A few things to know for renting an apartment/room
A few important things to remember before renting an apartment in Germany
1. The landlords in Germany are in most cases not having a problem to rent their apartments unless it is in real shape or unless the house is very old etc. If you want to get a good quality apartment, you have to convince the landlords that you are the right person. The first thing to consider is that you have proof of regular income.
2. The landlords take very good care of their houses, clean them most case of themselves or through professionals. This in turn makes their expectations high when they rent them. They want the tenants to take care of their houses as if they were your own houses, and not just at the end of renting period, but that you do it on a regular basis.
3. The very basic thing in German constitution is the way you behave to people, the way you show respect to people who live here and their cultural expectations. Your landlord expects you to “behave” as it is “normal” in German culture. The landlords would be very kind to you in the way they explain the rules of the house, cleaning and so on. It might seem that they are not even looking after you but that is all wrong. They would observe every “new” tenant until they are sure that their house/apartment is in good hands.
4. It is extremely important that you understand good German before you rent a private apartment here. You need to understand what exactly is written in the contract that you are going to sign. Once you have signed it, it is expected that you follow the texts exactly as they are written, there is no way you can argue later “Oh, I didn’t know that…”.
5. Once you have signed a contract, the most important part of the contract starts. Its called “Wohnungsübernahme”, it is where the landlord hand over the keys to you. On this day, write down every single holes and cracks that you find in the apartment, make pictures from every possible angle and then the Landlord must be informed of all the “problems” that you have found. With this documentation, your exit from the apartment is safe.
6. Do you have a Haftpflichtversicherung (Third Party liability)? This costs about 30-40 Euro (even for whole family) a year and this will save you a lot of money in case you (or your kid) mistakenly break something in your apartment.
7. The landlords or Hostel-keepers are mostly not Harvard graduate or professors, a lot of them have only basic school education. Bottom line is, we can not expect them to behave the friendly most way as you might get from educated people in Germany, especially around the University. It is our responsibility, to get along with them; we can not expect them to get along with our way of thinking.
You might get frustrated with so many regulations that you have to watch for before getting a room. But these are the basic foundation of a developed country, a lot of regulations, and they don’t just exist on papers, people do follow them. And they expect you to follow them as well. It is not just about renting a house; it is true about every single thing that you face in regular life. Once we learn how to live up to these standards, our “problems” will disappear soon.
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