From finding the right living space, signing the contract, to keeping yourself away from scammers, there are several essential factors to take into consideration when searching for a rental property in Germany.
Finding a place
Real estate portals (Immobilien portals)
The best and most popular way to find a place to live in Germany is to make use of the many real estate portals listing apartments, rooms and single houses. All of them operate in a freemium way by providing the best service with a free account and exclusive services like early notification of a new listing and direct contact to the landlord, etc on a paid account.
To start with, you can depend on the free account. See if the listing satisfies your requirements and you are getting feedback from the advertisers. You can think about upgrading to a paid version if necessary at a later point in time.
On some websites, the paid version offers additional services like free Schufa or priority contact to the advertiser or landlord.
Wunderflats is an online booking platform that offers a comprehensive range of fully furnished apartments and flats for rent. The platform specializes in long-term stays of 30 days or more, providing an excellent option for professionals, students, and expats looking for flexible and convenient housing solutions.
Wunderflats provides high-quality images and detailed descriptions of each property, giving renters an accurate representation of what to expect before they book. Additionally, the platform offers personalized assistance to help renters find a home that meets their specific needs and requirements, making the renting process as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
Spotahome operates using a comparable approach to online vacation rentals, with the exception that they specialize in locating homes for a minimum stay of 30 days, in compliance with city regulations. Spotahome stands out from other real estate listing websites as it functions as an online booking platform that provides a broad range of accommodations, including apartments, rooms, studios, and student residences.
With Spotahome, you can skip in-person property viewings, which saves renters and property owners both time and money. The platform presents you with photographs and high-definition videos of the property and surrounding area to give you a close-to-natural experience of what you can expect.
Being one of the largest real estate platforms in Germany, Immobilienscout24 has a variety of listings from single room apartments to big houses. Their program offers you both free as well as paid accounts with different services.
Immobilienscout24 also lists properties to sell. If you are looking to buy an apartment or house, you can use the platform to find the right one for you.
Mr. Lodge is a German real estate agency that specializes in furnished rentals, including apartments, houses, and rooms. They offer a wide range of properties in cities such as Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. Mr. Lodge provides comprehensive service, including property viewings, contract negotiations, and move-in assistance, making the rental process as stress-free as possible.
While portals like Immobilienscout24 lists both furnished and unfurnished properties, Mrlodge offers furnished apartments. If your stay in Germany is not for a longer period, Mrlodge would be your best choice to find quality furnished properties at a reasonable cost.
When real estate portals come handy and flexible, you can still consider the old fashioned way.
There are several relocation agencies in Germany that will help you not only to find a property, but they also offer other services like help you get your residence permit, driving license, find a school for your German training, etc.
Unlike real estate portals, their service comes with a fee. However, you’ll get service from trained professionals.
In the last 25 years TM Relocation Services GmbH has successfully established itself in the world of relocation. The company was founded in 1996 and initially concentrated its efforts on and around Munich. More and more locations were added eventually.
TM Relocation is currently present in the following cities and their surrounding areas: Munich, Berlin, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Mannheim and Stuttgart.
Documents required to rent an apartment in Germany
Once you found your dream property and made an appointment with the advertiser, generally you don't have to bring any documents while visiting the apartment. However, we prefer you to keep the below documents with you just in case the landlord / agent asks you for.
Copy of the passport (you + the persons moving in)
Salary slip for last three months (if available)
Bank statement for last three months (if available)
Schufa (if available)
Most of the time, the person inviting you to view the apartment would have a form which you need to fill in. They may have invited other parties like you for a viewing. They’ll collect the documents and select the most satisfying party for them.
Don't worry if you missed the apartment you liked a lot. There are plenty of options out there and a better one will come for you.
What to consider before signing a rental agreement in Germany?
We hate to read the terms and conditions for any purpose, whether to install a software or to apply for a loan.
However, you need to make sure that the below listed points are correctly included in the contract.
