If you’re looking to rent a house, room or apartment in Germany, there are some important details about the German housing market you should acquaint yourself with first.
Rental pricing & Requirements
Affordable housing is in high demand in Germany, as house prices and rents have risen significantly over the last 10 years. There is a range of options available, and prices vary according to where you live, with housing in cities such as Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg commanding the highest rents.
Rents in Germany are either “cold” (Kaltmiete - basic rent) or “warm” (Warmmiete - including service charges and sometimes also energy (gas and electricity), internet, phone line, water and other costs).
When you rent anywhere, you will generally have to pay a deposit of up to three months’ rent. You might also be asked for guarantees that you can cover the rent:
- If you are working in Germany, this might be a copy of your employment contract.
- If you are studying in Germany, this might be a statement from your German bank account or a guarantor form signed by your parents.
Rental contracts & Tenants’ rights
Even though tenants are well-protected by the law in Germany, it’s important to get to grips with your rights. As a tenant, you have certain obligations towards your landlord, and they also have obligations towards you. What should be included in your rental contract? Use our rental contract checklist to make sure you’ve got all bases covered.
Proof of residence certificate (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung)
Before you can register your address in Germany, you need to get confirmation from your landlord that you actually live there. That’s where the proof of residence certificate (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) comes in.
Subletting in Germany
Plenty of expats in Germany end up living in subtenants - often just as a temporary arrangement while they get settled. Equally, lots of people also choose to sublease their own apartments, for instance if they get a short-term job or study assignment abroad. Whatever your situation, if you're thinking of subletting a room or apartment, make sure you are up to speed with all of the rights, rules and obligations by reading our guide to subletting (untermieten) in Germany.
The German federal government makes several benefits and allowances available for those on limited incomes. With rents on the rise across Germany, see whether you qualify for housing benefit (Wohngeld).
Short stay rentals
If you're only going to be in Germany for a short time, it might be worth looking at a short stay rental or serviced apartment. This type of housing can be hired temporarily and is perfect for individuals who are only coming for a semester or a short work secondment, as most apartments come fully-furnished and all bills are covered by your rent.
Why rent a house in Germany
If you’re dithering between renting and buying a house in Germany, consider these advantages to rented accommodation:
- You are more mobile, as rental contracts can be terminated within three months.
- You are not usually responsible for repairs and maintenance, which are carried out by the landlord.
- You can secure rented accommodation with a much smaller deposit than you would need for a mortgage.
- Renters in Germany are more secure than in a lot of other countries. For instance, it is very hard for your landlord to terminate your contract and they cannot make sudden increases to your rent. You are also usually able to redecorate and make structural changes to your accommodation (with the landlord’s permission).