Ein Wohnhaus mit vielen Wohnungen ist zu sehen. Vor dem Haus steht ein blühender Baum. © Goethe-Institut

Looking for accommodation

Are you looking for accommodation? Many newspapers have a section advertising accommodation, usually on Friday or Saturday. You can also find housing adverts on the paper’s website. There are also websites specifically for property. The housing office in your town or community will often help you look. In some regions it is easy to find housing. In others it is very difficult to get accommodation. In that case an estate agent can help you: if he finds housing for you, you have to pay him. Normally an agent receives a total of 2 to 3 months rent as commission. 

Ein Schlüsselbrett mit vielen Schlüsseln hängt im Eingang einer Wohnung. © Goethe-Institut

Rent and deposit

The adverts usually state how much rent you will be charged for the accommodation. But that is often just the “cold rent” (rent exclusive of heating). On top of that you have to pay the utilities as well. For instance you pay for water, cleaning of communal stairs, and waste collection. Heating and power can also be included in the utilities as well, but that varies. Ask the landlord what is included in the utilities and what you will have to pay for separately. 

The “cold rent” plus utilities together is known as the “warm rent”. The total “warm rent” is what you pay your landlord every month. 
Normally apartments are not furnished. There is often a cooker, as well as items that belonged to the previous tenant and are staying in the apartment, such as a fridge, for which you have to pay. These are known as settlements. 

Landlords often want their tenants to pay a deposit. This must not exceed the value of 3 “cold rent” payments. The tenant gets the deposit back when he moves out. If you want to check whether the rent for accommodation is too high, you can check the Mietspiegel (rent index). You can find the average rents for every city there. Search on the internet for “Mietspiegel” and the name of your city. 

At the start of the year you don’t know how much water, electricity or gas you are going to need. So you make an advance payment every month. Then at the end of the year you either get money back or you have to pay some more.

Ein Stromzähler hängt im Keller einer Wohnung. © Goethe-Institut

Tenancy agreement

All information about the rent and deposit is in the tenancy agreement. It also tells you whether you need to redecorate the premises when you vacate them. It also gives you information about your notice period. You often have to sign a handover certificate when you move in. This certificate details whether anything in the apartment is defective, for instance. Then you and the landlord know for certain that it wasn’t you who broke it. Read the tenancy agreement and the handover certificate carefully before you sign.

House rules

Don’t want conflict with your neighbours? Observe a few rules: normally 10pm until 7am is quiet time. In other words you must not make very loud noises between these times. On Sundays and bank holidays there is quiet time all day. In Germany there are different refuse bins for paper and cardboard, fruit and vegetable waste and for other waste. You have to take glass, tins and electrical appliances to special collection points or containers. You will find all the other rules in your house rules. For instance: are you allowed to keep a dog or cat in your accommodation? Or do you have to clean the hallway or pavement in front of the building?

Eine Person putzt ein Treppenhaus in einem Wohnhaus. © Goethe-Institut

Frequently asked questions

Further questions? Write us via the contact form. We will forward your questions anonymously to the advisors of the youth migration services.

Contact form