Tips for Renting An Apartment in Germany

Relocating to Germany for work can be an exciting opportunity for many employees and their families.  The moving process, however, has proven to be daunting and stressful.  Rather than buying,most expats look into renting a house or apartment in their destination city. However, with renting in foreign countries come unexpected surprises, so make sure to do proper research well before you relocate to Germany to avoid disappointment.  

Here are a few tips to help make renting an apartment in Germany easier:

·     Use the help of a rental agency.  Don’t bother navigating German real estate alone!  There are plenty of companies you can employ, for a small fee. They’ll  do the searching for you.

·     Ask a friend to help you with navigating through real estate marketplaces such as They may provide some pages in English, however, the majority of apartment descriptions are only available in German.

·     Be prepared for the deposit. Landlords often ask for three month’s rent as a security deposit. Ask your landlord for a receipt once the funds have been transferred.

·     Prioritize your initial inspection.  Landlords usually look to place any damage fees on their lessees, so be sure you’re aware of any wear and tear on your new home before moving in.

·     Understand what you’re signing.  Keep a signed copy of your contract in your native tongue to avoid confusion down the line.

·     Make sure your deposit is submitted properly.  Although illegal in Germany, landlords will sometimes put your security deposit in personal accounts.  In the event this occurs,you could lose your entire deposit regardless of whether or not you held up your end of the contract.

·     Get renters insurance. Signing contracts in a foreign country allows you to be taken advantage of.  Rather than risk having to pay for something that you didn’t understand, pay a small monthly fee to prevent losing your deposit.

·     Don’t waste money on a fully furnished apartment.  Not only are they difficult to come by, they’re also far more expensive than those that are not furnished. You want to feel at home and add your own personal touch to your new apartment.

·     Be aware of the difference between kaltmiete and warmmiete. Kaltmiete is the basic rent while warmmiete is the rent inclusive of water, heating, trash removal and any other service that may be needed for the property. Electricity is generally not included and you will have to find an energy provider on your own.

·     Portals such as  can be used to compare electricity, gas, phone and internet prices. This is helpful, as it ensures that you know the best deals in your area when it comes to utilities.

Do you have some more tips for your fellow expats?  Join the conversation!


Saskia Petz

Tanja Traut

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