How Urban Ground helps expats when renting out a house in Germany
Moving to Germany as an expat is an exciting opportunity. The good work-life balance, high salaries, and educational opportunities make Germany an attractive country for expats. However, some of the key first steps like choosing a neighbourhood and finding a rental property are some of the hardest in your journey as an expat.
Urban Ground was created to help solve some of the issues expats face when renting in Germany
Navigating the system in any foreign country is pretty hard, but Germany has its own unique issues that expats have to confront. Urban Ground, a rental platform for expats in Berlin, was created to solve some of these issues. Here’s how they help in three key areas.
Finding an apartment in Germany is not always a smooth-sailing process. In the country’s biggest cities, there’s a serious shortage of (affordable) housing. Expats often want to have a place nailed down before they even arrive in Germany, but that’s easier said than done.
Urban Ground has a portfolio of properties across Berlin that you can view before you even step foot on German soil. They can provide a 360-degree digital walkthrough of apartments for rent in Berlin that you can view from the comfort of home. All paperwork can be done digitally, and bookings completed online via credit card, PayPal or bank transfer, so you can travel to Germany safe in the knowledge that you already have somewhere to live.
Language is another tough barrier you’ll have to overcome when you arrive in Germany. Most people expect English to be enough to enable them to get by. This might be the case in other countries, but Germany has a strong affinity towards its national language and you can’t always count on people speaking English.
German rental laws generally favour the tenant - but it’s hard to take advantage of this protection if you can’t understand the rules and regulations.
On top of that, rental agreements are mostly drafted in the German language. Of course, it’s important to thoroughly read the rental contract before signing it, but if you don’t speak the local language, where does that leave you? Urban Ground offers bilingual rental contracts, in both English and German, for better transparency.
But the language barrier doesn’t end with the rental agreement. Whenever you face an issue regarding your property in Germany you’ll need to contact the building manager (Hausverwaltung) assigned to the property. Most of these managers only speak German - meaning miscommunication can often be an issue for expats experiencing problems with their properties. To avoid this, Urban Ground takes on the issue for its tenants and communicates directly with property managers to get any issues resolved quickly and efficiently.
Since German rental laws favour the tenant, landlords try to protect themselves with a tight screening process. For any given rental property, you might find yourself asked to hand over a whole wad of paper, forms and documentation to prove yourself and your financial position. This generally includes the SCHUFA (German financial credit history), three months of payslips from a German employer, and proof of at least six months’ employment in Germany.
This makes it difficult for a newly-arrived expat to rent a long-term apartment, meaning often they are forced to settle for an expensive short-term let or substandard accommodation. Urban Ground understands this problem - as expats themselves, they’ve been there before - and so they accept non-German financial history and employment documents.
Even better, at Urban Ground paperwork is a thing of the past. All rental contracts can be signed digitally on a standard web browser via your mobile or computer.
A simple rental process
So, if you're looking for a property to rent in Berlin, why settle for anything other than a simple, fuss-free rental process? Start looking for an apartment before you even arrive with the 360-degree virtual tour, upload your documents to the Urban Ground system, sign your bilingual rental agreement, pay your deposit, and the apartment is yours - before you even land at the airport.
It really is that simple.