Germany Housing and Rentals
Much like any other country, finding a suitable location to live within Germany can be challenging; particularly if you are new to this region of the world. If you choose to reside within larger cities, this is even more of an issue. So, please feel free to peruse our guide to room and flat rentals as well as our suggestions for purchasing an apartment or even a seaside villa. Our classifieds section will also help you to find the most appropriate accommodation as well as to encounter those who may be looking to share a flat.
The Search for Accommodations in Germany
Like any real estate venture, encountering accommodations in Germany can be difficult and this will partially depend upon where you desire to live. The following section provides you with data concerning the German housing market as well as some of the best tips and tricks to employ during your search.
Most Germans live in apartments or semi-detached housing units within urban settings. As a result of the devastation caused by both world wars, the majority of properties date from the 1950s and onwards. An older property (known as an “Altbau”) was generally built prior to 1914. There was little construction between the two wars.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND DURING YOUR SEARCH
In terms of a rental or a purchase, prices are determined by the size of the structure (measured in square metres). This is also known as a quadrametre in German (qm). Rooftop units that are defined by ceiling heights of between one and two metres are normally priced at 50 per cent of the total size; a benefit in regards to significant discounts.
The number of rooms (bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms) is also important to mention. Note that kitchens and bathrooms are NOT included within this count. A half-room is defined as a space that cannot be separated by a door or an area that is small enough to not be counted.
Housing can be fully furnished, partially furnished or there may be no furniture present. Unfurnished properties are the most common; amenities such as lamps, curtains and kitchen utilities will normally be missing. If the kitchen is furnished, this is normally mentioned within the listing. This can be quite a shock regardless, for taking a ground-up approach when moving into a new property is confusing and it may be very costly. Always set aside a certain amount of funds so that appliances and furnishings can be accounted for.
The Rental Market: Is it Hard to Find Accommodations?
Despite the German government attempting to place an emphasis upon property ownership, rentals are still the most common form within the real estate market. This market is also highly regulated; offering a number of protective measures for the tenant. However, this can prove to be an issue for landlords who have been having trouble with their clients. It is for this reason that many property owners are quite meticulous when choosing a potential tenant.
As should be apparent, rental prices can vary widely. Larger cities such as Munich, Hamburg and Cologne are often associated with higher prices. In fact, up to half of one’s salary may go towards these payments. As foreigners rent for relatively short period of time, they often require fully furnished or semi-furnished properties. This can likewise be expensive. It is also tough to encounter larger properties to rent at reasonable prices for those with families. Comparisons can be made within each region through the help of what is known as a Mietspiegel (a list of rental prices within the area). This is normally found at the town hall or through the Mieterverein (the tenant association). Please see our section regarding rental contracts. If you find that the proposed rent is above the legal limit, seek the help of a property solicitor or speak with the rental association in question. The cost may very well be reduced. Finally, recall that the number of properties in relation to the demand can vary throughout the year. This is normally the case in cities that are host to a large student population. At the beginning of a term (such as in March or April or between September and October), demand will naturally be higher.
Getting Started: How to Prepare for Your Housing Search
Finding any apartment can be a time-consuming and even frustrating experience. So, be certain to give yourself plenty of options to encounter the most amenable rates and to find exactly what it is that you are looking for.
Begin your search before you leave and plan to devote a certain amount of time upon your arrival. Should you be arriving with family, it may be better to ask them to come at a later date. When travelling alone, try to secure a temporary living arrangement with friends or relatives. Never be too specific when beginning your search. Unless you are extremely lucky, this approach can prove to be very intimidating. Always leave yourself several different options. Above all, try to develop a very clear picture of what it is that you are looking for; you might otherwise be wasting your limited time. Familiarise yourself with the location. Observe mass transit locations, local retail centres and similar amenities. Speaking with locals can also provide you with a great deal of insight.
You may require medium- to long-term accommodations during your search. Many hotels can cater to this requirement by providing reduced rates. Above all, never forget that there are a wide range of options to choose from. Like many other areas in life, the amount that you are willing to pay will normally determine how easy it is to find a property.
You should also familiarise yourself with the basic rental terms, particularly the disparity between “cold rent” (Kaltmiete) and “warm rent” (Warmmiete). The latter will normally cover other expenditures such as cleaning costs and rubbish disposal. There are also times when water and heat will be included. You can view our section referring to contracts for further details.
To help you get started on the right foot, Just Landed has taken the effort to compile a compendium of helpful tips in regards to where and how to look for the most appropriate accommodations.