Zimmer/Wohngemeinschaft (Room/Shared accommodation)
The German word “Wohngemeinschaft”, often abbreviated “WG”, can be translated as a shared accommodation. It usually involves several, usually unrelated people living together in one apartment or house, sharing kitchen and toilet/bath facilities. Places in “Wohngemeinschaften” are often rented out as rooms, or “Zimmer”. This housing type is particularly popular among students, as it is usually less costly than renting their own apartment. The social life in shared apartments can take different dimensions: In a “Zweck-WG” people are only living together for economic reasons and are not interested in personal relationships with their roommates. “Nicht-Zweck-WGs”, on the other hand, the focus is specifically on those social relations between roommates. This often involves regular joint activities and a stronger interest in getting to know each other. Usually, there is one person who functions as the main tenant, or “Hauptmieter” and has a contract with the owner of the apartment or house. Upon permission of the landlord, this person then rents out rooms to other people as “Untermieter” and establishes a contract with them, which is called “Untermietvertrag” in German. However, in some cases it is also possible that all members of the “Wohngemeinschaft” are main tenants in the contract with the landlord or that the landlord sets up contracts directly which each individual member. For each option, different rules and regulations apply, which are important to be aware of.