Correct address including house number and a description about the property
The owners name and contact address
Tenure of the tenancy
Deposit amount, monthly rent and the date of payment
How much and on what frequency the rent will increase
What are included or excluded from the rent (nebenkosten / additional costs)
Notice period when leaving the apartment
In case of furnished apartments, what furnitures, appliances, etc are in the property
Any damages in the property such as break on the wall, damaged floor or appliances, etc.
Information about the garage (if available)
House rules such as how many additional people can stay or whether smoking or pets are allowed, etc.
Additionally, if you want to add any points in the contract, please make sure that your points are added before you sign the contract.
Packing and moving
You need to think about packing and moving from the time you look for a place.
How far is the new apartment from where you currently live, how do you move your stuff to the new place, how much does the move cost, etc.
According to how much stuff you’ve got to move and how far is your new property, you need to decide whether you need to seek help from a relocation agency or you can simply move the stuff by yourselves.
If you need help from a moving company, below are some popular ones.
Sanelo has been helping people relocate locally as well as internationally for more than 130 years. With their experience and expertise they can help your relocation smoothly. They have 69 offices in 38 countries around the world!
Thanks to modern technology combined with experienced moving experts and optimized workflows, Movinga offers great moving experiences. As Europe's leading moving provider, Movinga can take care of the planning while one of their local moving partners will take care of your move.
Is house insurance mandatory in Germany?
House insurance, also known as homeowners insurance, is not legally required in Germany. However, it is highly recommended to protect your property from damages, such as fire, water, or theft. It is especially important if you have a mortgage on your property, as most lenders require you to have insurance coverage. Even if you own your home outright, unexpected damages or accidents can be costly, and having insurance can provide peace of mind and financial security. It is essential to carefully review insurance policies and understand what is covered before purchasing a plan. In some cases, additional insurance coverage may be necessary, such as flood insurance in areas prone to flooding.
Apartment Maintenance Requirements in Germany
When you rent a property in Germany, you are not responsible for the maintenance of the property. The maintenance is the headache for the landlord. However, you are responsible for maintaining the property at its original state when you terminate the contract or move out.
Even though it is not regulated by law, you are obliged to return the property in its original state when moving out. Most of the contracts would contain a clause stating that you need to clean, repair and repaint the property when terminating the contract if you live there for a certain period of time. The landlord will use a portion of your caution deposit to return the property to its original state otherwise.
Beware of Real Estate Scammers in Germany!
Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers in this area in Germany. Therefore, if you feel something is not right, you might be right.
Scammers usually ask you to transfer a deposit or caution deposit or initial amount to block the apartment or visiting slot for you before you make a visit to the apartment, you should avoid it.
Can you Sublet and apartment in Germany?
Being expats, many of us would want to visit our home country, parents and friends at least once a year. You may want to sublet your property while you are away and make a bit of a side income. It is also a nice idea to keep the apartment clean.
If you plan to sublet your property to a third person, make sure that your clearly state the rules for subletting. While most of the landlords don't let you do it, you can still negotiate a term with your landlord and include a clause in the contract.
How to end a rental contract in Germany?
When it's time to leave the apartment, make sure to inform the landlord well in advance to avoid any confusions or clashes.
Make sure that you clean the apartment, repair any damages and repaint if that's stated in your contract. You can do all these stuff by yourself with the help of your friends or family. Otherwise, hire a cleaning agency who can do it for you.
There are many cleaning services out there offering their services at a cheaper cost. Most of them have customized plans for move out cleaning as a package.
The whole process may seem tiring and overwhelming. However, we hope our tips help you make it organize in a better way.
Good luck with your house hunt!
FAQ about how to find an apartment in Germany
What are some of the best online platforms to search for apartments in Germany?
Some of the most popular and reliable online platforms to search for apartments in Germany are:
Wunderflats: An online booking platform that offers a comprehensive range of fully furnished apartments and flats for rent. The platform specializes in long-term stays of 30 days or more, providing an excellent option for professionals, students, and expats looking for flexible and convenient housing solutions.
