Housing and Accomodation

The costs of living accommodation in Germany are low and average rents in Munich are the highest in the country. Many Germans spend less than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Finding accommodation is one of the priorities for expats to ensure that they are living in a good area which is suited to their lifestyle.

There are different types of accommodation in the country from apartments to maisonettes, cottages, large family homes and studio apartments. Most people in the city centre do prefer to live in apartments and those wanting to rent property in the larger cities will find the costs of housing being set by the location.

The Majority of the expats moving to the country prefer to rent than buy especially if only in the country for a short period of time.

The properties that are advertised usually show what the size is, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as showing the energy rates.

Expats must be aware that when renting out unfurnished properties, they do come without curtains, light fittings and kitchen appliances.

Finding Property

Finding property to rent in the country can be quite simple compared to other countries and there are different ways in doing so – Online listings, help from an estate agent and newspaper listings.

Once you have found a property of interest, a viewing can be arranged with the particular landlord. With the competition that there is for housing, it is advised that expats show interest straight away as landlords usually determine the shortlist for rental applications. A three months period of rent may also need to be given as a security deposit

With the high demand of properties, the importance of getting all documents in order is vital. The documents expats will need when applying for property include the following

  • Application form – which is usually handed out at the viewing
  • Copies of photo ID and a valid permit
  • Income proof – i.e. wage slips
  • Certificate from previous landlords to ensure you have no rent due
  • Credit reports

If you have only recently arrived in the country and do not have any of these documents, you must indicate this on the application.

Renting property

To rent out property expats must be quick in order to secure a place to rent out. As previously stated expats should arrange to view a property with an estate agent or a landlord and if you are interested in the property the landlord should be made aware.

Tenants will need to give a security deposit of at least one month’s rent, however, some landlords may want rent for up to three months.

The tenancy agreement can be long in Germany where it is not common for landlords to request a lease period of up to two years. Expats renting out must ensure that the lease agreements shows all the details and the conditions are understood before the end of the initial contract period.

The majority of the tenancies are unlimited so tenancy agreements can only be ended by the landlord evicting the tenant through the courts or by giving three or more months notice. The notice is only accepted if the landlord has a good reason for it being given.

The limited contract also is in some properties where the landlord has a good reason for which they are not able to continue renting the property.

Other than this, tenants moving into the property should inspect and note down any damages to the property to ensure that the security deposit is given in full once the lease has ended.

Renting Costs

A two bedroom apartment can cost up to EUR 300 per month and this is usually higher in popular areas and larger cities.

Utility costs are generally not included in the rent, but this can be laid out before signing the agreements. The property will be described as Kaltmiete which means it is without heating and utilities. A warmmiete however, does include heating and other costs for other utilities and management fees.

Buying Property

Expats wanting to buy property will find that it is a straightforward process and the deals are handled generally by estate agents.

When you have found a property you want to buy, a contact will be prepared between the seller and buyer which will indicate the terms of the sale. A notary will then sure that the sale is carried out and that there are no problems.

There are additional costs involved in buying property in Germany which includes the agent fee, notary fee, property transfer tax and other administrative costs.