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Living in EuropeAccommodationGermany


Accommodation in Germany

As there is a shortage of housing in Germany, accommodation is often expensive, at least in many larger towns and cities. You often may have to spend 40% of your monthly salary/fellowship on rent. This is particularly true for the kind of accommodation visiting researchers usually require: furnished or at least partly furnished, readily available and available on a short lease. The relationship between supply and demand, particularly in towns where there are large numbers of students, fluxuates radically over the course of the year. At the beginning of the semester, the demand for accommodation is particularly high.

We especially recommend that you to start looking for accommodation for yourself and your family in Germany as soon as possible; preferably several months before you begin your stay.


Regardless of the type of accomodation you choose, it is important for you to understand the leasing agreement you sign and what is included. One crucial aspect when searching for accomodation is the difference between "Kalt- and Warmmiete". "Kaltmiete", or rental costs without utilities, services and extras, only covers the rent for the flat. In contrast, "Warmmiete" includes the utility costs, services and extras that are required by your landlord. Make sure to know what is included in your "Warmmiete" and what is not so that you can open accounts with service providers for any utilities not covered by your rent.

Furthermore, it is not always immidiately apparent what type of rent an advertisment has included, so if it is unclear, make sure to find out before signing any contracts.

It is often worth reading the advertisements in local newspapers and checking notice boards at your university for accomodation offers. You can also post your own advertisement for a room or flat search on some accomodation websites, in local newspapers or on notice boards. Furthermore, you can enlist the help of a real estate agency to find accommodation. Please note that from 1 June 2015, real estate agent commissions must only be paid by those looking for flats if they hired the agent themselves. In all other cases, these services are to be paid by the landlord. A list of real estate agents in your place of residence can be found in the Gelbe Seiten (Yellow Pages) (enter 'Immobilienmakler' and the name of the town).

Also keep in mind while looking for accomodation that sometimes people unfortunately use accomodation platforms to try to trick people out of money, so make sure to read advertisements carefully and use a bit of caution, especially in cases where payments or personal documents are requested in advance. Foreigners urgently looking for an accomodation are particularly vulnerable to these scams, so we advise you to start your search early in advance and contact your future university or research centre to ask if they have internal resources that can provide help or if they have any tips to keep you safe while looking for your new home.

Common Abbreviations for the Search for Accomodation

When looking for accommodation in Germany, you will quickly discover that advertisements contain a lot of abbreviations. A list of abbreviations is available here.

Registration Requirements

Everyone who becomes resident in Germany is required to register their address with the authorities. It is also a requirement to register a new address following a move within Germany and to deregister at the registration office (Meldeamt) as a resident when leaving the country.