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Renting a Flat in Germany: Step by Step

We are aware of the fact that renting a flat in Germany can be a challenge for everyone, especially for expats coming to the country. Documents, bureaucracy procedures, phone calls in a foreign language… It may all sound too much. But don’t worry – Project Expat is here to help you. We have created this article in order to assist you during all the steps that you need to follow if you want to rent a flat in Germany. Let’s dive right into it!

  1. What documents do I need to rent a flat in Germany?

First of all, if you’re coming to Germany as an expat, you should make sure that you have the right to stay in the country (that is, you are in possession of a residence permit, if applicable). If you want to rent a flat in the country, the first thing the landlord will ask for is your ID or passport. Afterwards, you must be able to prove that you can financially support yourself in the country and you can therefore pay your rent. Normally, you will have to provide your landlord with a salary slip or your bank statement to prove that you have enough income.

If you have already lived and rented a property in Germany before, you will need to provide the credit record documentation, also known as Schufa Record. This document tracks the debt that you may have, which is why landlords might ask for it.

Lastly, if you are unable to submit the aforementioned documentation, the landlord will ask you for the name of a guarantor. If you are unable to pay your rent for any reason, this person must formally agree to do so. However, this is not very common and possessing all the needed documents is usually a piece of cake!

  1. How do I look for a flat in Germany?

There are many options for expats who want to rent an apartment in Germany. Most people just use online renting webpages where you can search for individual or shared flats, talk to the landlords and arrange everything from the comfort of your home. Some of the most popular ones are Immobilien Scout 24, Immowelt and WG-Gesucht, but there are many others.

In addition, you can also choose to rent a flat through a real estate agency, which can make things much easier, but you also have to pay a fee for this service.

After you have found your place, all that you must do is pretty simple: you just have to arrange an appointment with your landlord, submit all the documents and simply get the keys for your apartment!

  1. What’s the usual cost of renting a flat in Germany?

This totally depends on the German city where you’re planning to stay. However, average prices are normally set per square meter. The most expensive cities to live in Germany are Munich, Hamburg and Cologne, where apartments right in the city can range from 1.500 to 2.500 euros a month. However, the further you move away from the city, the less you will pay. In the rest of cities, a one-bedroom apartment costs around 700 euros, which is very reasonable.

When you rent an apartment, you have to pay a deposit equal to three months’ worth of rent. Additionally, utilities are typically not included in the rent. Make sure that the rental agreement specifies this. Kaltmiete or “cold rent” refers to a property that does not include heating nor utilities in the rent. On the other hand, a Warmmiete includes heating costs and all the other expenses.

Moreover, most apartments are unfurnished and you are in charge of providing the furniture. We know that this can get quite expensive, which is why we suggest renting furniture. Renting your furniture can be an easy way to save a lot of money, and the best part is that if you decide to change your apartment or leave the city, you won’t have to worry about re-selling everything.

All things being said, we have gone through the whole list of what you have to do to rent a place in Germany. Yes, we know – it’s easier than it seems! We hope that this article made you feel less stressed about renting a flat in the country. If you’re patient enough, you will find the best home for you. Good luck on your search!