Find a flat share in Berlin

Getting a flat share in Berlin is pretty much the number one priority for a lot of us. For some, it’s also about finding a social life as much as a roof, or else a stepping stone for their own place one day.

For others, there is simply no other choice. We don’t have the money, we don’t have the time and we don’t have the papers ! So the best solution is to find a nice flat share in Berlin with friendly room mates.

This guide shows you how to find a good place, a good match and get noticed through the noise of hundreds of other applicants.

flat share in berlin

Where to find flat shares in Berlin

A flat share is called WG (pronounced “VayGay”), short for “Wohnungsgemeinschaft”. It is as popular as ever in the city. It shouldn’t be too difficult for you to find one from the moment you are tat bit organized.

Try offline first

The best way for you to find a flat share in Berlin is certainly through your own network. If you are interested in Berlin in the first place, it’s probably through a connection you have already here. It is the best place to start investigating.

If you are coming to Berlin to work for a specific company, be sure to check that it doesn’t offer relocating services for foreigners. It could also be part of your benefit package.

If you are coming as a student to one of the universities, it could also be the best way for you to start looking for a flat share in Berlin. Many of those universities have a international office where many international students meet and find an accommodation solution together.

Go for more than one portal

There are also several specialized website for you to find a flat share in Berlin, I’ve made you a sweet list :

A few Facebook groups have also emerged as alternative options. Those are:

Make you first intro memorable to be noticed

It is very likely that you will pass through several filters before even being invited. Being fast is the key as people offering a flat share in Berlin are flooded with answers once they have posted an offer. As far as i can tell, answering to posts in English is no problem but it is always a plus to be able to convince in German.

Keep your introductions short, relevant and memorable to maximize your chances. I have found very important to be willing to participate to the community life with activities such as cooking, nights out, or others. It helps a lot.

Chose your medium well as well. You can get far by simply avoiding boring old words. Try WhatsApp voice messages with music, a cool short video, a cool drawing. Get your personality out-there and make use of your talents.

How I do make sure it will be a good fit?

There are simply no way to make sure your future roommates aren’t psychopaths but a few rules can help your chances.

Move in with people in the same life phase as you

Even though flat shares used to be for 20-something people, nowadays some stay in WGs until their mid 40s. This means that they are probably no longer students anymore and will have different expectations on common life & routine. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to move in with people that are on the same page as you in their lives. If you are a student, move in with students. If you are struggling young professional, move in with some.  You get the idea. This maximize the chances for compatibility.

Have a good look at common areas

A thorough inspection of the kitchen & bathroom can tell a lot about the state of the flat share. It says a lot about hygiene of course, but also about respect to one another. It’s a good way to rate common life. If you see a lot of group portraits & pictures of them in the kitchen, then it’s a sign they do stuff together and there is a good atmosphere for example.

Turnover rate matters

This might help to detect “parasites”, “profiteers” or “psychopaths” roommates; ask (discreetly) how many people lived in the flat the past 2/3 years. If the number is much higher than normal, it might mean that the Hauptmieter is behaving in such a way that people can’t bear life with them. Either they don’t do their share of chores, they are not sociable or they profit from your misinformation to charge a high rate.

Lifestyle check

In general, don’t pick flat shares which promotes lifestyle too far away from yours. We all learn from each other and it’s good to be different, but if it makes life impossible, it’s not worth it.

Or else check this excellent guide by Sophia Halamoda :)(click on picture)
Or else check this excellent guide by Sophia Halamoda 🙂 (click on picture)

Do your homework before meeting IRL

You got invited to meet in real life? Congrats! Now it’s all about making a great impression and convince you can be a good fit. But don’t forget to be convincing on the nitty gritty as well. Come to the meeting prepared.

Bring proof you can pay rent:

This can be done in a few ways and not everyone will ask for all of it, but at least one of the following:

  • Bring a copy of your SCHUFA report. More info about in this post.
  • You may also consider bringing some sort of certificate from a previous main tenant or landlord that you always paid on time. In German, this is called “Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung“.
  • You can also bring copy of your payslips or employment contract.
  • If your parents or other relative is paying rent for you, bring something about that.

Bring proof you have insurance:

I know: this is very German. But nothing screams reliability more than somebody who has insurance. For anybody living in Germany, I’d recommend a contents insurance policy and a personal liability insurance policy. Follow the links for more info on each.

Prepare for the interview for the best :)
Prepare for the interview 🙂

Flat share in Berlin FAQ

What if I can’t find a flat share right away, are there any short-term alternatives?

There is a good chance that you won’t be able to find the perfect WG right away. Don’t hesitate to find a Zwichenmiete in one of those websites for a month or more if you can. It will give you more time and peace of mind to find a good flat share in Berlin. You can also use youth hostels, AirBnB or Wimdu if you are more comfortable with these options.

