If you are looking for a place to rent in Germany for the first time, this may be a challenge for you whether you are a student, an employee or a family. Therefore, I decided to write about this process to guide you step by step. First thing to know about the housing market in Germany is that there is a high demand of flats/houses and not enough supply to meet the demand. The basic process of renting a place goes like this: You search for houses to rent then you reach out the landlord and reveal your interest, the landlord gives an appointment to you and to anyone who is interested in renting the place (which can be around 30-50 people) for seeing the house. When the date comes, everyone shows up with the requested documents and if they really want to rent the house after a short tour, give those documents to the landlord . The landlord chooses the right one and informs that person. It is a competitive process and you need to be well-informed.
Now, I will first mention how you can find rental places through internet and other ways before going into rent, contracts, registration and documents required to rent a house.
How to find a house for rent in Germany?
If you are already in the city staying with a friend or staying in a motel, you can find flat/house advertisements by following the local newspaper or the advertisement boards on the supermarkets. Along with that if you are looking for a house outside the city / country, you can find advertisements by contacting the real estate agents or looking at the sites on the Internet that are widely used. In either case, if you do not want to risk finding a place at the right time, it is best to start looking at the house 2-3 months before the date you want to find it, because landlords or real estate agents publish ads 2-3 months before the current tenants left the house and most of the times the house finds a new tenant a month before it is free. Professional real estate companies are really interested in you if you reach them by a mail or a call. But, you can also find house ads by yourself from Immobilienscout24, biggest house ads website in Germany, and other websites (such as Immonet or Immowelt). (I am writing a separate article on how to use Immobilienscout24)
What are the Documents Required to Rent a House?
In the process of finding a house, the number of people who will rent the house is one of the first factors that the landlord would look out to rent the house, it is important for landlord if you would rent the house alone, with your friend, with a family or even with children. Landlords in Germany makes a decision to rent you the house by evaluating number of people with regards to living area, for example if you are two people and the subject house is less than 50 square meters, landlords may prefer not to give the house someone alone. For that reason, it’s better if you look for houses bigger than 50 square feet if you are not alone. Also, if you want to live with others you need to ask if the house is WG(Wohngemeinschaft)-suitable, or you can look WG-shared-flats which has simpler processes than looking for a house on your own. Apart from this document(passports oof people who wants to rent the house), the documents that reveals your income level and your credit score are needed to show that they cover your house expenses. In Germany, some landlords and real estate agents can ask you for a Schufa document which is a kind of credit note. This document examines your past expenditures; records the data of your loans and prepares a report on your situation. The Schufa document / service is offered in different packages, also it can provide identity / information protection services and you can purchase these over the Internet (MeineSchufa), for a monthly fee. On your appointment day, landlords decide on who would rent the house based on these documents and the first impressions they receive from you. About first impressions, unfortunately I can say that they can be biased and rent you the house by looking whether you are foreigner or not. In fact, sometimes they don’t even return your mails or calls when you contact them if they figured out that you are a foreigner. There is not much to do about it, I just hope you would’nt come across such people.