Accommodation

There are a variety of living spaces on the German housing market: from studio apartments (Einzelappartements, which are self-contained living units consisting of a room with a kitchenette, toilet and bathroom) to flats with a kitchen, bathroom and separate living room and bedroom(s) of various sizes, to single-family houses.

Most flats in Germany are rented unfurnished, which means you have to furnish the flat completely with your own furniture. This may mean that you need to provide window coverings and light fixtures as well as the kitchen furnishings (yes, even the sink, as well as the counters, and appliances), although sometimes you can purchase these from the previous tenant and sell it to the next one. Sometimes flats are also offered partially furnished, eg a flat with only a kitchen (EBK).

A popular option – especially for young people – is to live in a shared flat (WG), where you share the flat and rental costs with other people. And you can quickly meet new people in a WG. In WGs, each person has their own bedroom. The bathroom, kitchen and living/dining room are shared. WGs usually involve “casting calls” when there are spots available, to ensure that new members are a good fit for the existing tenants.

In Germany, rentals are typically listed with a “cold” and “warm” rent. The “cold rent” (Kaltmiete) refers to the base rental costs without additional service costs (such as heating, water, waste collection, etc). The “warm rent” (Warmmiete) is the cost inclusive of the essential services and is paid directly to the landlord. As these service costs increase, the landlord may need to increase these costs (Nebenkosten) or present an itemized invoice at the end of each year. Electricity, internet and broadcasting (Rundfunk) costs are paid directly to the providers. The broadcasting fee is mandatory by flat.

When you rent a flat, you almost always have to pay a deposit. The deposit is an amount of money that you pay to the landlord before you occupy the flat. The deposit can also be in the form of a guarantee (usually by a third party who would be responsible for paying any outstanding debts). The deposit may not be more than three times the monthly cold rent and must be deposited in an interest-bearing bank account. After moving out, you as the tenant will receive the deposit back, including the interest. The repayment can take several months.

The rental agreement is an important document that regulates all the details of your tenancy. Make sure that all the terms of the tenancy are in writing. Additional verbal agreements can be challenged later. For the rental agreement, you must provide your landlord with certain documents, such as proof of income or employment contract. A handover protocol document records the condition of the flat when you move in. Read the handover report carefully. You can be held liable for damages not recorded in the handover report when you move out. Be sure to read the rental agreement. It is most likely in German, but you will be held liable for all details in the document.

When you move into a new flat, you must register for electricity services. We recommend that you first compare local electricity providers before choosing a suitable one. With many providers, you can register using an online form and obtain an electricity services contract. You will pay a monthly flat rate and receive a detailed bill of your electricity consumption every year.

If you wish to sublet all or part of the space you rent to a third party, you need permission from the landlord to do so.

Note: subletting without permission can be cause for extraordinary termination of the lease without notice.

All people moving into a residence in Germany must register at the Local Residents' Registration Office within two weeks.

Following are a selection of websites where you can find available housing. Please note that in some cases, you may have to pay a commission.

Flats, studio apartments, houses

Shared flats (Wohnengemeinschaft WG)

Looking for a place in a shared flat can sometimes be a long process, as many flats go through a “casting” process before deciding on a new flatmate. Don’t get discouraged!

Flats offered on Facebook

Short-term housing

If you are only staying in Göttingen for a short time or have not yet found a flat, you can spend the first few days in a guest house, a hotel or a holiday rental. However, these are considerably more expensive than a flat that you rent for a longer period of time.

Contact:

The International Office
Welcome Centre

Von-Siebold-Straße 4
37075 Göttingen

Email: welcome@uni-goettingen.de
Phone: +49 (0)551 39-21321

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