Spotahome: An online booking platform that provides a broad range of accommodations, including apartments, rooms, studios, and student residences. Spotahome operates using a comparable approach to online vacation rentals, with the exception that they specialize in locating homes for a minimum stay of 0 days.
Immobilienscout24: One of the largest real estate platforms in Germany, Immobilienscout4 has a variety of listings from single room apartments to big houses. Their program offers you both free as well as paid accounts with different services. Immobilienscout4 also lists properties to sell.
Mrlodge: A German real estate agency that specializes in furnished rentals, including apartments, houses, and rooms.
What are some of the documents I need to prepare before applying for an apartment in Germany?
Some of the documents you may need to prepare before applying for an apartment in Germany are:
Schufa: A summary of your credit history to prove you have no current or previous debts.
Proof of income: A document that shows your monthly income and expenses, such as a payslip, a contract, or a bank statement
Proof of employment or study: A document that confirms your status as an employee or a student, such as a letter from your employer or university.
Passport or ID card: A valid identification document that shows your personal details and nationality
Rental application form: A form that you fill out with your personal and financial information, as well as your preferences and expectations for the apartment.
How can I increase my chances of getting a positive response from landlords or roommates?
Some of the tips that can help you increase your chances of getting a positive response from landlords or roommates are:
Write an initial email in German: Even if you don’t speak German fluently, writing an initial email in German can show your interest and effort, as well as avoid potential language barriers or insecurities.
Be flexible and open-minded: Don’t limit yourself to a specific area or type of apartment, but be willing to explore different options and compromise on some aspects.
Be proactive and persistent: Don’t wait for landlords or roommates to contact you, but follow up with them regularly and politely. Also, don’t give up after a few rejections, but keep applying until you find something suitable.
Be prepared and punctual: When you get invited for a viewing or an interview, make sure you have all the necessary documents ready and arrive on time. Also, dress appropriately and be polite and friendly.
What are some of the factors that affect the rental prices in Germany?
Some of the factors that affect the rental prices in Germany are:
Location: The rental prices vary significantly depending on the city and the neighborhood you choose. Generally speaking, bigger cities like Berlin or Munich tend to have higher rental prices than smaller towns or rural areas. Within each city, there are also differences depending on the popularity, accessibility, and safety of each area.
Size: The rental prices are usually calculated based on the square meters of the apartment. The bigger the apartment, the higher the rent. However, there may be exceptions depending on other factors such as location or condition.
Condition: The rental prices also depend on the condition and quality of the apartment. Factors such as age, renovation status, furnishing level, heating system, insulation, etc. can influence the rent. Generally speaking, newer or renovated apartments tend to have higher rental prices than older or outdated ones.
Supply and demand: The rental prices are also affected by the supply and demand of the housing market. In areas where there is a high demand for apartments but a low supply, the rental prices tend to be higher than in areas where there is a low demand but a high supply.
What are some of the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords in Germany?
Some of the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords in Germany are:
Tenants: Tenants have the right to live in a safe, clean, and functional apartment that meets the standards agreed upon in the contract. They also have the right to privacy, security, and protection from discrimination or harassment.
Tenants have the responsibility to pay the rent and utilities on time, to take good care of the apartment and its facilities, to report any damages or defects to the landlord, and to follow the house rules and regulations.
Landlords: Landlords have the right to receive the rent and utilities on time, to inspect the apartment regularly and with prior notice, to terminate the contract for valid reasons, and to claim compensation for any damages or losses caused by the tenant. They also have the responsibility to provide a safe, clean, and functional apartment that meets the standards agreed upon in the contract. They also have the responsibility to repair any damages or defects that are not caused by the tenant, to respect the privacy and security of the tenant, and to follow the laws and regulations regarding rental properties.