Finding accommodation in germany for foreigners

author's avatartechjobmarktUpdated Mon Jun 19 2023

Our list of verified resources for accommodation in Germany.

Moving to a new country can be exciting, but finding the right housing in a foreign land can be one of the most challenging aspects of the transition. If you're planning to move to Germany, you'll be pleased to know that there are plenty of helpful and legitimate resources available to help you find the right accommodation.

What does it cost to rent an apartment in Germany?

The cost of renting a property is determined by various factors including the size of the living space, location, age and condition of the property, and the amenities provided, such as elevators, security, and parking. Rental rates tend to be expensive in big cities like Munich, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart. The surrounding areas near these cities are also pricey, specifically those situated adjacent to the city centre.

Numbeo's recent data indicates the monthly rental costs in Germany as follows:

  • €854 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre
  • €627 for the same type of apartment outside the city centre
  • and €450 for a single room in a shared apartment

German rules for renting a property

There are several unique rules and regulations for renting a property in Germany that differ from other countries. Here are some of them:

  • Rent Control: Germany has strict rent control regulations, which means landlords can only increase rent prices by a certain percentage every year. The maximum percentage increase is usually determined by the state, and it varies from state to state.
  • Deposit: Landlords in Germany can request a deposit from tenants, but the deposit cannot exceed three months' rent. The deposit must be kept in a separate bank account and returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy.
  • Termination Notice: In Germany, the termination notice period for a rental contract is usually three months, but it can be longer if the tenant has been living in the property for a long time.
  • Unfurnished Apartments: Unfurnished apartments in Germany usually do not come with kitchen appliances, such as a stove or refrigerator. It is the tenant's responsibility to purchase these applia- nces and bring them to the apartment.
  • Tenant's Rights: Tenants in Germany have a lot of legal rights, and landlords must follow specific procedures to evict a tenant. For example, a landlord must provide a valid reason for eviction, such as non-payment of rent or damage to the property.
  • Property Inspection: Before moving into a rental property, it is standard practice in Germany for the tenant and landlord to inspect the property together and create a written report documenting the condition of the property.

The review process for tenants

When renting a property in Germany, the review process for tenants typically includes providing proof of income and creditworthiness, as well as submitting a rental application with personal information and references. Landlords may also require a security deposit and a rental contract, which may be subject to negotiation. It is important for tenants to carefully review the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, including any provisions related to rent increases, termination of the lease, and maintenance responsibilities. Additionally, tenants have certain rights under German law, such as the right to a habitable dwelling and protection against unfair eviction.

Rent limit

In Germany, there is no specific rent limit for foreign job seekers. Rent limits, also known as rent caps, are regulated at the state level, and some cities such as Berlin, have introduced rent caps to limit the amount landlords can charge for rent. However, these rent caps have faced legal challenges and their future implementation remains uncertain. That being said, as a foreign job seeker in Germany, it's important to be aware of the average rental prices in the area you're interested in living in. It's recommended to allocate around 30% of your income towards housing expenses. Additionally, some rental companies may require proof of income or a German guarantor, so it's important to have those documents in order before beginning your search for housing.

Are there furnished apartments available for rent in Germany?

Yes, there are furnished apartments available to rent for foreigners in Germany. In fact, many rental properties in Germany come fully furnished, especially those designed for short-term stays or for international students and expats. Some rental companies and real estate websites specialise in offering furnished apartments to foreign tenants, often with flexible lease terms and all-inclusive rental fees. It's important to note that furnished apartments can be more expensive than unfurnished ones, but they can also save tenants the hassle and cost of buying and transporting their own furniture.

