Rent a flat in Berlin – It all starts here

The key to a good settlement is to find & rent the perfect flat in Berlin to live in. I would say it’s the first thing you have tick off your list along with finding a decent job. Competition has grown considerably in the past few years as the city has attracted more and more people. It’s not as easy as it used to be. Here are a few tips to stay ahead of the wave.

Rent a flat in Berlin

Renting a flat in Berlin : Mission impossible ?

Finding a flat in Berlin has become increasingly difficult the past years due to the general gentrification in many parts of the city. Rents are have also gone up due to the renewal of the city since the beginning of the 1990’s.  So if you have heard it is very easy to find a flat in Berlin, you might be disappointed.

It is however somewhat still easier than in other cities in Europe like Paris or London.

With a little bit of patience (between 2 weeks and 2 months depending on your money/luck/connections) and organization you should be able to find a flat in Berlin. I will only cover here how to find your own flat to rent  in Berlin. If you want more information about finding a roommate or a flat share, please go to the dedicated page this way.

If you somehow have the means to buy your own flat instead, i’ve also made a guide to buy an apartment in Berlin this way, based on my experience.

Hunting the perfect nest

The ubiquitous platforms

Once you have found the areas you would like to settle in, there a different ways to find the precious gem. There are of course, a few dedicated websites. Those are practically unavoidable.

Immobilienscout24, Immonet and Immowelt are sites with a lot of serious offers. I’d recommend creating an account on all 3 of them to receive daily updates about offers with your search criteria (search agent).  Some offers are not on one and vice-versa. It’s easy and it’s quite important as it allows to be fast and be the first to reply to new inserts. Speed is key in Berlin.

Speed is key in Berlin

Be aware that most of those websites are offering unfurnished flats in Berlin, so i also made a little guide on the best ways to find furniture in Berlin here too.  Those ads are also using a lot of abbreviations to describe the flat. You can find at the end of this post a little glossary of abbreviations often found on those websites. It might come useful.

Estate management & housing agencies

It’s a little daunting for non-German speakers but it can pay off to go directly to those large players in the local market to find a flat in Berlin for rent.

These companies manage dozens or hundred of housing projects across the city and therefore often have their own listings. Some of if is to be found on other platforms, some other not.

Think social too

Another tip is to make sure to belong to as many expat related Facebook groups as possible where many offers are published everyday. It may give you access to offers you may never see on other platforms. It’s quite difficult to be refreshing your news feed in the hope of uncovering a gem, but the search function with the right keywords will generate relevant results in those groups too. If you master any other language than English, you can apply the same principle in french, spanish, italian, turkish, polish, etc groups. Some groups to consider:

English groups:

German groups

How much should i pay for a flat in Berlin anyway?

As a reference for rent price, here is a map made by ImmobilienScout in 2017 to show the average price depending on the location in the city along the Ubahn-Sbahn lines. It shows the average price of a 30-year-old 70m2 flat, without utilities (kalt-miete). In 2020, you can roughly apply a 1,5 ratio on top for closer to reality prices.

How much should i pay for a flat in Berlin

Another way to check is to look at the “Mietspiegel” (Rent mirror), which is a database run by the city, keeping track of prices across districts. Enter your street in the tool to check the rent prices.

You can check with cool tool as well. Enter your monthly net income and the size of your desired square footage. It will tell you how much of your income your will need to spend on rent, depending on location.

Quick notes about costs

As a rule, total costs are structured that way : Rent (Kalt Miete) + Running costs (Nebenkosten) + Utilities (Heizung & Strom).

In some cases, heating costs are included in the running costs when there is central heating in the whole building. Just be sure to include all costs when evaluating an opportunity. Remember that you will also have to open an electricity & gas contract on your own as well. It is usually not done by the landlord. More info on rent costs, cold or warm in this post.

Keep in mind, these prices don’t include the “opportunity costs” of getting a flat in Berlin. This means that since there is a harsh competition, actual prices may be higher than the theoretical ones.

What to do when the rent prices are too high?

Germany has pretty strong tenancy laws that favor tenants as a rule. If you feel like you have been screwed over by signing a contract, you can always battle your way to rent reduction too, especially if the price is not justified, regards to the Mietspiegel we just discussed. How to reduce your rent has been discussed in a dedicated post this way.

The golden road to finding a flat in Berlin

Several full-services agencies are also offering fully furnished rentals with an extra fee. They usually don’t make you pay anything until you sign the contract. Then the fee is included in the rent. The rent is higher than average but it does sometimes comes with cleaning & other services. This might a good solution for the first few months of your life in Berlin or if you come only for a short-time for a project or something. This is also a good solution to get around the evil circle of  “no-flat -> no anmeldung -> no bank account -> no-schufa -> no-flat” issue. Landlords don’t require SCHUFA records with those platforms.

They often speak English can make it easier for you if you need a fast solution to find a flat in Berlin. They often don’t require a SCHUFA record (or credit record)

A good solution to get around the evil circle of  “no-flat -> no anmeldung -> no bank account -> no-schufa -> no-flat” issue.

Flat hunting in Berlin: an allegory. 🙂

The typical process to apply for a flat in Berlin

I’ll be straight with you; finding the golden gem is only the start of the battle. You now need to prove to your future landlord that you are the perfect applicant for the square footage at hand. This is how the application process looks like usually.

1- Viewing the place

Coming early to see the flat you want to rent in Berlin. This almost always happens in groups. 4-5 at a time when it’s nice, 10 when it’s crazy. You usually only have a few minutes to make up your mind. This involves a fair amount of elbowing to get early in line. This is because landlords will often stop the viewing if they have received too many applicants already at this point.

