What you should pay attention to
There are many aspects that need to be taken into account already when searching for housing. First of all, you should think about what expectations and requirements you have for your new future home. Depending on that you should make sure that there are, for example, enough available parking spaces in the area, shopping possibilities as well as a good traffic connection. It may be advisable to ask neighbours what living in the building and the area is like.
Additionally, you should ask the landlord or broker about the following aspects:
- Additional expenses
- Minimum rental period
- Rent increases
- Heating system
- Cable- and phone connection
- Washing machine connection
- Energy pass
- Common areas and facilities
- Storage room
- Outside areas
When looking at the apartment or house you should also make sure that there are no wet or moist corners, that the windows are well isolated and that the property is generally in a good condition.
However, there are also requirements from the landlord’s side that you as a tenant need to fulfil. This is especially the case in areas where the housing market is highly competitive, like larger cities. In most cases, applicants are asked to fill out a “Fragebogen zur Selbstauskunft”, which is a form including basic information about you and your current living situation. It is important that you fill out this form truthfully, as inaccurate information may lead to a termination of your contract later. Additionally, you may be asked to get a statement from your current landlord, called “Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung”, which ensures that you have paid your rent on time in the past and that you do not have any remaining debt. Finally, it is often required to hand in a “Schufa-Bonitätsauskunft”, which is a statement about your creditworthiness. You can simply request this document online. All documents should be collected in an application folder to bring to the viewing of the flat.
Many people decide to hire a broker when searching for housing in Germany. In this case, a provision needs to be paid to the broker, when a rental agreement is signed. Usually, the provision equals approximately two rents plus tax. However, since the introduction of a new regulation called “Bestsellerprinzip” it is now only required to pay provision when you actually hired the broker and not when the apartment is rented out through a broker.