As part of cost of living series in Germany, this articles delves more into the accommodation needs, which typically takes up 50% of the budget in a month

There cannot be enough emphasis on the fact that getting accommodation is generally difficult in Germany, but not impossible. Simply due to more demand than current supply. Searching for student accommodation in Germany can be categorized in 5 ways.

  1. Through the Public University offers
  2. Through Private Housing companies targeting students
  3. Through Housing companies targeting all sorts of consumers, like working class and families
  4. Through subletting means via online providers or personal friends
  5. Through temporary options
  6. Public University offers

The German public universities try as much as possible to offer accommodation options to their students. The body responsible in centralizing and distribution of student rooms on behalf of the public universities in various German cities is known as Studierendenwerk. Depending on city of study, e.g in Berlin, it is known as Studierendenwerk Berlin

If you are a student studying upto masters level and below the age of 30, you have a higher chance of getting accommodation with Studierendenwerk.

Steps for application would include going to their website. Select the housing option and fill in the details, once submitted, then keep checking your email daily. Ensure click on the link sent to your email to remain in the waiting list. At times if you are doing a course like PhD, you may be lucky enough to have a supervisor who arranges all this for you including your pick up from the airport, so best to know what options you have.

Accommodation would cost on average upto 200€, and is the cheapest option available for a considerably good quality for student accommodation.

2. Private Housing companies targeting students

This mainly targets students in public universities who are over 30 years old taking up the master’s course, as well as students in private universities. Such companies include House of Nation, Studentendorf, Studentenwerk, Berlinovo

Accommodation would cost on average around 400€, and this could be more depending on location and size of the room.

3. Private and Public Housing companies targeting all sorts of consumers

As a student, you can also opt to search for accommodation with the general population. This comes with a bit more stricter requirements, and you may have a lower chance at getting an apartment for yourself, however when you team up with a friend or two from your school , through combined effort you may be able to secure accommodation in this way. Some of the documents required include:

  1. Schufa Report – credit score report to show your trustworthiness on paying up your bills while in Germany
  2. Monthly income, Previous 3  Payslips. Bank statement is not usually a priority, but stable income flow is what is most important to show/ or Affidavit of support from sponsor
  3. Rental debt exemption certificate from previous landlord

The housing providers could be Deustche Wohne, Gewobag, Degewo, and you can search through platforms like Immobilienscout

Depending on the city and how many rooms the apartment is, Accommodation would cost on average from 500€ upwards, for a student budget, it may not be cost effective unless sharing the costs with a fellow student roommate

4. Through subletting means via online providers or personal friends

This is usually the easiest and fastest way to acquire accommodation as compared to the other means. Essentially what happens, there may be house owners who have extra rooms in their houses that are empty, and due to various reasons, may decide to rent out those extra rooms in their house. In such cases, the house owners should be able to provide everything in the house, and all bills included in the rent. You will sign the rental contract directly with the house owner, and not with the actual landlord, so you are a subtenant. The disadvantage of this kind of arrangement is that the owner of the house might overcharge with the rental expense, as there is no limit on how much they can charge you.

Some of the websites where you can easily get subletting rooms are like Facebook Market, WG Gesucht and WG suche

5. Temporary options

Final option on getting accommodation in Germany would be the classical route of booking hotel, AirBnB or hostels.

These are options that can also be looked on the website by either the specific hotel names, or hotel search sites such as

Hotels would be the most expensive options obviously, with average daily rate of 100€ per night. AirBnB might be a bit more cost effective option compared to hotel, as you also get the option to cook on your own, and might cost an average of 30€ per night

One can also book public hostels, which are paid for at daily rates as well, and they may also agree to offer city registration details for Wohnung anmeldung if you have not managed to get accommodation yet. The average cost per night might be around 15€ per night

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