There is no hard task, like moving to a new place. The whole process is usually both exhausting and challenging, especially if it is your first time. For those who have done it before, you may think you understand the steps involved to rent a place. But then, you still need all the help you can get more so if you are planning to rent in Germany. Luckily, this guide is designed to help you with exactly that. It contains every important detail for anyone who has no idea of the renting process in Germany. With this article, you will have a complete overview of every step you are required to take.
Renting statistics in Germany
Germany is one of those developed countries in Europe that is known for both its technological and industrial advancement. The country has managed to grow economically throughout the years, but despite this, people still prefer renting than living in their own homes. According to research, the percentage of people owning homes in Germany is only at 43%, which is quite low for a developed country. The other percentage constitutes of people who live in rentals.
Which is the best option for expats? Buying or Renting?
Deciding on whether you should buy or rent in Germany depends on how long you are planning to stay. The good news is that Germany doesn’t limit expatriates from owning properties. The bad news is that the cost of buying a house in Germany is too high. This means that renting can be a great option so long as you pick the right city to stay.
Cities like Ingolstadt, Frankfurt and Munich are known to have very expensive rental houses. This means that at the end of the day you will have to spend a lot of money on rent. A city like Berlin is among the most affordable place to live; the rentals are however expensive. If you want to save some few euros, ensure that you stay outside the centre. Considering that houses are too expensive, you rather rent if at all you are planning to stay for quite some time but not that long.
Websites where you can find rental apartments in Germany
Looking for a place to rent in Germany is usually the most stressful part for expatriates. Those who don’t wish to spend too much time searching for rental spaces tend to pay agents to do the work for them. But then, there are a lot of websites dedicated to helping people find available vacant houses.
All you have to do is visit the website and search city to city. For those who wish to don’t want to spend so much on their monthly rent, they can always go for flat shares.
Houses for rent for people who are just visiting Germany
If at all you are just visiting Germany with no intentions of staying for long, you are always advised to go for furnished temporary apartments. Most of these apartments are flat shares. With them, you don’t have to spend too much money on buying furniture for your new place. You will also have an easy time settling as opposed to renting your own apartment.
The other option for anyone looking for something good but temporary is subletting. You should be pleased to know that in Germany subletting is legal. You just have to find someone who has a nice furnished apartment and is willing to rent it to you for a specific amount of time.
A closer look at the rental apartments in Germany
When you visit any of the above portals, you will find a list of rental apartments in Germany. The list usually contains the property, the number of bedrooms available, the kitchen type and the year the property was developed. The year of development is, however, rarely included. During your search, you should be aware that the rental apartments are usually empty spaces. This means that you will not find any furniture or curtains. Therefor you will have to purchase those things when you are moving in. Furthermore you will also need to fit the lighting and make other basic inclusions.
You will have an option to choose whether you want to live in a farmhouse, a townhouse or an apartment block. If you don’t mind having too many neighbours, you can always go for a tower block. This is usually a building with a huge number of apartments rising a couple of stories high. After searching and concluding which rental house you would wish to occupy, you can go ahead and gather the documents needed to rent in Germany. These include:
- A credit report
- Photo ID copies
- Your previous landlord’s report
- Proof that you have an income generating job
- An application form issued by the landlord
Most of these documents are mandatory, but some like your previous landlord report is not that necessary more so if you have just flown into the country. All you have to do is indicate the reason why you don’t have it on your application form. The processing usually takes a short period of time after which you will be able to move in.
What is included in a tenant notice in Germany?
Just like any other country, landlords in Germany usually have a tenant agreement. You will be required to sign the agreement before moving to your new apartment. Take note that you can only get the tenant agreement after the above tenant documents have been processed and approved by the landlord. So what is included in a tenant agreement?
For starters, the tenancy agreement usually has the rules of the apartment. This may include keeping the apartment environment clean at all times. This rule is usually applicable to a tenant who is moving to a block apartment or a flat share. The agreement also states that you are liable for any vandalism you make on your apartment.
There are also rules or instances on how you can end your tenancy contract as well as instances that can lead to your eviction. In most rentals in German, to end the tenancy contract, you need to give a three months’ notice. Same is applicable for an eviction notice. In case you feel like the eviction notice has been wrongly issued, you can go ahead and contest in a court of law.
Another factor that is usually part of the contract is rent increase. The landlord cannot just wake up one day and decide to increase the rent. He or she should have a very good reason to do so. He or she is also expected to give a notice before implementing the rent increase.
The process of renting an apartment in Germany
Now that you have a detailed idea on the areas to look for rentals in Germany as well as the apartment shares, here is the process on how to rent a property in Germany.
First, you will need to search for an apartment that you need to rent. Once you select one that checks all the boxes on your checklist, go ahead and contact the landlord. Come up with the date when you can view the apartment. Remember, it is the only way you will get to ascertain if it is exactly how you expected it to be.
After viewing, gather all the above documents required for renting an apartment in the country. The landlord will have to verify the documents first. This should be accompanied by the application form that will be issued by the landlord.
Read all the rules available as well as the repercussions against every rule. This is one way of arming yourself with answers in case your tenancy rights are infringed. Once you have understood the rules on the tenancy agreement, go ahead and sign it.
The next step will be to pay a rent deposit, which is equivalent to three months’ rent plus any other utilities. No landlord should ask you to pay a deposit that is more than that of three months’ rent. Once that is done, you can go ahead and move to your new rental apartment.
You should also be keen to look out for the utility costs. This may include electricity bills and water bills, among others. These utilities are not always included in the monthly rent. They are however indicated on the agreement form and paid separately from the rent.
What are your rights as a tenant?
As a tenant, your rights are highly protected by the law. In Germany, a tenant is more valuable than the landlord. Tenants even have a body protecting their rights known as the national tenants association. This body is ever ready to help a tenant with any case. The most common cases include a landlord evicting tenants so that he or she may increase the rent of the apartment block or house.
The landlord, however, cannot evict a tenant not unless you default to pay your rent for two consecutive months. Only then will he or she be allowed to give you an eviction notice. Eviction cases usually take so much time in Germany, and that is why you will find some landlords paying tenants to vacate the building. So far, that is everything you need to know about renting in Germany. Every single step is included to ensure that you have an easy time securing a place to live in the country.