Are you planning to move to a German city and want to know how renting a flat in Germany, but don’t know where to start? Then read this little guide and you will have the clearest ideas.
Every year tens of thousands of immigrants come to major German cities in search of new job opportunities, so the rental market is in turmoil and often the demand is higher than the supply to find an apartment, even for a foreigner, a newcomer and that he may not even know German is not so obvious.
Renting a flat in Germany – tips
One thing to note is that rental costs in the center of the city are very high, so it is better to rent in the outskirts or even in neighboring cities to take advantage of the excellent and reliable supply system.
For apartment hunting, I recommend using a variety of websites to increase your chances of finding something. Below is a list of the most popular websites:
Do not forget to ask the advice of compatriots who have been living in Germany for some time, by subscribing to the Facebook groups of people who live in the city of your interest and who will not stop if they can give you some advice or useful information. .
Otherwise, you can always contact a real estate agent. The fees, which is generally equivalent to two months’ rent, must be paid by the person who hires the agent. Therefore, if you contact a real estate agent directly, you must pay the fees, but if you respond to an ad managed by a real estate agent, you do not have to pay a commission.
If you have problems, I recommend that you contact a tenants’ association “Mieterverein“. Tenants’ associations have a long tradition in Germany and are organizations founded with the aim of helping tenants and representing their interests in all matters relating to rent.
Renting a flat in Germany – documents
Have all the documents ready that you need to sign the contract. Since vacant apartments are allocated very quickly, it is advisable to already have all the documents ready so that they are immediately available when needed.
This is the list of the most common documents that are frequently requested:
Copy of an identity card or passport
Rent payment certificate (Mietkostenfreiheitsbescheinigung). This document certifies that you have no debts with previous landlords and that you have always paid your rent regularly. It would not be a bad idea to get a certificate in English from your landlord in your country confirming that you are a reliable tenant and have always paid your rent on time.
Schufa, that is a specifically German document. Schufa is a German organization that checks your financial situation. In short, this certificate is used to show that you are a reliable person who has no debts and is a good payer.
Paycheck. Generally, many landlords ask for a copy of your last three months’ salary. If you have just arrived and have not yet started working, you can replace this with a copy of your employment contract.
Account statement. If you are an employee, you may also be asked for a bank statement to verify how much money you have in your bank account. If you have just arrived and do not yet have a German checking account and your account in your home country is unfortunately empty, try to present your employment contract, that should be enough.
Guarantor, as additional security a landlord may ask someone to guarantee the rent, usually if you have no acquaintances in Germany, it is often the employer who acts as guarantor.
Security deposit . A security deposit is often required, which by law cannot exceed three times the rent. When you leave the apartment, you will get the deposit back. Unless you have caused damage to the apartment. In this case, the landlord retains part or all of the amount to repair the damage. Therefore, when you sign the contract, I recommend that you take photos or videos as proof of the condition of the apartment when you arrive, so that you do not have them when you leave, in case there are any disputes.