There is a wide range of high-quality rental housing in Germany, but also a high demand – especially in big cities. We will explain how you can find a flat and give you tips on what to consider before and after moving in.
Your first accommodation
There is a variety of options for the first few weeks until you find permanent housing in Germany, such as a furnished holiday flat or a youth hostel.
Looking for housing
You can find listings for flats and houses on well-known real estate platforms on the Internet, where most available flats and houses are now offered. You can also find offers in the regional daily newspaper.
In Germany, supply and demand are strongly dependent on the region. While you can quickly get an offer in rural areas, owners in larger cities usually choose from several interested parties. Especially in and around larger cities, the search for a flat or house can be more time-consuming – and cost-intensive. Read up on the housing market in the city or region, in which you will be living in, in good time.
House and flat shares (WGs)
A shared flat, called Wohngemeinschaft or WG, is a good alternative for people who appreciate living together and want to save money on rent. WGs are very common, especially in larger cities. Everyone usually has their own private room within the WG; the WG residents share the kitchen and bathroom.
Students often find WG rooms on the university notice boards or the student union website. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) also offers numerous tips on how to look for accommodation.
You can search for a room in your city on the online flat share listings or post a classified ad yourself.
The rental rate of a property depends on the living space, the residential location, the year of construction and condition as well as the facilities in the building (e.g. with lift, caretaker service or garage space). Rent is particularly high in large cities such as Munich, Frankfurt or Stuttgart. In addition to the cities themselves, it is, above all, the surrounding areas that are expensive, i.e. the region directly next to a large city.
Here is where you can find a map of Germany with an overview of rental rates. You can also search for Mietspiegel (rent index) and your city's name to find out about current rental rates.
When looking at a specific housing offer, be sure to check whether the rental price is “warm” or “cold”.
In Germany, lease agreements must be concluded in writing. In most cases, the lease agreement specifies the Kaltmiete (cold rent), i.e. the rent for the use of the room. The Warmmiete (warm rent) also includes ancillary costs such as water, heating, waste disposal and caretaker services.
Electricity and gas usually have to be registered separately and are generally not included in the warm rent. The lease agreement states in detail which costs are part of the ancillary costs. You have to pay the rent to the landlord or landlady every month. To be on the safe side, ask the landlord or landlady what else you must pay aside from the rent.
In addition, the property owner might ask you to pay a deposit of a maximum of three months' cold rent when you sign the contract. You will get this sum back as soon as you move out, unless you damaged something in the flat or you have not paid the rent.
Registering at the Residents' Registration Office or Citizens' Registration Office: Every person living in Germany must be registered. You should do this at the Residents' Registration Office or Citizens' Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt) no later than two weeks after moving in. You will need a valid identity card for this. In the case of rented accommodation, you must also submit a completed housing provider confirmation. This is a document in which the property owner confirms when and where you move in and where. You can usually find the form and the address of the relevant Residents' Registration Office on the website of the city you are moving to.
Registering with the energy and water companies: If electricity, hot water or heating gas are not included in the ancillary rental costs, you will have to find a supplier yourself and sign a contract with them.
Registering for telephone, Internet and (cable) television: Germany has a variety of service providers. It pays to compare them; online portals might be helpful. Please note that setting up a telephone, TV and Internet connection can take several weeks. It is best to contact a provider before moving in, if possible.
Fees for television and radio: In Germany, you are obliged to pay a fee (approx. €18.00 per month) for radio, television and Internet to the public “Contribution service of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio”, which is charged per accommodation, regardless of the number of people living in the flat or house. Click here to register online.