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A Glossary For German Rental Ads

Looking for a flat in a new country can be tricky. Especially if the listings are full of terms and abbreviations you have never heard before. But don’t despair, we created a glossary that you can use while browsing German housing ads. Good luck with your apartment hunting!

The Basics

  • Whg. = Wohnung = apartment
  • Zi. = Zimmer = rooms
  • WM/warm = Warmmiete = rent including extra costs
  • KM/kalt = Kaltmiete = rent excluding extra costs
  • NK = Nebenkosten = extra costs
  • HK = Heizungskosten = heating costs
  • EG = Erdgeschoss = ground floor
  • ETW = Etagenwohnung = flat above the ground floor
  • UG = Untergeschoss = basement floor
  • EBK = Einbauküche = built-in kitchen
  • Möbl. = möbliert = furnished
  • Wfl. = Wohnfläche = size of living space
  • ZKB = Zimmer, Küche, Bad = room, kitchen, bathroom
  • KT = Kaution = deposit

Some extra features

  • EB = Erstbezug = you’re the first to move in
  • TG = Tiefgarage = underground garage
  • ZH = Zentralheizung = central heating
  • Du. = Dusche = shower
  • Blk. = Balkon = balcony
  • Terr. = Terrasse = terrace
  • Spülma. = Spülmaschine = dishwasher
  • WaMa = Waschmaschine = washing machine
  • Abl. = Ablöse = one-off payment for furniture from the previous tenant
  • Bj = Baujahr = year of construction

The concept of “Nachmieter”

Sometimes you will come across the term “Nachmieter”, which cannot be directly translated. The concept describes the case when a current tenant is looking for someone to take over his contract.

Usually, there is a termination period of three months for both tenant and landlord. Sof the current tenant terminates his contract on November 30th, he still has to pay until the last day of February. If he already found a new place from the 1st of February, this would mean a month where he has to pay double rent, which of course everyone wants to avoid. As a gesture of goodwill, some landlords allow the current tenant to look for a so-called “Nachmieter” to take over the contract before the three months period, in this case from the 1st of February on. That is why the search for a Nachmieter lies in the hands of the tenant and not the landlord.

Most times, the current tenant will want to sell you some built-in furniture and appliances like the kitchen or washing machine for a one-off payment (“Ablöse”). Sometimes there is room for negotiation (Vhb. = Verhandlungsbasis = negotiable price). However, you have the advantage to replace the tenant and therefore move in quite quickly.

This glossary is the first step for a successful house hunting in Germany. We advise you to combine different channels throughout your search: newspapers, online rental platforms, bulletin boards in local supermarkets, and of course also your personal network. Keep in mind that you need to have several documents ready once you get to inspect a flat. Fingers crossed!

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