Renting in Germany: 2 Things You Need to Know

Hello, friends! I hope that you’re having a good September so far. Right now in Germany, the autumn weather is officially here and I could not be happier!

Today I wanted to share the two big differences when it comes to renting in Germany compared to Canada. My renting experiences in Canada have been varied, so I know that everywhere you go there is always a chance that it could be different, but it’s good to be aware of the possibilities of what to expect if you’re planning on moving here.

The 3 Month Deposit

When you sign a Mietvertrag (rental agreement), your Vermieter/in (Landlord/lady) may ask you to pay, not only the first months rent, but also a 3 month deposit. If you are planning on moving here, when budgeting how much you need to save, make sure you look online in the area you are moving to and find something within your budget and then know you will need 4 months rent just to move in. Typing Mietwohnung Deutschland into a search engine will bring you to some helpful websites.

The other side of this, is that when you decide it’s time to move out, you need to give 3 months notice. Unfortunately, if you have to move out earlier, you are still responsible for the rent until the 3 months is up, just like if you were to terminate a lease agreement early, except you still have the choice of how long you want to stay.

To compare this to Canada, we’ve rented a house where the contract was only month-to-month, which was helpful for us when it came time to move. We also had a place that was originally a 1-year lease that we were able to negotiate down to 9-months. We weren’t sure what our future looked like and it seemed like a big commitment at the time. Given the rental market in most places, it’s probably not likely you would be able to renegotiate the length of a lease, but this particular house had been empty for some time so we were lucky. With both of these rental agreements, we paid 1 months rent as a damage deposit as well as the first months rent to move in.

Buying Your Own Kitchen

If you’ve never had to look into renting in Germany, it may surprise you that you may have to buy an entire kitchen for your new place. We were lucky enough to find a place with an Einbauküche (built-in kitchen), but that is not always the case. The reason behind this is that Germans really value being able to have everything in their home be their own, even if they don’t own the physical property. They can add their own style and customize to their needs. This is still an odd concept for me to wrap my head around, because how would you know that the next place you rent will work with the cabinetry layout from the previous place? Regardless, Ikea is never far away!

On top of possibly having to buy your kitchen (this also means appliances), you will probably have to purchase lighting as well. When we moved into our current place, there was space for 2 wall sconces in the hallway, 2 in the dining area, as well as overhead lights in the living and dining area. We (my husband) installed the new lighting we chose ourselves, but still, who knows if they would work in another home.

Don’t Be Like Me

With that said, Germans really pride themselves on, not only the interior of their homes, but also the exterior. Regardless of whether they rent or buy, most people always have beautiful flowers planted in flower boxes over windows, off of their Terrasse (deck), and in pots outside their front doors. People seem to respect this and, to my surprise, I have never seen flower pots vandalized or destroyed. So feel free to really make your new house abroad feel like a home. And don’t be like me and use your newborn child as an excuse to let things wither and die.

It’s really important to keep these 2 points in mind when budgeting for a move to Germany as they could be some of your biggest expenses during the moving process. But, like I mentioned earlier, each rental situation is unique.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment! I would also love to hear about any particularly different renting experiences you’ve had, wherever you’re from!

Thanks for reading!

8 thoughts on “Renting in Germany: 2 Things You Need to Know

  1. Very interesting Carmen I love reading about your experiences there in Germany. It is feeling like fall here too, just thinking that I have to get my apples from Billy and make some pies. Love Grama S

  2. Did you have to buy your own closets too? I have read that houses in Europe don’t have built-in closets.

    1. From what I saw with rental listings, there don’t seem to be too many places with closets. One of the places my husband looked at had absolutely no storage and we would have had to buy all of that. Thankfully, the place we are renting now actually has a big closet in each of the bedrooms! We got lucky, I think!

  3. Usually Germans staying in their rental places for many many years… so buying a kitchen, wardrobes, lighting etc is a long term investment for them
    I m German, but living in Canada.
    I owe a rental apartment in Germany which is rented out to the same women for 17 years now

    1. Thanks for sharing! I’ve heard that Germans tend not to move a lot. And the same goes with buying a house – they prefer to buy a house for life rather than plan to upgrade later.

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