vast majority of apartments for rent in Germany are unfurnished. Let us go over what this entails.

1. In German apartments, the bathroom is included.

All German apartments for rent include a bathroom (s). It is extremely usual for the shower to be integrated into the bathtub rather than being a separate shower. The more likely this is, the smaller the unit.

2. Apartments in Germany do not include a kitchen.

This is by far the most surprising aspect for most ex-pats, and it produces a lot of disbelief. The majority of unfurnished apartments for rent in Germany do not include a kitchen. Yes, you read that correctly!

So the key question is, what are your alternatives?

Make sure that if you find a listing with a kitchen in the photographs of the flat, it is included in your rental agreement. If it isn’t, the prior tenant (who may be the owner of the kitchen) will most likely take it with them. So, for the kitchen, you have the following options:

  • Purchase the kitchen from the prior tenant.
  • Only look for flats that contain a kitchen.
  • Rent a completely furnished flat.
  • Rent an apartment without a kitchen and then purchase one.

3. Appliances are not usually included in German apartments.

The same holds for appliances such as washers and dryers. They are most likely not included. If you need to buy one, make sure to double-check the measurements, as washing machines in Germany come in varied forms and sizes to fit in tiny apartments. Dryers, on the other hand, are not widely used in Germany since they take up a lot of room and use a lot of (expensive) energy. Germans dry their clothing on clothes racks.

4. In Germany, utilities are calculated separately from rent.

Warmmiete (warm rent) and Kaltmiete (cold rent) are two different terms for the price of a flat (cold rent). The first figure you see for an apartment is usually the chilly rent. However, this is not the ultimate sum you will pay because utilities (Nebenkosten) for water, heating, waste pickup, and sometimes TV cable, etc., must be included in the rental charge. So your total monthly rental payment is made up of chilly rent + utilities. Electricity is typically not included in utilities, and you will need to sign up with a provider.

5. When looking for an apartment in Germany, communication partners vary.

When looking for an apartment to rent, there is no one person to contact. The listing could be handled by the landlord (Vermieter), the previous tenant (Vormieter), the property management (Hausverwaltung), a real estate agent (Makler), a tenant (Mieter) searching for a sublet (Untervermieter), or a flat partner (WG-Bewohner). So carefully study the listing to figure out who you’re dealing with.

6. In Germany, deposits are very common.

Before you can move into your new house, you will almost definitely be requested to pay a deposit (Kaution). A deposit can be up to three times the net cold rent, according to the law. The deposit will be held by the landlord for the duration of your stay on the property. You will receive your deposit returned within three to six months of moving out. The trustworthiness is normally good, and the deposit is usually returned within a few days or weeks after you move out.

However, if you have caused damage or have not adequately refurbished the flat to the appearance it had when you moved in, the landlord may keep a portion of your deposit. So, take care of your flat and report any damages promptly so that they can be repaired.

7. In Germany, apartment floor numbers are counted differently.

Don’t be perplexed by the floor numbering in German apartment listings. Floors are known by the following names in Germany:

  • Basement
  • Ground floor
  • The first floor above the ground floor
  • top floor – literally under the roof

8. In Germany, the number of rooms in an apartment is defined.

In Germany, the kitchen and bathroom of a flat are never counted as rooms. That being said, if you want a living room and a bedroom, you should consider a 2-room apartment (2 Zimmer Wohnung) in Germany.

Documents Needed For Renting In Germany

The specific documentation you will need to furnish will be specified in the rental property ad. The following are the seven most typical documents required when renting an apartment in Germany.

1. Copy or scan of passport or ID (Necessity)

2. Proof of income (Necessity)

3. A SCHUFA report(Requested most of the time)

4. An application form or letter (Sometimes requested)

Some advertisements require you to fill out an application form or create an actual application letter to better compare the interested parties. Even if an application letter is not needed, it might help you stand out from the crowd.

7. Private Liability insurance (Beneficial)

Some landlords require that you obtain third-party liability insurance. Even if your landlord does not require it, we recommend including it in your application because it indicates that you are protected and makes you appear more reputable.