Finding an apartment, shared room or a place for living in Germany is not easy however is one of the initial and important factors of your residency in Germany. Whoever immigrate to Germany regardless of nationality should be registered in an address as place of residency in Germany. 

What are residential options in Germany? 

Just Arrived

If you are student or have entered Germany for the first time under the conditions that you are not familiar with different parts of the city, having no friend or support to help you, finding a place for living could be difficult. Although it is the initial requirement for your administration registration in Germany that is needed for any type of residency. The address you also need for opening your bank account and is considered as your legal place of residency for all your correspondences and posting mails.

In these conditions, you can look for a temporarily residing place at your arrival and take this time to look for something more appropriate suiting your living conditions, either being a student or an employee.

Student’s Accommodation

As student you are normally offered by the university for renting a student room or a room in a dormitory. This can be one of the best options for you in both terms of cost and chances to finding a proper place for your living. As student it is not easy to find a single flat or house at first stage, unless you provide guarantees and financial support from your parents or sponsor to your landlord. From the perspective of administration requirements, it can be the easiest and fast way to get settled at university dormitory or a student room upon your arrival and get yourself registered. In the course of your study or after finishing your study you have better chances to look for your individual place of residency.  

Shared Room

Shared room in a flat or in a house with a family or another roommate(s) is one of the other popular ways of residing in Germany. This option is normally taken by students and young people who prefer to save part of their income through paying less cost for rent at the early years of their employment. By this option you have the possibility to meet new people or live with a German native speaker or another foreigner. It comes with less paperwork in terms of concluding different contracts for internet, telephone and electricity supply in the flat or house. Furthermore, getting a shared room can also be easier in terms of initial evaluation that the landlord or your roommate may conduct for grant of the room. The contract is normally concluded in the form of a sublease agreement (sublet) by the tenant who is already in the flat and has the main contract with the landlord. Having a personal meeting in the flat is recommended so that you get acquainted with the place and the person with whom you want to live with. You need to find yourself comfortable in the new place and also with the new roommate.

Student Housing

This can be a good option if you are student. The room is relatively cheap and you can find friends early. The house is normally close to campus and university. It is furnished with shared kitchen and bathroom and you do not need to arrange for the internet or electricity services. Student housing normally is organised by the student union that are also in charge of the social, financial and academic issues. Since there may be number of volunteers for these housing, it is better to take action in advance or register your name in the waiting list. There are also options with higher quality and price such as private housing or apartments run for universities. You should register yourself at this address (anmelden) as your home address at the local citizen office (Buergeramt).

Rent an Apartment or House

This option normally is available to families and people who are working in Germany with stable monthly income or have personal adequate financial fund. Depending on your financial conditions, you may be interested to rent a flat, apartment or house for yourself and for your family. Although finding a house can be relatively difficult in the cities. It is much easier to find houses in the countryside and apartments in the cities. In order to find the right flat, you can use different ways such as online searching in popular accommodation and real estate websites such as (immobilienscout24, immowelt, wggesucht) . You can also receive assistance and support of agencies that normally help you to find a suitable property against a commission. Your personal network can always be taken into account as a possibility for finding good offers. 

Staying in a Hotel or Hostel 

It is possible to temporarily stay in a hotel or hostel until you find your way in the city and a permanent place for your residency. It is not possible to register yourself in the address of the hotel or hostel, therefore you can not also start organising your administration mandates until you find a permanent place and register yourself. While staying in a hotel can be very expensive, living in a hostel is not also easy.  

Here is the list of website where you can look for a place for your temporary stay in a hotel or serviced apartment: booking, airbnb, acomodeo 

Getting an Apartment

Getting an apartment for yourself from the very beginning of your presence in Germany is not an easy task. You are not familiar with the city and need to prove that financially you can afford the rents for long term. Therefore it is not normally considered for students. However if you have moved to Germany by an employment agreement or for running your business, this option can be taken into account. However it requires lots of paper work and preparation and is hardly enforceable from the very first day of your arrival in Germany. Having an apartment for yourself will give you privacy and enough room for socialising however you should also prepare yourself for conduct of relevant paperworks to get the right services and making required supply available in the flat. The apartment as your home, shall also be used for registration of your address at Buergeramt.  

What documents are needed to rent a flat in Germany? 

1.Your Personal ID

Your German ID card in which type of your residency is verified. In some cases your passport may also be needed. 

2.Proof of Income

This is usually proven by providing your monthly salary payment reports or by your employment contract. If you own your business, depending on the fact that you receive monthly salary from your business or directly use the incomes, different documents could be offered. As a foreign student, it will be more difficult for you to get the apartment as you do not have any regular monthly salary and you are not employed. If you have a student job, it will also be limited to named working hours and may not fulfil rental requirements. As student if you can provide a guarantor who is residing in Germany and financially is reliable, you will have better chances to get the apartment.  

3.Schufa Statement

SCHUFA is credit score system (operated by a private company), that is linked to your German bank account and keeps track of your credit rating. Schufa is the abbreviation of “Schutzgemeinschaft für allgemeine Kreditsicherung”, which roughly translates to “general credit protection agency”.It is automatically created once you have registered an address and opened a bank account in Germany. If during the term of your residency you have any financial default or unpaid debts in your financial commitments records such as utility bills, credit cards, tax and fees, it will be recorded in your Schufa. By request in relevant websites such as meineschufa of different links for real estate (immobilienscout24, immonet, immowelt, wggesucht) you can ask for your Schufa personal score and report. A clear Schufa report is considered as a proof on your good command on your financial activity, what normally landlords take into account as a good sign for your commitment on payment of the monthly rents in the future.  

4.Confirmation of Landlord

Another document that may be required is a very German kind of document called “Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung” which is translated as a confirmation by your previous landlord regarding your clearance on payment of rents or a confirmation on being free of any rental debt. A general statement is enough in this respect, but if you have lived outside of Germany beforehand, it may be irrelevant or difficult to get.   

5.Guarantee for Rent

This is needed normally for students. The guarantee is provided by parents or your affiliated individuals who are financially reliable and state that in case the tenant could not pay the rents, they will pay for it. 

6.Your CV

Since, normally the number of requests for each flat is high and there would be various visitors on the day of appointment for checking out the flat, the landlord may provide a list of visitors in order to make its decision. By submitting your CV and other supporting documents, you will have better chances to get the apartment, as it is easier for the landlord to compare your conditions with the other applicants and take the final decision.