You might also want to have a look at platforms like Wunderflats which provides fully furnished flats. You can rent them without a SCHUFA record and they make sure you can register there as well.

How do I make sure I don’t pay too much for a flat share in Berlin?

A high demand increases prices when the supply cannot satisfy all requests. This might lead to some people taking advantage of the situation. Aside from asking to connections you might have in Berlin, you can also ask for advice on the Facebook groups I mentioned in this post to double check if the price is all right. You can also refer to this map made by Immobilien-Scout & WG-suche for guidance. Based on their data, an average room costs 429€ in a flat share. It fluctuates on your location of course as you can see on this map.

Zweck-WG: what does that mean?

You will often find the expression “Zweck WG” in offers you will find on the website. This means that the flat share is only aiming at sharing the costs and won’t be about having a social life together. It might be what you want but be warned that it’s very serious nonetheless. On the opposite, you will often find people that expressly want room mates that are looking for a dense social life within the WG.

Zwischenmiete: what does that mean?

It is a temporary rental often offered by people leaving for holidays or a long trip. It is by nature limited and could a great alternative to get started. Make sure that you are not paying more that you should: it’s allowed for the main tenant to raise prices for the subtenant. It should match the rent’s price, no more.

How do I improve my chances to get responses?

You have to be more creative than the rest of the crowd. Try leaving a WhatsApp voice message if you have access to a phone number. You can try to do an intro video if you feel like it too, and send it instead of a long paragraph. If you can draw, make a 2 strip comics about you. Use your natural talents to stand out. Keep it short and to the point, you can always expand on it when you meet in real life.

The best flat mates + the perfect flat + great social skills = The best flat share in Berlin ever !

Good luck and feel free to ask questions in the comments !

81 Comments

  • Reply Laura 04/06/2020 at 18:29

    Hey everyone! My name is Laura, I am 28 years old media professional from Lithuania! I currently live in temporary accommodation and looking for a permanent place to move – ideally in West Berlin, Charlottenburg or nearby 🙂 if you know anyone looking for a flat mate please drop me an e-mail: [email protected]

  • Reply Gilbert Adum 25/09/2019 at 16:25

    Hi, I am a scientist and just arrived in Berlin to work for three months. I need a shared place ASAP. My email contact is [email protected]

    Thanks for helping.

  • Reply A lehetetlen küldetés: Berlin? – Utazószaurusz 18/05/2019 at 02:50

    […] (Wohngemeinschaft) = well, we explained that there = lakótárs (egy lakáson osztozók […]

    • Reply Sarah Pearson 07/10/2020 at 22:46

      Hi I’m Sarah and I’m from London, looking for a flat share in neukölln/Kreuzberg area for December 2020. Email me @ [email protected]

  • Reply Martina 11/02/2019 at 15:42

    Hi,
    My landlady is asking for a liability insurance in order to rent a room in her house. I am new in Berlin and I have no idea to make one. Can anyone suggest a provider to contact? Thank you very much!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/02/2019 at 09:58

      Hey Martina. You may want to look at this post then.

    • Reply Taylor Anderson 14/02/2019 at 13:46

      My flatmate (who don’t have the main contract), wants to kick me out. What should I do?

      I live in a shared flat with a friend of mine since almost 3 years ago. My friend has lived here a little bit longer 3.5 years. The contract of this flat doesn’t belong to my friend and we are renting this flat from a guy that doesn’t live in Berlin and that we barely have contact with.

      My friend has lately experienced some issues living with me and took contact with the master tenant (the guy that has the first hand contract). The master tenant told my friend that since he has been living in the flat a bit longer than me and also that my friend was the one that hand picked me three years ago, he can decide to kick me out.

      Howevever, I had some further and emotional talk with my friend and he decided to give me a new chance in exchange for hugh improvement from my side as a mitbewohner. I’m willing to work for this since the flat is really cheap and is in a good location. At the moment I’m also having depression and I don’t manage for big changes in life.

      I have an Untermietervertrag from the master tenant and I’m also registered in this flat. As far as I know my friend haven’t done an “anmeldung” in this flat and also don’t have an Untermietervertrag for this flat. Neither me or my friend are officially approved to live in this flat from the owner of the building.

      My impression from the Master tenant is that he don’t want to get to much involved regarding our problems we have in the flat. And I feel a bit weird to treat my friend as the master tenant when in reality he doesn’t own the contract or anything. In my opinion, wheater we manage to live together or not, this decisision for me to move out should be a mutual decision from both of us, and not one-sided from my friend. I have almost lived as long as my friend and after three years I am also in need for some security and I feel that just because my friend once chosed to live with me and that he has lived in this flat half a year longer than me, doesn’t make him automatically the “master tenant”.

      What do you think is the best way for me to do and act regarding for me to be able to stay in the flat? Do I have any legal right? Any tips would be so appreciated.