Resources for Accommodation

  1. Here are some links and resources to rental companies and multilingual real estate websites in Germany that are aimed at foreigners:
  • Spotahome: Spotahome is an online booking platform for mid to long-term accommodation. They offer a variety of furnished apartments and rooms for rent across Germany. They provide high-quality photos, HD videos, detailed floor plans, and a 360-degree virtual tour of each property. The website is available in multiple languages including English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and more.
  • Wunderflats: Wunderflats is a platform for furnished apartments, serviced apartments, and temporary housing solutions for short and medium-term stays in Germany. They offer apartments for rent in over 80 cities across the country including Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Munich, with flexible rental terms ranging from one month to several years. Their website is available in English, German, and French. https://wunderflats.com/en
  • Nestpick: Nestpick is an online platform for furnished apartments, student housing, and co-living spaces in Germany. They offer a range of properties for rent in major cities across the country. The platform offers fully furnished apartments for short and medium-term stays in several cities in Germany. The website allows you to search for properties in specific cities, and filter your search by price, size, and other criteria. Nestpick also offers a relocation service to help you with the entire process of moving to a new city. Their website is available in multiple languages including English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and more.
  • SMARTments: SMARTments provides fully furnished and affordable studios and apartments in prime locations throughout Germany, which come with beautiful interior designs, weekly cleaning services, and the option to register your address (Anmeldung). You can book SMARTments apartments quickly online, and they are available in the following areas: Berlin Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin Karlshorst, Berlin City West, Munich, and Hamburg. For more information about SMARTments and its offerings, check out the provided link: https://www.smartments-business.de/
  • HomeCompany: Homecompany is a nationwide rental agency that offers furnished and unfurnished apartments for expats in Germany. They offer a range of properties, from studios to multi-room apartments, for short and long-term rentals. They have offices in several cities including Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Munich. Their website is available in English and German. https://www.homecompany.de/en
  • HousingAnywhere: This website allows you to find and rent apartments from local landlords. It is available in English and offers a search function that allows you to filter properties by location, size, and price.
  • Habyt: Habyt provides fully furnished private rooms in prime locations throughout Germany. The company aims to simplify the apartment search process by offering an easy registration process for shared apartments in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Cologne, and Dusseldorf.
  • Mr. Lodge: A rental agency that specialises in furnished apartments for expats in Munich. They offer apartments for both short and long-term stays. Website: https://www.mrlodge.com/en/
  1. Multilingual real estate websites for foreigners offering long-term contracts:
  • Immobilienscout24: A real estate website that offers listings for apartments, houses, and rooms in Germany. The website is available in German and English, making it accessible to both locals and international residents. Website: https://www.immobilienscout24.de/en/
  • ImmoWelt: A real estate website that offers listings for apartments, houses, and rooms in Germany. They have a multilingual website with an English version. Website: https://www.immowelt.de
  • eBay Kleinanzeigen: If you're looking for a more casual and personable approach to finding housing, eBay Kleinanzeigen is a good option. This website allows individuals to post ads for apartments and rooms for rent, as well as other items. You can search for properties in specific cities, and filter your search by price, size, and other criteria. It's a great option for those looking for budget-friendly housing options.
  • Immonet: Immonet is another website that offers a wide range of housing options. You can search for apartments, houses, and shared housing in specific cities, and filter your search by price, size, and other criteria. The website is available in German and English, so it's easy to use for non-German speakers.
  1. Public housing support services for foreigners:

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF): Provides support services for refugees and asylum seekers in finding housing in Germany. They have a multilingual website with information on housing assistance programs. Website: https://www.bamf.de/EN/Home/home_node.html Caritas: A social service organization that offers housing assistance for refugees and migrants in Germany. They have offices in several cities and offer support services in multiple languages. Website: https://www.caritas.de/en/

  1. Share-houses in Germany for foreigners:
  • WG-Gesucht: A website that offers listings for shared apartments (WGs) in Germany. They have a multilingual website with an English version. Website: https://www.wg-gesucht.de/en/
  • Studenten-WG: A website that offers listings for shared apartments (WGs) in Germany, primarily aimed at students. The website offers a range of options, including shared apartments, single rooms, and studios. They have a multilingual website with an English version. Website: https://www.studenten-wg.de/en
  • EasyWG: One of the most popular resources for finding housing in German cities is WG-Gesucht. This website is specifically designed for shared housing, which is a common type of accommodation in Germany. The website allows you to search for rooms or entire apartments, and filter your search by city, price, and other criteria. It's available in English and German, so it's easy to use, even if you're not fluent in German. Website: https://www.easywg.de/en/

Documents required to rent a home in Germany

As a foreign job seeker, you will need some specific documents to rent a home in Germany. These documents include:

