The pursuit for preferred German accommodation has only just started after locating a favoured apartment or flat. However, the end is somewhat further away.
In order to search for German accommodation efficiently, it is important to know the terminology and practices used by those looking for accommodation and those working in the German housing market. If you are searching for housing with two bedrooms alongside a living room and dining room then you are technically looking for a Vier Zimmer (or ‘Four Room’) home. Toilets, bathrooms, kitchens, halls and landings are not included in the room count with furnished apartments being extremely rare. Furnished flats and houses are considerably steeper in cost, often over double the cost of an unfurnished lodging.
German Accommodation : Everything Including the Kitchen Sink.
Unfurnished apartments in relation to German accommodation are literally just that; completely and utterly unfurnished. There are no closets or built in cabinets or even lighting fixtures. You nearly always have to buy everything; cookers, stoves, fridges, freezers, shelving, wardrobes, beds, tables, curtains, chairs, lights, carpets, curtain rods; these are all your problem.
It is often advised that you seek the services of a legal advisor or lawyer before signing any lease. Expatriates often speak fluent German, but the leases can be overly long, complicated and steeped in legal jargon. Hidden pitfalls, such as annual rent increases, can often be veiled within the terms and conditions.
There may also be situations where you are responsible for things outwith the lease for your German accommodation. The main attributes of a ‘landlord-tenant’ relationship can be found in the codified law. There may not be any mention in the lease of notice periods, actions in the event of non-payment of rent or repair or renovation work, but the law fully covers all these aspects.
German Accommodation : No Termination
Any agreement to rent German accommodation for a fixed term cannot, except for under truly extraordinary situations, be cancelled or terminated. Your payments bound for the landlord, made on a monthly basis, are paid in two parts. The first is the rent, which remains unchanged for the duration of the lease. The second part is the ‘Umlagen’ or ‘Nebenkosten’, covering items such as heating, stairwell cleaning, bin pick ups, water, factoring fees, grounds keeping and the landlords property tax. The Umlagen can increase depending on cost hikes in relation to these attributes. Some items are often paid separately, such as heating.
For more information on German Social Security, German Payroll, Working in Germany or Contracting in Europe visit the Euro Accountancy & Finance Services website.