2- Submitting the right documents

A true German experience necessarily involves a lot of bureaucracy. This is no exception :). The insert will probably mention what to bring so be aware of any specifics. As a rule, you should always bring the following to apply for a flat in Berlin.

  • A SCHUFA record. There is a dedicated post about this here. In a nutshell, it’s your credit record in Germany. It is used who all the time by landlords to check if you pay your bills on time. The trouble for newcomers in Germany: the SCHUFA record will be empty. You will need to find another way to prove your trustworthiness, as mentioned here.
  • A copy of your passport or ID card.
  • A legitimate proof of income. This is fairly straightforward for employees working with German companies: bring a copy of your last 3 payslips. As a freelancer, you will need to show your last Steuerbescheid, where it shows how much you made last year. Alternatively as a freelancer, you can also bring a recent bank account statement (German bank preferably) that shows how much savings you have on there.

3- Getting selected and paying deposit

If you have been picked (congratulations), you will now need to pay up 4 months worth of rent before you can move in. The first month is payable in advance, and the 3 others are deposit. This money is exchanged when signing the contract usually. Only after paying up this amount (sometimes in cash!), you are getting the keys to the place.

4- Entering the place and inspecting its current state

In the course of the process mentioned above, you will also be looking at the current state of the flat and document any damages. This is like a photograph of how the place looks like now, so it can be compared with how it will look when you leave again. This is called a “Übergabeprotokoll“. Make sure to look everywhere thoroughly.

Tips i always tell my friends when they move here

Get a SCHUFA record, or a work-around

When you have found the flat in Berlin, the pearl you would like to chase, that’s where the fun begins! If you have just arrived in Berlin, it’s going to be slightly more difficult. Most of landlords are asking this infamous SCHUFA record. However, some of them are happy to give you keys in return of a 2 or 3 months-rent-worth deposit. It is no doubt that you maximize your chance when speaking to them in German as it shows you have been/will be here for a long time. (Commitment powa!)

A useful paper that might help your case is a “Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung” (Roughly; free of rent-related debts certificate). It is a paper provided by your former landlord that states your left your tenancy without any debts. If you come from abroad, make one in English with this long German word as a title. It it not guaranteed every landlord will accept it, but it’s better than nothing. Here is one in German for reference.

Avoid the obvious hip areas

To be honest, it can be quite hard if you want a flat in the hippest corners of Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain. That’s because EVERYONE wants to move there. In the most wanted areas, it can be become quite intense and some potential tenants don’t hesitate to come to directly with all necessary papers (which you should probably do too) to directly take the flat if they are interested. It might be a good idea to do the same.  It’s also reasonable to expect mass group visits in those areas.

Go outside the Ring and find a place near an Sbahn station, you could zip to town quite fast. You may use this app to get an idea of how much commute this or that address would represent.

Become a Nachmieter

An alternative strategy might be to find people soon leaving their flat and looking for a Nachmieterto take it over, the new tenant starting a new contract with the landlord. This means that the shortlisting is done by the tenant and not an agency or a landlord. This might increase your chances to get a foot in the door and work your charm. Arguably, a strong financial situation is less important than a good character and a proven track record of reliability.

Find something short-term to look for something long term

Do not hesitate to first move in a temporary rental for the time you rent a flat in Berlin, it’s very easy to rent out a room for 2 weeks to some person going on holidays for example, or better a whole semester abroad. You’d usually have more luck with flat shares (guide on WGs this way) You’ll be then more efficient. You can of course go with AirBnB or consider Wimdu, which is a German competitor to AirBnB.

Use your phone and speak German if possible

Most landlords simply don’t bother to deal with the English language, just because they have enough applicants in general. Speaking German is a big big plus, you may try bring a German friend with you to help with first impressions. If there is a phone number in the ad, you may also want to try to call, in addition to writing. Who knows? That might help you place a joke in, something the person might remember when meeting them in person. Every bit helps.

Other things to know

As of October 2015, the owner of the flat has to pay any agency fees when renting out a flat and not the other way around. Good news for tenants.

Some of you did ask about some tips for renting flats for a week-end or a short holiday in the German capital. SiB is not a lifestyle blog to recommend you this district or that district. However, i feel like i’m always repeating the same things to my friends and relatives when they visit me or my family. This is why i have made a different post about renting holidays apartments in Berlin. I hope you find it useful too.

You will find that inserts have sometimes strange abbreviations to describe the place. Here is a list of the most common ones.

House types

  • Whg (Wohnung) = flat
  • App. (Apartment) = studio
  • DG (Dachgeschoss) = flat located under the roofs
  • WG (Wohngemeinschaft) = well, we explained that there 🙂
  • Maisonette =a flat with 2 floors
  • MFH (Mehrfamilienhaus) = multi-flat building
  • möbl. Zi. (möbliertes Zimmer) = furnished room
  • zur Miete = for rent; z. verm. (zu vermieten) = for rent
  • zum Kauf = for sale

Flat size – Layout

  • Zi (Zimmer) = Room(s), without bathroom & kicthen
  • qm or m2 (Quadratmeter)= square meters
  • ca. (circa) = approximately
  • Wfl. / Wohnfl. (Wohnfläche) = living space
  • Nfl. (Nutzfläche) = usable space
  • SZ (Schlafzimmer) = bedroom
  • Bad (Badzimmer) = bathroom

