Rent in Germany : Hot & Cold

You finally convinced a landlord to rent you a flat. You ! Among the 100 people that applied for the same flat, he has chosen you. Take time to say thanks to the Big Guy up there and ask yourself the question :

“What am i going to pay my landlord every month exactly ?”

rent in germany

Don’t think about it too long though…

Rent in Germany is usually presented as “kalt” (cold) or “warm”

Warm rent in Germany usually corresponds to an “all inclusive” rent. It means that all extra-costs are included, should they be electricty (“Strom”), gas or water expenses. Depending on what you have signed up for, it can also include internet or/and TV although it is not usual. Make sure to have an understanding in the contract.

Cold rent in Germany is no more than what you owe the landlord every month. All other extra costs will have to be undertaken by yourself. Contracts with gas, electricity, water and internet providers will have to be made by you only. The landlord won’t be involved there.

The point to take from this is simply to prefer a warm rent over a cold one if you plan to stay for a relatively short amount of time in Berlin or Germany. It’s extremly difficult to get out of a contract for electricty or gas.

 

Nebenkosten – the devil is in the details

Some other extra-costs “Nebenkosten” can be paid in the rent; by you or the landlord. Every tenant in your building pays its share to cover them.

  • Grundsteuer – covers up costs for local taxes
  • Beleuchtung – covers up costs of lights in the corridors and stairs
  • Hausreinigung / Hausmeisterdienst – covers up costs for having a janitor
  • Gartenpflege – covers up costs for garden and private outdoor spaces maitenance
  • Abwasser – covers up costs for waste water – sewers
  • Fahrstuhl – covers up costs  for lift maintenace
  • Schornsteinreinigung – covers up costs for chimney sweepers
  • Straßenreinigung / Müllabfuhr – covers up costs for pathwalk and trash maintenance/management

 

You should be paying those extra-costs only if they are justified in your case. If you don’t have a chimney in your flat, it is probably not fair for you to pay those.

In a nutshell, rent in germany is often what you agreed to pay in your tenancy contract, so be sure to read that one through before signing anything ! 🙂

34 Comments

  • Reply James 07/12/2020 at 14:42

    Hi Bastien,

    We are in some discussions at the minute with our landlord about what is included in Warmmiete and what isn’t.

    This was never specified in our contract as it just said ‘Warmmiete’ with a price. We are also paying for our own electricity (and internet) ourselves so clearly it isn’t an ‘all-inclusive’ price.

    Following the Mietndeckel our landlord is now trying to add all Nebenkosten on top of our rental price, including building maintenance fees, etc.

    Where do you think we stand when nothing was specified in the contract and it only stated ‘Warmmiete’?

    Thank you,

    James

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/12/2020 at 09:48

      Hey James. Some Nebenkosten can be included in the rent yes. Some others have to be paid the landlord. If you are unsure about which ones are legal, i’d suggest to take your contract and the letters to a Mieterverein in your city. I cannot give you legal advice.

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