There are various German accommodation tactics to finding accommodation within German borders. The quickest and most popular is through an ‘Immobilienhändler’, or German real estate agent. However, this can result in considerable personal expense. Estate agent firms can charge, by law, two months basic rent alongside sales tax for the accommodation they locate for you.
Their cost is wholly separate from any deposit that you will be required to pay the landlord upon signing the lease, the deposit can be in excess of three months rent – not including the rent for the first month. Some landlords will allow these payments to be paid up in instalments.
A further popular German accommodation tactic is scouting through newspapers or advertisements, however you will need to be fast if you notice an attractive property as it may already be snapped up. Language barriers may also hamper communication with the property owner.
German Accommodation Tactics : Word of Mouth
A further method is to find accommodation through word of mouth. You may have co-workers or friends or colleagues who know of a house, flat or otherwise being vacated by a departing co-worker. They may also know of the best places to live or look for housing.
Dedicated real estate websites exist, although the majority will be in German, there will be certain sites with English translations. You can browse properties on these websites by price, size or location; some sites also offer a ‘virtual tour’.
Deposits are usually returned, often with interest, when you leave the property so long as the living areas are in the same condition compared to when you originally moved in.
German Accommodation Tactics : Inventory
It’s a good plan to conduct an inventory of everything within your new accommodation alongside any marks, stains or deficiencies. This will provide you and your landlord with some degree of protection.
Summarising various checklists from various sources, when renting property in Germany:
• Avoid loud noise between 10pm and 7am, also between 1pm and 3pm, Monday through Saturday and all day on Sunday.
• Only wash and dry laundry in designated areas.
• Leave cars, bikes and prams in their designated areas only.
• Always obtain permission if keeping a pet.
• Only install satellite dishes or fittings under landlord permission.
• Inform immediately of any gas, water or electrical damage.
• During any period of absence, always lock all doors and windows.
• No misuse of balconies. BBQ’s and open fires are strictly forbidden.
• Under no circumstances should anything be poured or thrown from windows or balconies.
• Flowerboxes and the likes need to be fixed to the windowpane and be firmly secure. When watering plants, your neighbours must not be affected.
For more information on German Social Security, German Payroll, Working in Germany or Contracting in Europe visit the Euro Accountancy & Finance Services website.