Rent & Utilities

  • Miete = Rent
  • jährl. (jährlich) = yearly
  • JM (Jahresmiete) = annual rent
  • MP (Mietpreis) = Rent price
  • mtl. (monatlich) = monthly
  • K or Kaut or KT (Kaution) = deposit, 3 MM Kaution =3 months worth of deposit
  • KM (Kaltmiete) = the base rent before nebenkosten
  • WM (Warmmiete) = cold rent plus all additional costs
  • NK (Nebenkosten) = usually water, sewage, trash collection, Hausmeister service, etc.
  • Prov. (Provision) = commission paid to the agent
  • Nachmieter : someone that is looking for a new tenant after him/herself
  • zzgl (zuzüglich) = excluding (internet or electricity for example)
  • incl./inkl. (inklusive) = including

Flat features:

  • EBK (Einbauküche) = kicthen with all necessary items
  • TG (Tiefgarage) = underground garage
  • Bad mit F (Bad mit Fenster) = bathroom with window
  • Parkett =  Hardwood floors
  • Laminat = Fake hardwood floors made with synthetic composites
  • Spülm. (Spülmaschine) = Dishwasher
  • WaMa (Waschmaschine) = Washing machine
  • möbl. (möbliert) = furnished
  • Aufzug = elevator
  • Blk. (Balkon) = balcony
  • Terr. (Terrasse) =Terrace
  • ISO (Isolierverglasung) = insulating glass
  • Kabel (Kabelanschluss) = cable TV – Internet
  • off. Kamin (offener Kamin) = fireplace
  • F-Raum (Fahrradraum) = bike storage room
  • AR (Abstellraum) =  storage room
  • Wanne = bath tub
  • Du  (Dusche) = shower
  • ren.-bed. (renovierungsbedürftig) = needs renovation
  • renovierte = renovated
  • kpl. san (komplet saniert) = totally renovated
  • AB / Altb. (Altbau) = older building (usually before 2nd world war, which is obviously rare in Berlin)
  • NB ( Neubau) =  new construction
  • Bj.  (Baujahr) = year of construction
  • EB  (Erstbezug) = first tenancy after renovation or new build
  • Hell / Helles = light
  • sonniges = sunny
  • mod. (modern) =  modern
  • grosszugig geschnitten = the layout is generous. there is a lot of space


  • HZ / Hzg. (Heizung) heating
  • FW (Fermwärme) district heating piped-in from a local heating plant
  • FB-Hzg. (Fußbodenheizung) = ETH (Etagenheizung) = in-floor / radiant heating
  • GZ-Hzg. (Gaszentralheizung) = central gas heating
  • E-Hzg. (Elektroheizung) = electric heating
  • ÖZ-Hzg. (Ölzentralheizung) = central oil heating
  • ZH (Zentralheizung) = central heating


  • EG (Erdgeschoss) = ground floor
  • 2 OG (2nd Obergeschoss) = Second floor
  • 1. Etage = First floor (i.e., one above ground level)
  • 2. Stock = Second floor
  • UG (Untergeschoss) = basement floor
  • VH (Vorderhaus) = front building
  • HH (Hinterhaus) = back building
  • PLZ (Postleitzahl) = Postal code
  • Seitenstrasse = side street
  • rhg (ruhig) = quiet
  • Uni-Nähe (Universitätsnähe) = near university
  • Umgeb. (Umgebung) = area, neighborhood
  • Verk.-Anb. (Verkehrsanbindung) = access to public transportation
  • Zentrum = city center

Others :

  • NR (Nichtraucher) = non-smokers only
  • WBS erford. (Wohnberechtigungsschein) = subsidized housing only rented to holders of a special permit (WBS)
  • Tiere (Tierhaltung) = pets allowed
  • ab sof. (ab sofort) = sofort frei = available immediately
  • ab. 1 Mai = ab 1.5 = Apartment is available from 1st May
  • bezugsf. (bezugsfrei) = No current tenants in the flat

Good luck in your search. I hope this overview was useful. Don’t hesitate to ask question in the comments so i can improve this guide on how to find a flat in Berlin. 🙂


  • Reply Narcis 13/05/2018 at 13:09

    Hi! Great article, thanks for all the useful information. I was wondering: has anyone tried or any similar service? I’d rather not give €1,500+ to any random landlord and have the money blocked for the duration of my stay. Are landlords ok with MoneyFix or any other similar services? Would love to hear your thoughts!

  • Reply David 10/05/2018 at 12:09

    Hi Everyone,

    I just landed a job in Berlin! Woo hoo! It starts in a month and I will be moving from the UK.

    It’s based near Heidelberger Place, and as a creative sort in my mid thirties, I’d love to live somewhere within commuting distance and near artists and creative types. But nothing too crazy.

    My budget is around 700 Euros for a one bed, any tips on how to go about hunting or interesting neighborhoods be MASSIVELY appreciated!



    • Reply Mary 05/06/2018 at 17:47

      Hey David,

      Similar story here. I found a shared flat easily via HousingAnywhere. it’s at Bismarckstraße and so so cool. Maybe you’ll have the same luck. I literally found and booked the room within a day. The company I will stay for is Pretty happy thus far. Now I only need to understand the insurance system which I think will leave me being broke xD

  • Reply Marina 21/04/2018 at 18:56

    Hi! Your blog is super helpful.

    We found a flat in Uniplaces and made a booking request. But do they provide printed contact, since we need one for the Anmeldung? Or we don’t? 🙂


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/04/2018 at 09:24

      Hi Marina. They should provide all necessary things to get you registered yes.

  • Reply ARTEMIS 10/04/2018 at 18:49

    So if you live in a full furnished flat for a couple of months, will they give you a SCHUFA to use when looking for your next flat?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/04/2018 at 08:45

      Hi Artemis. Have a look at this post for more info.

