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Renting an apartment in Germany as a student can be a bit challenging

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

Renting an apartment in Germany as a student can be a bit challenging, but with the right information and steps, it can be done successfully. Here are the instructions to help you rent an apartment in Germany.

Step-by-step guide how to rent a student apartment:

PHNX Hamburg Student Library
PHNX student library (© Deep Digital)
  1. Determine your budget: Before you start looking for an apartment, it's important to determine your budget and what you can afford. This will help you narrow down your options and avoid overspending.

  2. Research different neighborhoods: Research different neighborhoods and their proximity to your school, univrsity or workplace. You may want to consider the cost of living, public transportation, and safety in the area.

  3. Use online platforms: There are several online platforms that list apartments for rent in Germany, such as ImmobilienScout24, WG-Gesucht, and Immowelt. These platforms allow you to search for apartments based on location, budget, and other criteria.

  4. Contact the landlord or property management company: Once you've found an apartment that fits your needs and budget, contact the landlord or property management company to schedule a viewing. During the viewing, inspect the apartment thoroughly and ask any questions you may have.

  5. Submit your application: If you decide to apply for the apartment, you'll need to provide the landlord with a complete application that includes your personal information, proof of income or guarantor, and any references. The landlord will then review your application and determine if you're a good fit for the apartment.

  6. Sign the lease agreement: If your application is approved, you'll be asked to sign a lease agreement. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of the lease agreement before signing it.

  7. Pay the deposit and first month's rent: Once you've signed the lease agreement, you'll need to pay the deposit and first month's rent. This payment is usually due before you move in.

By following these steps, you can successfully rent an apartment in Germany as a student. That said, the common practices found in Germany are a bit out of date making the whole process long and sometimes frustrating.

Difficulties and challenges when dealing with German landlords:

  • Most landlords require you to submit a lot of paperwork, sometimes asking for signed originals by post. This includes a biography ("Selbstauskunft") as well as a Credit Check ("Schufa Auskunft") as well as bank statements of you or the guarantor.

  • You can easily wait 2-6 weeks for a reply from the agent or landlord after submitting all documents.

  • Landlords often ask for the same documents from multiple potential tenants and later only pick one. This can be frustrating, specially if you were under the impression that you had a deal. If the landlord keeps you in the waiting loop for several weeks and then decides to rent the flat/room to someone else then you need to start your search all over again. Make sure you have a signed tenancy agreement by both parties before you stop your search.

  • In Germany the Service Charges are calculated by the property manager at the end of the year. It is therefore not uncommon that you will receive an additional bill for your heating and/or water consumption when you least expect it. Landlords do charge a downpayment on the estimated service charges ("Betriebskostenvorauszahlung") but there is no guarantee that this amount will be enough to cover your consumption.

  • Most German landlords do not allow pets.

  • In most cases, unless you rent in a student house, you need to sign a contract with a local internet provider in order to get internet. Make sure you get on top of this as soon as possible, since you might have to wait up to 4 weeks for your connection. Most internet providers ask for a 2 year commitment with no break clause. You will most likely also need a German bank account in order to set up the required direct debit.

Renting an apartment made easy:

  • Rent from an international student housing operator, who will understand your needs best. Most offer all-inclusive rents with super-fast internet.

  • Some operators ask for a minimum 6 month or 12 months commitment without break clause. A few offer truly flexible options where you decide how long you want to stay.

  • Here are some of the student housing operators in Germany: PHNX, Stuart, the Fizz, Smartments, Navale, Basecamp, Youniq, TSH.

Why international students rank PHNX as one of the best student house in Hamburg?
  • Great location with direct access to one of Hamburg's main train stations.

  • Walking distance to TUHH and only 20 minutes away from the main universities in Hamburg

  • All inclusive rents (no additional costs or surprises)

  • A dedicated 100 Mbs internet download speed per customer (Ask4)

  • No credit check, deposit or guarantor needed

  • Flexible contracts starting at 1 month

  • Pet friendly

  • Fully furnished and fully equipped apartments

  • All apartments have their private bathroom and kitchenette

  • Large coworking and study areas within the building

  • Onsite restaurant and bar

  • A strong community with regular networking events

  • Student Housing managed like a 5* hotel with a staffed reception

  • Included in the rent is a professional cleaning of the student apartments every 2 weeks comprising change of bedding and towels

  • Smart TV in room

  • Awarded as best interior design

  • Monthly payment via credit card, debit card, bank transfer or paypal

Check out PHNX for more details and availability.


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