Berlin has thousands of beautiful apartments to suit every taste and budget but finding one that meets your needs can be a complicated process. With more and more people moving to the capital city, apartments are in higher demand than ever before and finding a flat requires a bit of work and persistance. There are several house hunting websites in Germany designed to make your search for the perfect apartment as stress free as possible but before you look at them there are some factors you should keep in mind.
Finding the right flat
If you are considering moving to the capital there are various ways to rent an apartment in Berlin and you will quickly become familiar with the terms WG, untermieten and mieten.
A WG or Wohngemeinschaft, is essentially a flatshare but it is not just for students. The rent is often lower as it is split between several people. If you are new to the city it can also be a good way to meet people in Berlin but if you opt for this route you will need to be available to attend interviews with those already living in the flat.
Untermieten is the German term for subletting. If for example, students go away on erasmus for a year but want to keep their flat for when they return to Berlin, they often seek a subletter. This is usually for a short period of time, from one month to a year.
Subletters generally sign a contract with the main occupant of the apartment, not the landlord. Make sure to read over any contract before you sign it. If you don’t speak German ask a native speaker to look over it to make sure everything is in order.
Subletters do not have the same rights in the apartment as the main renter and in the event of something going wrong, they are legally in a weaker position to fight their case.
To rent an apartment directly from a landlord, this is the term you need to look out for. Renters should be aware of the terms warmmiete and kaltmiete. Warmmiete means the total amount of rent paid including utility bills whereas kaltmiete is simply the amount for rent and everything extra still needs to be added on.
Kaution and Provision
It is also important to know that there is a difference between a Kaution and a Provision.
A Kaution is a deposit that will be returned once everything is in the condition you found it in and none of the conditions of the contract were breached.
A Provision is a type of commission fee paid to the agency that is advertising the apartment or house and it is not returned to the renter.
Five websites to help you find a flat in Berlin
As the name suggest this is a site to assist those searching for a room in a Wohngemeinschaft. Users can also look for one bedroom apartments or studios aswell as apartments with several rooms and houses. You can filter searches by area and price and if you are looking for a room in a WG you can see how many men and women live in the apartment.
This website is similar to WG-Gesucht, while the name implies it is only for students there are also rooms available for those who are not currently in full time education. The website also allows users to search for apartments and houses and specify factors such as price range, location, size of apartment and the earliest move in date.
Woloho is a weekly newsletter that updates its subscribers on job advertisements, love, friendship and apartments. The newsletter does not have as many subscribers as the amount of visitors on WG Gesucht. This means that the adverts don’t receive as many applicants as adverts on other sites and you might have a better chance of getting a response. This the newsletter is mainly for subletters.
City Wohnen is a website for short-term, furnished apartments in Berlin. Users can specify whether they would like their apartment to be in the front of the back of the building, on the top floor or with a balcony, garden or patio. You can also refine your search to only include buildings with lifts.
Immowelt is one of the leading German property websites, with over 270 employees. It covers all house hunting needs from renting apartments to buying houses and building them. See also http://www.immonet.de/
Feature image: rental agreement form with signing hand and keys and pen via Shutterstock. Copyright: Ralf Kleemann