      • Reply ARTEMIS 18/04/2018 at 22:28

        Thank you! Everything here is really helpful 🙂

  • Reply GUIDO 22/03/2018 at 20:32

    Great blog!!. I have a quick question: I will be moving to Berlin in July for about six months, do you recommend that I start looking and rent a place for July now or should I wait until the date is closer to close a deal for a place? Thank you and keep up the great work!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/03/2018 at 19:05

      Hi Guido. The earliest is the best i would say but timing can be sometimes be difficult. It’s sometimes too early too… 🙂

  • Reply Jules 15/03/2018 at 12:13

    Hey! Great info, thanks a lot!
    Maybe could be one more resource:

  • Reply Egil 09/02/2018 at 17:36

    Fantastic blog mate! I have lived in my apartment in London for 12 years, and I own it. So how would I get around the matter of Mietschuldenfreiheitsbestätigung as I am my own landlord?
    Also, can I get a credit check done in the UK and present that as a Schufa?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/02/2018 at 21:08

      Hi Egil. As long as the papers are in German and genuine, i think it would be possible. Howver, no guarantee that a landlord accepts anything else than a schufa record.

  • Reply Itay 07/02/2018 at 04:56

    Was wondering what your thoughts are about finding an apartment through Craiglist? Is it reliable?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/02/2018 at 08:44

      Hi Itay. As reliable as Craiglist itself. You have to be cautious but i guess it is possible.

  • Reply Artemis 04/02/2018 at 18:14

    So if you have just moved in the city and only recently started working, how can you get yourself an appartment? Considering you can’t provide the three month paying proof and all that?

  • Reply Efe 13/01/2018 at 12:24


    Thanks for the blog. It is wonderful. I was curious about canceling a tenancy contract before its end date. What happens in that case? Is there any legal fees you have to pay to landlord for canceling the contract? Or is it just up to whatever is written in your contract? Is there a standard procedure?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/01/2018 at 08:49

      Hi Efe. When there are no end dates to the contract, it says the notice period you need to respect to end it. It’s usually around 3 or 4 months. If it’s a limited contract, you are probably obligated by law to pay the amount in full, unless there is a clause in the contract stating otherwise. in a word: read the contract. 😉

  • Reply Narcis 07/01/2018 at 12:37


    I plan to get a job in Berlin in the following months, so I already started looking for a flat. When you rent a flat through an agent, is there any fee that you have to pay to the agent?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/01/2018 at 11:18

      Hi Narcis. As mentionned in the post already; you don’t pay fees to the agent in this case.

  • Reply Shawn 03/08/2017 at 11:20

    Hi – I am moving to Berlin later this month to start a new job – this site has been my bible. I’ve booked an AirBnB for the first month just to give myself time to find something more permanent but now I am a bit anxious as my host has gone cold upon my request that she help with the Wohnungsgeberbestatigung, and I’ve got a pretty tight timeline on arrival and employer booked EU Blue Card/Anmeldung appointments before going straight into work. Any idea if perhaps an AirBnB receipt might suffice to show residence? Or would I be better off getting a friend to fill out a Wohnungsbestaetigung to say that I’m staying with her (even though I am not)?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/08/2017 at 22:53

      Hi Shawn, I can’t tell you what to do with the Wohnungsbestaetigung but i can tell you that an airbnb receipt is not enough.

  • Reply Cesar 02/08/2017 at 21:51

    Hi! Maybe I missed it out, but you mentioned to bring all the “necessary papers” without saying exactly which they are.
    Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung + Schufa + the last 3 paychecks is what I know so far. What else is necessary? Probably ID and Anmeldung too. Is there anything else? Thanks a lot

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/08/2017 at 22:47

      Hi Cesar. Yeah that’s about it.

      • Reply Sandra 10/10/2017 at 00:31

        Hi Bastien,

        Thanks for all the help, just found this website and it seems super useful. A quick question regarding necessary paperwork.. What if I didn’t have a “proper” jobs for some time (as I always did seasonal or contract jobs) and I’m planning on using my savings (which is still money, of course, but can’t provide any salary proof…)? Would a bank statement work instead? (And if so, how much money would suffice?) Thanks a lot.

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/10/2017 at 10:55

          Hi Sandra, that’s hard to say as it depends from landlord to landlord, bank statements can work for some but not for others, you have to try. You can also offer to pay more months in advance if that’s possible.

  • Reply Jeney 02/08/2017 at 15:23

    Really good Article. I also recommend to check this website: It does a great job by gathering available accommodations from social networks.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/08/2017 at 23:04

      Cool service Jeremy, thanks for putting that together.

  • Reply meta 31/07/2017 at 21:25

    [Comment edited by SiB Editor – too long: it was an email from a scammer asking money through western union]
    i have recived this response for the appartment on the link and i am not sure if its a scam or not, what do you think?

  • Reply Eric 27/07/2017 at 10:59

    Hi there,
    Thanks for the information.
    I am wondering if you know could explain how Moneyfix ® rental deposit works? It seems how the rental websites support Moneyfix rental deposit at this moment. I am a bit confused how it works.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/07/2017 at 10:00

      Hi Eric. Instead of paying a deposit from your pocket, you can pay MoneyFix a few euros a month and show this as a certificate to your landlord. See it as an insurance for when you will actually need that deposit money.

  • Reply Paul mahon 19/06/2017 at 02:20


    I am going to study in berlin with 3 Other students from September till july. Where would be the best place to get accommodation that is affordable but still is good to live in. We are having trouble finding a place.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/06/2017 at 09:30

      Hi Paul. All tips are in the post. For the rest, you need to do like anyone else and be patient in your search.

  • Reply Kim Holland 17/06/2017 at 14:35


    I have been living with my parents for the last 2 years and so in regards to needing a letter from a landlord saying that I am not arriving with any debts outstanding and that I pay my rent in time it will come from them. Are landlords okay with this and is there a template for this type of letter?

    Thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/06/2017 at 09:24

      Hi Kim. Please read the post again, there is a direct link to such letter.

      • Reply Kim 20/06/2017 at 23:09

        I’ve just re-read it, is this the template with the long name? Thanks.

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/06/2017 at 10:04


  • Reply Catherine 06/05/2017 at 15:11

    I was wondering if you have an article on whats happens after you get an appointment to see the apartments, because it seems that you are given the address but whenn you get there, you don’t know what apartment or how to get inside the building.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/05/2017 at 10:11

      Hi Catherine, Just ask whoever is in charge of the viewings to give you more details.

  • Reply PETRA SCHERF 29/04/2017 at 17:32

    Hi any chance you can give me contact details of agents that can advise me on rentals in Berlin as I am not in Europe at the moment but need to find a one bedroom apartment or loft by JUNE 1 2017.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/05/2017 at 10:34

      Hi Petra, maybe you can reach out to invest-ab, they also advise on rentals.

    • Reply Ieva 04/07/2017 at 17:06

      HI Petra,

      Just out of curiousity, did you find and apartment to rent and how long did it take you? I am looking for one myself, wonder what should I expect.

  • Reply Devon Kuhrau 12/04/2017 at 19:08

    Hi, I was wondering if you could give me information about Ablöse and subletting. I found a listing asking for €5,000 for all this stuff the previous added to the Wohnung (including a huge custom aquarium which isn’t really a draw for me.) I’ve read that the Nachmieter is under no obligation to buy the stuff, but if I do, can I pick and choose and how do I know I’m not being ripped off? Also they listed a deposit amount. How does this work? As far as I know in America, if you sublet, you’re essentially breaking your contract and forfeit the deposit. Is this different in Germany?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/04/2017 at 10:01

      Hi Devon. I guess you are write in saying that you are not obligated to buy it but the previous tenant might not pick you as a Nachmieter because of that. As for the deposit, i’m not sure about the meaning of your question. It is perfectly normal to have a deposit tied to a sublet contract.

  • Reply Tina 09/04/2017 at 06:17

    The owner of the flat I am planning to rent out would like a sponsorship letter from my parents to secure rent every month in case I cannot. Do you know much about these or would you know where to find a template letter? Many thanks.

  • Reply Graeme 08/04/2017 at 19:31

    Hi, I’m wondering if you can help me understand more about how immobilienscout24 works?

    Firstly, thank you so much for this site, it has been invaluable to help to my girlfriend and me. We arrived to Berlin a month ago and are living in temporary accommodation, but we are searching for a long-term rental mainly via immobilienscout24. However, I cannot understand how the process of making contact with the landlord should go.

    [Very long comment edited by Bastien (SiB Editor) for clarity’s sake. In a nutshell; “I get no response when i send requests on Immoscout24 or when i book viewings via the website. Is there a reason why the response rate is so low?”]

    Would phoning or emailing the landlords privately, if the numbers are advertised, improve the response rate or is that seen as inappropriate?

    Any comments or experience would be appreciated here.


  • Reply Cheila 03/03/2017 at 15:41

    Me and my boyfriend (we’re from Portugual) want to move to Berlin, but we own 2 cats.
    Are landlords OK with pets in Berlin? How difficult would it be to rent an unfurnished 2 bedroom, having 2 cats? (I read in another website that if it’s furnished don’t even try)

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/03/2017 at 17:23

      Hi Cheila. Some landlords are ok with it and some are not. This is usually mentioned in the description of the flat. It’s probably not helping but it’s not impossible.

    • Reply Dima 03/03/2017 at 17:25

      Cats are considered to be a “small pets” here, so you don’t have to notify landlord about them. Dogs are not.

    • Reply donna 04/03/2017 at 11:05

      Hey. Just came across your message. Pets can be an issue. We moved here almost 3 years ago and had to really look to find a place that would allow pets, we have a dog. We’re moving out of our Berlin Mitte apartment end of March. Our landlord doesn’t mind pets. If you are interested we can connect you to him. Details of the apartment are here:

  • Reply Fan Barry 02/11/2016 at 05:55

    This website has been a life saver. Thank you for all of your hard work and updates.

  • Reply Bob 25/10/2016 at 20:41

    Really great article – very helpful info!

    What are the chances of a landlord not providing the necessary rental contract and refusing to fill out the Anmeldesformular / Wohnungsgeberbestätigung IF you rent a place for 3-4 months through Wunderflats or Air B N B? Since the booking /payment are done online, I can ask ahead of time but realize they might not commit to doing this.

    I have similar situation to many newcomers. I plan on arriving at the end of the year and my #1 priority will be to do anmeldung in order to start working, open a bank account and start my schufa file. I am OK to pay extra so that I can get all that done ASAP and it seems Wunderflats or Air B N B are the best options. Please let me know if you feel it’s unlikely that people who use these sites to rent out flats will provide an actual rental contract and fill out the necessary info / forms I need to register. If you have any tips on how to rent a place quickly and get all the necessary info for registration, please do share.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/10/2016 at 10:33

      Hi there Bob. Wunderflats is very aware of this problem and they make sure that all the landlords they work with are willing to let you register. It’s all very legit.

      • Reply Melissa 04/05/2017 at 13:01

        Would Uniplace (or the other websites listed in the post) allow you to register and fill up the Anmeldesformular as well?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/05/2017 at 13:14

          Hi Melissa. Yes, that’s not an issue.