      Kind Regard,
      Taylor

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/02/2019 at 17:10

        Hey Taylor. First: using the comment section to find advice on such a personal situation might not result in the best advice ever. This is only an opinion and i cannot replace proper legal counselling: If both of you have Untermietvertrag, then only the main tenant can terminate the said contract. That’s also the case if only one of you has a contract with the main tenant. Only the main tenant has legal grounds to do anything here, based on your description.

  • Reply Ena 09/01/2019 at 14:15

    Hi ,

    A friend of mine lives in Berlin , but need immediately to change the appartment. The problem is, that it is not possible to register on the new address. Any recommenadations for registering on address in hostel etc?

    Kind Regards ,
    Ena

  • Reply Ugne 27/10/2018 at 22:53

    Hey,

    So i’ve been searching for a flatshare in every possible website for the last 2 weeks probably. I am moving to Berlin 1st of November and i booked an airbnb for the first few weeks, but i am almost giving up on finding something reasonably priced (my budget is up to around 450), and in a reasonably good location (altough the location has been on less importance lately) I am really wondering if its possible of finding anything right now, even with me there physically in Berlin? I have sent a lot of requests on wg-suche pages and i barely get any responses, so i guess they get plenty of messages, and don’t even bother answering everyone. Is it really that bad of situation in Berlin right now, that without the budget of at least 600 its impossible to rent a room or am I going crazy already (haha) I hope i don’t have to head back home after the few weeks spent in Airbnb, but… anyways, you have a great page here, and a lot of valuable tips,thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/10/2018 at 10:11

      Hey Ugne. Just keep trying and being able to come meet people in person is definitely a plus. Good luck!

  • Reply Ivan 20/10/2018 at 11:43

    Hi everybody!
    Can somebody explain to me why almost all the ads are for short-time rent? I should arrive in Berlin the next month and I’m looking for a mid/long term accommodation (6 months or more) but looks almost impossible to find something suitable for me, especially if you’re not there (I live in Finland, at the moment).
    Do you have any tips? I’m getting mad trying to figure out what to do :/

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/10/2018 at 17:56

      Hey Ivan. There can be multiple factors. One of them right now could be the timing. All students and families have settled for the school year, reducing movements between flats and offer in general. It’s not uncommon to start with a short-term rental.

      • Reply Ivan 01/11/2018 at 16:40

        I see. Looks a bit crazy but luckily I’ve managed somehow to find a room for the very first couple of months. Hope the things will be better searching from there 😉

  • Reply Gangadhar Kallur 08/08/2018 at 15:59

    I am looking single room or shared room at Berlin City. Any one would like to share or rent a room please share your contacts or email me “[email protected]

  • Reply David Bado 02/08/2017 at 08:39

    Hi. Again thanks for the great content. I am moving to Berlin in 1st october. The first month I wil be probably living in airbnb as it’s complicated to get something in Berlin without being physically there. Problem is that I cannot register in airbnb. My questions is about the sentence from different post: “Every German citizen or new comer in Germany is supposed to register within 14 days after moving in a new house or flat.” Does this includes airbnb? I thought that you can stay anywhere in Europe for 3 months without registering or anything. Now I am again confused about the order of these formalities. My plan was Job (this I have, even though I have to still sort out Health insurance and tax number) -> bank account (N26) -> airbnb -> flathshare -> anmeldung -> schufa -> maybe my own flat.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/08/2017 at 12:40

      Hi David, if you are here on a tourist visa and you stay for 3 months, of course no need to register anywhere. Germany’s own rule about registration sounds strict but no fine is applied if you can’t register within that deadline. That is for the simple reason that it is hard to find a flat. You airbnb will be a way to physically there and make progress on a more permanent accommodation.

  • Reply Darshan Gajara 24/03/2017 at 14:55

    Thanks for the post. I’m looking for a shared and budget-friendly accommodation space in Berlin for 3 months starting from April. Please let me know if you know of someone who can help with the same.

  • Reply Ellie Charles 27/02/2017 at 09:31

    Hello!

    I cannot tell you enough how useful this blog has been to me since moving to Berlin 🙂

    Do you have any advice for contracts for a new WG? I potentially have a new room, but the deposit is quite a lot (600 euro) and I want to make sure I am definitely going to get it back when I leave.

    In my last place, we just agreed on a template from the internet and signed it – didn’t feel very secure!

    Any recommendations would be great 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 27/02/2017 at 10:24

      Hi Ellie. Congrats on finding a new place. Internet-sourced contracts are not necessarily bad or less binding (legally speaking). You just need to make sure you understand its structure and its conditions before signing it. You can even add paragraphs to give more details on conditions around the deposit (what does it cover? under which conditions it cannot be returned? what kind of receipt should you receive? how long should you wait to get it back after contract termination, etc)

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