  • Proof of income: You will need to show that you have a stable income that covers the rent and other expenses. This can be done by providing payslips or an employment contract.
  • Valid visa and passport: You will need a valid visa that allows you to stay in Germany for an extended period. Additionally, you will need a passport that is valid for the entire rental period.
  • SCHUFA credit report: This report shows your credit history and helps landlords evaluate your ability to pay rent on time. As a foreigner, you may not have a SCHUFA report, but you can provide a credit report from your home country or a letter from your employer confirming your financial stability.
  • Proof of residence: You will need to provide proof of your current residence, which can be done by providing a registration form (Anmeldebestätigung) from your local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt).
  • Rental history: If you have rented a property before, you can provide a rental history as proof of your rental experience.
  • German bank account: Many landlords in Germany require tenants to have a German bank account to set up automatic rent payments.

It's also worth noting that the rental market in Germany can be competitive, so having all the necessary documents ready can give you an advantage in securing a rental property.

Taxes + fees when renting a home in Germany

Utilities and Internet

You will also need to pay for utilities including rubbish disposal, electricity, heating and water. For an 85 m2 apartment, this will cost €246 per month on average. Unlike rent, the cost of these utilities are fairly consistent across Germany. Tenants in Germany are almost always responsible for arranging their own internet contract upon moving into an apartment, which will set you back €35 per month on average.

TV and radio tax

In Germany, every household must pay a fee to finance Germany’s public broadcasting service. The fee is charged per household and is currently set at €18.36 per month. The fee is charged irrespective of whether or not you watch German TV or listen to German radio. As the fee is charged per household, the fee can be split between tenants if you are living in a shared apartment.

Apartment deposit

When you rent an apartment in Germany, you will need to stump up a deposit. The deposit is used by the landlord to cover any damages you make to the property when living at the address. If there are no damages at the time of moving out, then you will receive the full deposit back in your bank account. Even though you will likely receive your deposit back at a later date, you still need to have this amount in savings in order to rent an apartment in Germany. The apartment deposit is usually equal to 1 – 3 months of rent. Therefore, if your monthly rent is €1000, your deposit will likely be between €1000 and €3000.

Furnishing

In Germany, it is common for apartments to be unfurnished. No kitchen, no appliances, no bed, no nothing! While short-term furnished apartments are increasingly popular amongst expats moving to Germany, long-term options are still largely unfurnished. As with many things, the cost of furnishing an apartment can vary greatly – however, with IKEA stores all around the country and a growing second-hand market through websites such as eBay Kleinanzeigen, it can be done relatively cheaply. When moving into an apartment in Germany, you often get the option of purchasing furniture (including the kitchen!) from the previous tenant – this can be a much more practical option than trawling around homeware stores for your furniture.

What is an Anmeldung and how do I get it?

In Germany, Anmeldung is the process of registering your address with the local authorities. It is a legal requirement for all residents to register their address within two weeks of moving to a new city or town. Anmeldung is important because it allows the government to track who is living where and for how long, and it is also required for many other important tasks, such as opening a bank account, obtaining a tax ID number, and signing a rental contract. To get an Anmeldung as a foreigner that has just moved to Germany, you will need to bring the following documents to your local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt):

  • Your passport or national ID card
  • Your rental contract or proof of address (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) from your landlord
  • Your visa or residence permit (if applicable)

Once you have submitted these documents and completed the registration process, you will receive a certificate of registration (Meldebescheinigung) which serves as proof of your registration and address in Germany. It is important to keep this certificate safe as it may be required for many other official procedures in the future.

While using these resources can help you find the right accommodation in a German city, it's important to be aware of scams and to carefully review any rental agreements before signing. It's also important to note that the rental market in Germany can be competitive, so it's recommended to start your search early to give yourself enough time to find the right place.

Online groups and forums for networking

In addition to these resources, it's also a good idea to network and seek advice from other expats and locals in Germany. You can join online groups and forums, or attend local events and meet-ups to connect with others who have gone through the same process. With a little patience and persistence, you'll find the right place to call home in no time!

Some online groups and forums where international professionals can network to find housing resources in Germany include:

  • Toytown Germany
  • Internations
  • Expat.com
  • The Local Germany
  • Expatica
  • EasyExpat
  • Just Landed

These platforms provide a space for expats and international professionals to connect and share information about housing resources, as well as other aspects of living and working in Germany.