  • Reply Maria Edling Andersson 22/10/2016 at 18:03

    Hallo! Me and my friend have just moved to Berlin from Sweden and Norway and we are trying to find a apartment. We are learning german at a language school and later on we are both planing to go to university in Berlin. We have been trying for a couple of weeks to find a apartment that we can rent for a minimum of four months. The things is that we don’t know anything about what one needs to know or have to rent a apartment in Berlin (your blog has been a great help by the way). We have written to a lot of places through, but we don’t get a lot of replies. We went to look at one apartment, but we felt very clueless about what to ask about or what to do. The landlord handed out some papers, but not to us, which probably has to do with us not speaking german. We are aware of both having to registrate our residence in Germany and if we do that then we can get SCHUFA. Do you know if it is okay that only one of us has a SCHUFA or do both of us need it? Is there anything else we need to know?
    Mit freundlichen Grüßen und vielen dank,
    Two confused scandinavians

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/10/2016 at 09:42

      Hi Maria. It can be challenging when first moving here and the language barrier does not help. Concerning your SCHUFA record: It’s not such a problem to present only one as long as one of you is the main tenant, with the name on the tenancy contract. If you want both to be on the contract, you will need both. Have you tried services like Wunderflats to rent a flat for the first months to give you time to figure out the long-term bit?

    • Reply Kris George Manimala 25/10/2016 at 11:04


      Please try too. They are super friendly, speaks English and very hassle free. Even the SCHUFA part they will take care. Me and my wife found our apartment via them very recently.

      Good luck!


      • Reply Noha Mansour 02/07/2017 at 02:24

        i came across your comment in here
        im searching for an apartment to rent in berlin in august
        I don’t understand Deutsch so i couldn’t go across the site you pointed to
        could u please help?
        thanks in advance

  • Reply João 03/10/2016 at 15:25

    Is is safe to send info about me to offers in those sites before visiting the apartment and meeting the landlord? I’m moving to Berlin mid October and I already have a place for a month. Should I start looking now or is it better to do as soon as I get there so I can visit the places? I’ve been looking for flats already but I’m a bit reluctant to send my id…

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/10/2016 at 20:35

      I think you are here soon enough so you want to make sure you will start seeing flats as soon as you get here instead of starting your search then. I don’t know what you mean by your “iD”. Reaching them via email is largely safe if you don’t fall in those traps for example.

  • Reply Ingrid Howard 28/09/2016 at 17:45

    Are the rents shown on your map monthly or weekly?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/09/2016 at 17:54


  • Reply Max Winstanley 11/09/2016 at 15:49

    Hey, I move to Berlin next Sunday to study a one year course in Friedrichshain. Do you have any advice for me in regards to finding apartments. Cheers

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/09/2016 at 09:46

      Hi there Max. What advice in particular are you looking for that is not on this page already? (It would help me improve this article)

  • Reply Josephine 28/08/2016 at 11:19

    Hi there,

    I’m currently searching for an apartment for my daughter who will start studying in Berlin, I got confused about some stuff like the Schufa what is it exactly and is it a must that we get it?? how much shall we pay for the apartment in advance a month or 2?? what are the hidden costs of the rent?

    Thanks so much for your help

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/08/2016 at 09:29

      Hello Josephine. Here are links to other posts of this blog that should help : About SCHUFA, About rent. You need not pay for the apartment in advance, unless that is the deposit. Paying in advance is something that can be recommended if you don’t a SCHUFA record yet. Happy reading! 🙂

  • Reply Anne 14/08/2016 at 10:35

    Hi there – thanks so much for this website. It is really helpful, but also makes me realise how clueless I am and how much i need to do. I have just moved to Berlin to study and will be going between here and UK, but will mostly be resident here. I am lucky enough to have some savings and so have booked 2 places through air b and b, one up to 1st October and then another place from October to February. I read all the stuff about air b and b becoming illegal and was a bit worried but both the hosts assured me that as this is longer term rental it is ok. I need to register and am a bit worried about turning up and saying i am in air b and b apartment. Do you know anything about rules for longer term rentals with air b and b? I have read various articles and all i can see is that renting whole apartments is now illegal and have seen nothing about this not applying for longer term.

    I can see on the air b and b website that apartments in Berlin now seem to be available for minimum 60 days.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/08/2016 at 18:18

      Renting a flat out on Airbnb is NEVER illegal for guests. That’s what the law says. It is only illegal for hosts if they haven’t applied for a license with the city. So even if your hosts were lying to you, you are on the safe side of the law. In any case, i doubt the Bürgeramt will have access to that kind of information. You can register safely.

  • Reply Stephen Robertson 13/08/2016 at 18:21

    A very very open question and without a definitive answer… but I am wondering how much I should roughly look to set a side each month for rent, running cost and utilities. I’m looking to move into my own place so only need one bedroom and the only furnished part i would need is a fitted kitchen and a bathroom. I have a net income of just over 2000 euros. Any guidance? any help is really appreciated.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/08/2016 at 18:13

      Hi Stephen. It depends on too many things man; location, size, altbau/neubau, central heating or not, etc. It’s really quite difficult to say. Your best bet is to look on sites like ImmobilienScout or Immonet and enter your criteria there to get an idea.

      • Reply Stephen Robertson 15/08/2016 at 17:46

        I knew it was too open a question haha, just so many things going on in my head but i appreciate the reply and the advice. Thanks, Stephen

        • Reply AKINSHINA 08/09/2016 at 17:54

          Hi Stephen,
          i see your query dates back Aug 2016.
          i have exactly the same criteria! Was wondering if you managed to find the pearl..
          did the recommended sites ImmobilienScout or Immonet help?

          thank you!

      • Reply Ram 18/02/2017 at 11:09

        Hi Stephen,

        I am also in exactly same criteria. Did you find anything? Please help to find out..


