Renting in Germany
Costs for Housing
- Plan for a minimum rent price range between 400€ to 500€ per month inclusive of utilities. This will secure an apartment or a very well-equipped room in a flat share.
- Rental contracts within Germany rarely include a flat rate on utilities (water, electricity or heating). It is important to note the fact that apartments will require separate cost for utilities and must be budgeted in on top of the price of the rent.Ask what is included in the rent.
- Landlords often demand a minimum of three months’ rent in advance as a deposit and may keep the deposit if the tenants do not maintain the flat properly in accordance to the contract.
- Internet service is seldom included within a rental contract. In Germany the tenant is expected to arrange the connection setup through a provider of his or her own choice. Consider the average internet costs to be approximately 25€ per month.
- In Germany each household has to pay for German broadcasting services. No matter if you own or use a TV or radio set every household pays a monthly 17,98 Euro.The so called GEZ.As soon as you are registered in your accommodation the local authorities will automatically hand your data to the GEZ institution you will be billed on a monthly basis for the duration of your stay. If you rent a single flat you have to pay the monthly fee alone. If you live in a flat share you can split the price.
- You will be renting as a private person and sign a legal renting contract under German tenancy laws.
- Apartments in Germany generally come unfurnished: this means there is no kitchen facilities (Einbauküche = built-in kitchen), built-in wardrobes, not even light bulbs. Do not expect washing machines or dryers in the basement – Germans tend to bring them. Furnished apartments are an exception to the rule and have higher costss.
Deposit or Kaution (Ka, Kt and Kaut)
Most landlords ask for a "security deposit" that you must lay down over and above your rent. The deposit can not be used as the last rent!! In case you damage something it is better to tell in advance and give the landlord a chance to look for the cheapest provider of service or object that to tell at checkout. At departure the flat will be inspected and in case something is damaged, parts of your deposit will stay with the landlord to repair the damages.To retrieve your deposit back completely you have to clean the place regularly and to be very careful with the equipment.
Rent composition is a bit tricky – (electricity, phone or internet f.i. are arranged and paid independantly by the tenant). Normally your rent consists of the following:
- Kaltmiete (KM) – (flat cold) rooms only (no matter if furnished or not) and
- Nebenkosten (NK) (include a variety of expenditures and general costs for renting) garbage disposal, water in – water out, gas, electricity for halls and garage doors, house insurances, a.s.o)
- Warmmiete (WM) (flat including heating) usually the sum of Kaltmiete and Nebenkosten. This is how much you will pay per month without electricity.
- Expenditures for water and heating are most often an anticipation of the costs (Vorauszahlung). At departure or shortly after the “real” consumption will be read from the meters. The difference between the calculated expenditures and the spent ones will be confronted with your deposit. Especially with large companies this procedure can take up to one year and you will have to wait for the deposit to be returned.
- All inclusive price: Best for you is if expanditures for water and heating are fixed and will NOT be read after your departure. Even if fixed costs are a bit higher than usual you still win. Germans are used to safe water, heating and electricity to keep their costs down. You might not be.
How to pay rent
- In Germany you pay the full month no matter when you arrive. A month is defined by calendar and not by the day of your arrival: thus if you arrive on the 22nd the full month is not to the next 22nd.
- You are required to pay on the first 3 days of the month. Do not wait for your landlord to approach you - here it is considered the tenant's duty to come with the rent.
- At arrival you are required to pay your deposit and the first month’s rent either in cash or transfer.
- If you pay cash get sure your landlord gives you a receipt.