Advice for students: How to find a flat in Germany

The first step in enrolling for your studies is to register your address in Germany. This is the most extensive and perhaps also most difficult step during your first days in Germany!

For all steps to a successful enrollment you need your own address in Germany. A permanent place of residence is a prerequisite for a successful start!

How you want to live in Germany depends on your budget and your personal wishes. You can take advantage of a special offer for students, you can live with your friends in a shared apartment or you can easily find your own apartment for yourself.

Types of accommodation

Students usually have the choice between 3 types of accommodation for their education in Germany:

  • A place in the dormitory for students
  • A room in a shared apartment (WG)
  • Your own 1-room-apartment

Some students even have the possibility to live with close relatives, but this option is rather occasional.

What kind of accommodation is the best for foreign students?

In the dormitory

A good choice – especially for foreign students and guests – is a place in a dormitory. In a dormitory, students from the same culture meet many students and can have a conversation in the common language. This way, you will be able to catch up with student life very quickly and will certainly be able to celebrate a lot of great parties.

In a shared apartment

In a shared apartment (WG) you have the great advantage of living together with students from different countries. Most of the time you have at least one German flatmate and can therefore learn the national language very quickly. If you want to learn German faster than usual, you should look for a shared room.

In a separate apartment

In your own apartment you have a lot of space! You can learn whenever, how and wherever you want. There is great flexibility and it doesn’t bother anyone if you turn up the music too loud. But in your own apartment, however, it quickly gets boring, especially if you don’t live in the city centre. Then it’s hard to connect with other students in the city.

How do I get a place in a dormitory?

In most cases, you can apply for a room in a dormitory at the Studentenwerk of the respective university after your application.

This is how you proceed with your application for a place in a dormitory:

  1. Search for the Studentenwerk of your university (e. g.: Studentenwerk Berlin, Studentenwerk Hamburg, etc.)
  2. Search for the registration form
  3. Fill in and sign the registration form and return it to your host institution.

Advice: Fill in the form immediately after your application for study and send it as soon as possible!

Three to four weeks before the beginning of your studies you will receive an answer to your application. The answer usually includes information on when you can pick up the key for the room.

How to find a shared apartment in Germany

A shared room is a particularly good choice if you want to learn German quickly.

For your search for a shared room you should know that almost all rooms in Germany are privately rented. Therefore, most of the rooms can be found via private advertisements on the Internet. Take the chance and meet your future roommates in person! This is the only way to find out who they are and to “check” their personal preferences on how to live in harmony with each other.

There must be a shared basis for roommates, otherwise you might not enjoy your time being at home.

This is what you should do when you are looking for a shared apartment from private landlords:

  1. Go on one of the following websites: wg-gesucht.de or quoka.de or studenten-wg.de
  2. Search for a shared room that matches your budget
  3. Ask the landlords if they can give you an appointment for a visit.
  4. After the visit, you will usually be informed on the same day or withing the next few days and you can sign the contract for the shared room.
  5. Don’t pay the deposit and rent until you see the apartment. Ask your landlord to give you a valid phone number.
Don’t accept offers on the Internet that require you to pay in advance! Don’t pay money to anyone on the Internet who claims to reserve an apartment for you!

If you want a shared room from a rental service, you should proceed in the same way as you would if you were looking for your own apartment. Find more in the next section….

How to find a flat in Germany

Having an own apartment in Germany is great! You are free to invite friends to your place, you can have a lot of personal privacy and you do know that all the stuff is yours .

A shared room in a rental service or even your very own apartment for the duration of your studies makes you extremely independent of the personal preferences of private landlords.

That’s how you go about looking for an apartment:

  1. Go to google.de and type one of the words from the below list in combination with the name of the city:
    Example: Google-Search: “Wohnungsbaugenossenschaft + Frankfurt”; “Vermietung Berlin”
  2. Find an apartment that suits your budget (Warmmiete)
  3. Contact the landlord and ask for a viewing appointment
  4. It is important that you inquire about the Warmmiete with the landlord.

If you like the apartment, you can ask the landlord for an appointment to sign the contract.

It is important to tell the company as soon a possible, whether you want to take the offer or not.

  1. After the flat viewing you will usually receive a draft contract with payment details.
    In general, the contract is usually stamped and signed. Most of the time you have a only few days to pay the deposit and the first month’s rent.
  2. Go to a bank and pay the deposit and the first month’s rent
  3. The receipt is sufficient as proof of payment. This will assure you that you will have your apartment.
  4. Together you make an appointment to hand over the apartment
    Hint: Let the appointment be made as soon as possible. That’s how you save on hotel costs!
  5. With the handover of the apartment you sign the tenancy agreement and get the key to your new home.

Ask the landlord to give you a Wohnungsgeberbestätigung. You will need this for your registration at the Bürgerbüro.

Once you have received your apartment, you can almost effortlessly move on to your next steps towards enrollment. It is now important that you officially register your address in Germany. This is absolutely necessary in order to be able to start studying in Germany.

Registration of your address in Germany

As soon as you have received your apartment, you have to register as a resident in Germany. Without registration, you cannot apply for membership in a health insurance fund and you cannot start your studies.

That’s how you do it:

Ask your landlord to give you a confirmation (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung – Step 2).

You will need this confirmation to register with the Citizens’ Office in your city.

Important advice for finding accommodation in Germany

Search Keywords for Google Housing Search
Terms: Warmmiete und Kaltmiete
What is the meaning of Untermietvertrag?
What is the meaning of Zwischenmietvertrag?

Furniture for your apartment

Certainly you would now like to furnish your apartment comfortably. You now have the opportunity. Just look at the most popular German-speaking search engines for cheap furniture. Or check out some good offers on the bulletin board in your university.

Here you will find good offers for apartment equipment

  • Ebay Kleinanzeigen (extern)
  • Google: “Kleinanzeigen” + “your city”
  • Bulletin board at your university (e.g. library, mensa)
  • Facebook, search for second-hand groups in your city

Note: Do not pay until you see the item yourself and know that the deal is in fact real. Don’t transfer money to people you don’t know!

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|| Last change: 26-05-2018
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