  • Reply Minouka 12/08/2016 at 22:47

    Dear Settle in Berlin,

    Thank you so much for this website, it has really helped a lot!
    I have a question: My girlfriend and I are currently looking for a small apartment for two. We have already had a “Besichtigung” and contacted at least 20 Immobielen. I speak German, so language is not a barrier but cultural difference kind of is. It is still very difficult for us to get many responses because we do not have settled jobs yet and owners seem to prefer people of older age. Furthermore, we don’t have Schufa because we are coming from the Netherlands, etc. Do you have any tips for us?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/08/2016 at 17:10

      This is a familiar situation for newcomers. The best tip i can give you is quite common as well; try to look for Zwischenmiete or WGs which would let you register at an adress for a few months, just the time you need to do the anmeldung, open a bank account and a schufa record. Once you are more settled and have whole of that, you can look for something more permanent. It’s even trickier as a couple. So good luck guys ! 🙂

      • Reply Imogen 22/10/2017 at 13:01

        Hi Bastien – why do you say it is trickier for a couple? Thanks.

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/10/2017 at 11:00

          Hi Imogen; a few reasons. For some people, it’s because they are afraid there will be fights, for some other, it’s just more contractually difficult. And then there is simply the question of space; you might be sharing your room together, but it means that another person is also using the common space (If a flat is good for 3 people living together, another person might just no work.)

  • Reply Katerina K. 12/08/2016 at 12:51

    Hello I found this apartment:
    And the owner asks me this: “make transfer of the security deposit and the rent fee from your country with your friends or relative s name as the sender and your name as the receiver which will make the transfer available to receive by you in Germany which a confirmation will be made on the transfer done to check if he or she is capable of paying the rent before arranging for a viewing or to retain the flat till your arrival and also stop other people from viewing the flat and to be sure that after seeing my flat on your arrival i ll get paid after because i wont afford to come in vain or come twice on basis of the rent.”
    [the rest edited here by SiB since it was long for a comment]

    Can you give me your opinion?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/08/2016 at 14:06

      Clearly scam. Stay away from it.

  • Reply Lynn 28/07/2016 at 09:45

    I’ve been looking for an apartment. Would prefer an apartment in a new building, with modern layout and fittings and hopefully is efficient on energy consumption. Not quite a fan of altbaus or walk ups. Is there a website which searches only on those criterias? Any tips would be helpful!

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 28/07/2016 at 16:15

      I don’t think there is a website only focused on those criteria, but you can tick off boxes to filter existing results on Immoscout or other similar websites.
      Once you have entered your preferred location and size, click on the “Suche anpassen” option and type in your preferred “Baujahr” (construction year) to avoid Altbaus and pick your preferred “Energieeffizienzklasse” for energy efficient flats. Hope this helps.

  • Reply EVY VELASQUEZ 13/07/2016 at 08:59


    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 14/07/2016 at 22:17

      Probably spam. Do not reply. Also, please never write all CAPS when commenting. It’s visual abuse. 😉 No need to “Yell” at people.

  • Reply Zeeshan Mushtaq 02/07/2016 at 13:10

    Hi, I am moving to Berlin for studies. I am looking for the apartment in Berlin online. I met a landlord via one of the facebook pages. She has send the apartment images, it looks nice and is located in Kreuzberg, 10963 Berlin Kreuzberg Hedemannstrasse 7. Now the landlord wants me to transfer deposit and first month rent to her account. She has send me contract and scan copy of her passport as proof of identity. But she is not currently in Berlin.

    Could you please suggest in this regard. I would be highly grateful.

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 04/07/2016 at 00:16

      Go away. This is clearly scam.

    • Reply wary_renter 07/07/2016 at 11:46

      I am in contact with the same “Landlord”, I think it is a scam as I have been in contact with her since the 3rd of July, and you just one day before. I have also received the contract and photos that you have likely received. This was very helpful to see.

  • Reply Sarah 18/04/2016 at 19:07

    Hello! Thanks for your useful blog. I saw this on craiglist, do you think its a scam?
    I contacted the tenant who says I can visit the flat but talks of going to the UK which is why he is looking for someone and he’s phone is uk number. What do you think? Thanks! S

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 18/04/2016 at 21:08

      Perfect pictures that look too perfect + someone who is not on location + really cheap rent = looks dodgy.

      • Reply Sarah 19/04/2016 at 13:49

        Thanks for your response! Shame it looked ideal!!!!

      • Reply Sarah 24/04/2016 at 00:25

        Hi there! Me again! is 13597 Berlin Spandau far away from the city centre or is it ok? Is it a nice area? Thank you so much! S

        • Reply settle_in_Berlin 24/04/2016 at 10:20

          City centre is quite relative in Berlin: Mitte is the geographical center of the city but by not necessarily the most attractive/interesting. I guess it depends where you work/study. If you work/study within the Ring, you shouldn’t be commuting more than 30min really.

  • Reply Dima 25/02/2016 at 11:35

    Thanks for very useful article. Ithink it would be nice, if you mention, which sites have English version. For guys like me, who doesn’t know German.

  • Reply Emma 07/02/2016 at 13:24

    Hello there!

    I would like to ask your opinion about getting the Anmeldung…
    Me and my boyfriend have been in Berlin fro 6 months, moving from one WG to another,
    and we finally just found a more permanent place.

    However, we are subletting this one too from the tenants, and even though the Agency who owns
    the flat knows about us and said it was no problem to stay here, they refused to sign the papers
    for our Anmeldung. (I’m sure you know, you have to have a signiture from the landlord / Agency directly,
    and then take that form to the Burgeramt where they register you under the address.

