8 Feb 2012

Renting a place

Where to begin?
Looking online is always a good idea, when it comes to price comparisons and familiarizing yourself with the availability in the region you want to live. Just Google "Wohnung mieten" and several websites like Immowelt and Immobilienscout24 will pop up. 

Different costs
You will notice that there are several different cost blocks in the rent: Heizkosten (heating costs) or Nebenkosten (additional costs). Ensure that you make a difference between Warmmiete and Kaltmiete. Kaltmiete means the pure renting cost, without any additional costs like water, electricity, heating or garbage collection. Always look at the Warmmiete, as this shows you your total investment in the appartment per month. 

Normally, the Nebenkosten are just an average amount that you pay per month. At the end of the year the Vermieter (landlord) is coming up with all the invoices and will either return some money (not very likely) or make you pay additionally. This all depends on how you use the water, electricity and the other additional amenities.

In rare cases, the Vermieter will offer you an all-inclusive monthly rate. Take it, if it seems reasonable, then you don't have to worry so much about the water...

Consider yourself lucky if you manage to avoid the brokers. Just for drafting the contract, they charge the Mieter (the tenant, i.e. you) a huge amount of money. When I was looking for a place to stay I had to pay almost 2.5 monthly rents only to the broker!
Look for places that somewhere in the description say Provisionsfrei, meaning there is no broker.

You will also be asked to give 2 or 3 monthly rents as a Deposit or Kaution. This is normally handled through a savings account in a bank, because you are entitled to get interest rate for this frozen money. The money can only be withdrawn when both parties agree. Every bank offers this service: Mietkautionkonto.

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