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 ! 🙂


  • Reply Daniela 29/07/2018 at 08:41

    Hello everyone, my boyfriend and I are moving to Passau next September. We are looking already for options online. Nevertheless, we have been told not to sign anything until we have a chance to see the apartment first. I have recently contacted someone offering an apartment but I am not really sure if it is warm or cold rent. These are the fees:
    Miete: 470€
    Nebenkosten: 120€
    Sonstige Kosten: n.a.
    Kaution: 1410€

    In the nebenkosten item is it included gas, electricity, water and Internet costs? How do I know?

    On the other hand, the guy offered me the option to sign the contract by email and asked me this info to get it done: names, date of birth, copy of passport, emailadresses and handynumbers.
    Is it usual? What is your advice?

    Best, Daniela

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/07/2018 at 22:46

      Hey Daniela. So short response is : it depends, sometimes Nebenkosten might include heating or electricity, depending on the contract. But yeah in general, just wait to see the flat first.

  • Reply Mobin 25/04/2018 at 05:13

    Hello friends, I’m currently living in Munich at a private campus dorm. I have recently purchased an air conditioner due to the up coming hot summer. I was wondering, if I had to pay extra for my electricity due to more usage, although all the utilities are included in the rent. Just want to make sure If there is a limit. Thank you in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/04/2018 at 09:18

      Hi Mobin. You should check your contract what applies in that case.

  • Reply Jym 04/04/2018 at 07:59


    I have a question about housing contract. I recently signed a contract with starting 15.04.2018. The contract is for 12 months and after that I have to give a notice of 3 months before leaving the apartment. As per agreement, I pay the deposit and collect the keys before 15.04, but at the moment I haven’t paid anything yet. Due unforeseen circumstances, I no longer want to rent the apartment(nothing wrong with the apartment). If I want to cancel my rental contract now (its been less than a week since i signed it), what would be the repurcussions? Is it possible to do so, if so will I have to pay them to cancel my contract? Could you please help me or direct me to the place?

    Thanks for the help!


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/04/2018 at 15:21

      Hi Jym. You may want to check the part of the contract that is about “Widerrufsrecht”, which defines the conditions to cancel the contract after signing it. Maybe there is a clause allowing you to cancel it. However, as a rule, you cannot get out of it. Source.

  • Reply Neeraj Kumar 30/12/2017 at 19:32

    My rent is 680 Euro but i pay 100 euros extra each month along with my rent to my landlord ( which i think for the Warm Rent )
    i pay separately for the electricity and internet by myself.
    But this whole winter , most of the time, i was traveling outside Germany and did not user heaters too much.

    Now my question is what is going to happen with extra 100 euros that i have been paying to my landlord since July , 17 ?
    If i am paying for my electricity monthly , then how this 100 euros each month will be setteled in the end ? How would landlord know how much heating or warm water did i use ??
    Kindly suggest.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/12/2017 at 21:34

      Hi Neeraj. Depending what it says on the contract, there will be Jahresabrechnung of the Nebenkosten, which in turn can result in a refund if you paid too much.

  • Reply Dan 22/04/2013 at 14:41

    Could you elaborate on the terms of utilities contracts? Do you have to commit to a year or something? In the States, I’m used to just paying for those on a month-to-month basis and being able to terminate them whenever I want.

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 28/04/2013 at 18:38

      It depends. For example, speaking for Berlin here, Vattenfall is sort of the standard electricity provider if the tenant or the landlord has not switched to another one. In this case, commitment is quite limited and i think only a 1-month notice is required before getting out of the contract. When switching to another provider, a one year commitment is pretty standard but can be tied to price-guarantees. (If price for electricity goes above a given threshold per Watt/hour, you can get out of the contract whenever you want). You can also pay on a monthly basis.

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