    So, my question… is there any way, any hope to get a German bank account / tax number without having an Anmeldung?
    Please let me know if you know any information about this, thank you very much!

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 07/02/2016 at 16:32

      No, you need to have done the anmeldung to be able to do any other administrative task. Insist with them, they simply cannot refuse to sign those papers, even as a subtenant. If they don’t want to, there might be something dodgy. If the flat’s rent is subsidized by the city for example & no subtenant is allowed, they might be trying to get away with it.

  • Reply CINDY 18/01/2016 at 23:44

    Hi, one thing that isn’t mentioned: what about one has no debt, can show proof of savings, can pay upfront a really big deposit and has records of having paid the rent on time for years, but one doesn’t have a job (yet)? Can you suggest any papers or guarantees from another person that could allay the fears of potential landlords?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 19/01/2016 at 10:58

      I think i mentioned replying to one of the comments somewhere. In a nutshell, you can try to gather evidence of your good records and it might work, but probably a lot of landlords don’t want to bother with anything else but Schufa records. So if you can, get a paper from your previous landlord saying that you left the tenancy without debt, in german it’s called Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung, that might work.

  • Reply Hannes 03/11/2015 at 19:32

    Thanks for the information, very helpful! I tried to look for some temporary accommodation through your listed agencies, but they were all quite expensive.
    I ended up renting a cool flat in Neukölln through a website called nestpick which a friend from Paris recommended.

    I rented it out through them for 2 months to look for a new one from one of the other websites, but eventually ended up just staying there until now :D. Price is alright so I don’t mind, but definitely recommendable when you look for a temporary flat (or in my case a longer one) so I would include that one in the list (however you also have to look quite a lot to find a affordable place there).

    Worth noting is also that I experienced 2 scams via Wg-gesucht, where someone wanted me to transfer the rent before even moving in, so watch out for scammers people!

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 04/11/2015 at 10:00

      Nestpick is a great service that make it easy to find flats to foreigners and i did contemplate mentionning them in this post but given their really high prices compared to market average i decided to go against it. I guess if you have that kind of money, why not ?

      • Reply Hannes 04/11/2015 at 13:50

        True that, most of their flats are priced quite high similar to those short term agencies like coming home where I looked, but I found mine there for 410€ per month which I think is not bad for a 1,5 Bedroom in Kreuzkölln. I have to say the furniture is not that great but the bed is quite large so I can live with it :). They should include more unfurnished flats! I saw a couple of those 2 weeks ago when scrolling through their website, but they were gone for a year straight away… Anyway thanks for the help on your blog, it is very helpful!

        • Reply settle_in_Berlin 05/11/2015 at 11:15

          Cool. Thanks for that feedback.

  • Reply Jacintha 08/10/2015 at 15:35

    Concerning the Schufa-record, it seems to me that they should as well accept a proof of you having no debts obtainend in your own country right?
    At least I hope so -_-!

    Any information on that?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 08/10/2015 at 18:23

      I’m not sure it would work with every landlord, but worth inserting in your application i guess.

  • Reply Marta Padrão 01/09/2015 at 16:54

    My name is Marta Padrão, a 23-year-old girl from Portugal. I study Architecture in FAUP (Oporto) and I’m moving to Berlin in an exchange programme – ERASMUS – to TU Berlin with a friend that is also architecture student. We arrive on 31st August and we are looking for 2 rooms with furniture in a shared flat starting beginning of September until the end of March. We prefer central area but we don’t really care as long as there’s public transportation near by. We are honest, social people and we would like to share a flat with nice people. I’m learning German and Diogo is fluent but we also speak Portuguese, English and Spanish. In case you got something available, I’d be extremely thankful you contact me at my e-mail address:

    I look forward to hearing from you,


  • Reply Evgenia 01/10/2014 at 14:09

    Hello! Please tell me can you help me find apartment in Berlin with 2 bedrooms, fro 2 adults and 1 child

    from 11-25 october?

    thank you and will wait the answer

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 03/10/2014 at 10:36

      Hi Evgenia, thanks for your message. Unfortunately i cannot help you as i receive too many requests like those to fullfill them all. You are on your own. Hope you understand. 🙂

  • Reply ken 09/02/2014 at 15:29

    It scary to think that it’s going to be difficult to find an apartment to live or to rent in berlin. I used to live in berlin before my family and I moved to the UK, and that was good seven years ago, but as time went by my wife grew a lot more home sick, and now we are left with no other choice but to return home. The idea is kinda overwhelming especially for the kids who have knows none other that UK living. Now reading about all the possible difficulties one could encounter in the process of searching for a flat to rent makes it even more thrilling and nerve recking. Can anyone reassure me that all will be well when we eventually come back?.

  • Reply ken 09/02/2014 at 15:12

    It scart to think that it’s going to be difficult to find a place flat or an apartment to Gent in berlin. I user to live in berlin before my family and I lover to the UK and that was food seven testa ago, bit as time went by, my wife in particuar grew a lot more home sick, and now we are left with no choice but to return home which i must say is quite overwhelming for everyone and especially for the kids. Reading all about the difficulties encounted in searching for a flat to rent makes it even more thrilling. Can any reassure me that all will be good when we eventually come back?

  • Reply katarina 21/09/2013 at 00:13

    do they ever consider a fact that some people just arrived to Germany and obviously, have no any credit check records ? is it quiet difficult to go through this? i mean, get a flat to rent ? thank you.

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 23/09/2013 at 12:37

      In my experience, checking Schufa records is not something that every landlord does yet. I don’t think it will decrease your chances so much. Just try somewhere else if your first attempts don’t work out.

  • Reply Cat 23/01/2013 at 21:36

    Nice overview, helped me a lot to get started!

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