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Information for Tenants

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Here you can find some important information on tenancies in Germany. The Welcome Center will be glad to give you further information or advice. 

Rental Contract

Before moving into an apartment you usually sign a contract with your future landlord. By signing the contract you enter into a legally binding agreement and should therefore read it carefully before signing, including the fine print. Purely verbal rental agreements are rather uncommon in Germany.

The contract should include the following information: basic monthly rental charge ("Kaltmiete"), monthly additional costs ("Nebenkosten" - such as garbage removal, water, taxes and, in some cases, heating and hot water), starting date and duration of the rental period (in case of fixed-term contracts), notice period for open-ended contracts (usually 3 months), the tenant’s rights of use (basement, common areas, garden etc.), and information on renovation obligations before moving out (professional carpet cleaning, painting etc).

Security Deposit

It is common in Germany for a landlord to ask for 1 or 3 months’ rent as a security deposit. The money is put in a savings account for you and is paid back in full when you move out unless you have damaged the apartment or have not fully paid your rent. The maximum permissible deposit is three months rent.

Hand-over Protocol for Rented Apartments

Any existing deficiencies in the flat should also be noted so that you will not be held responsible when moving out. Under German legislation, it is permissible to keep small pets (guinea pigs, caged birds, rabbits and hamsters). If you wish to keep cats or dogs, you should discuss this with your landlord in advance.

Landlord Confirmation Form

You are required to present a landlord confirmation form ("Wohnungsgeberbestätigung") when registering your residence at the Citizens' Services Center. 

Commission Fee for Real Estate Agents

Since 1 June 2015, there is a new regulation in Germany concerning the assignment of real-estate agents. He/she who assigns the agent has to pay the commission fee.

Usually, the landlord assigns an agent to act as a broker of his property. According to the new regulation, tenants only have to pay the commission fee if they explicitly assigned an agent to find suitable accommodation for them. If the agent draws on stocked objects, the tenant does not have to pay the commission fee.

List of Abbreviations for Apartment Search

In many advertisements for vacant apartments you may find a whole lot of abbreviations that you may not yet have heard of. Therefore, we have compiled a list of such abbreviations with explanations for your information.

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