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Tips and advice for finding accommodation
If you are looking for accommodation in Frankfurt, it makes sense to be there. Landlords are more likely to agree to let a room in a flat-share (WG) or a flat if they have met the prospective tenants. Given the sheer numbers of applicants for a room or a flat-share in Frankfurt, it is very important to show up in person. It is best to arrive as early as possible and arrange temporary accommodation for the first two to three weeks. This enables you to look for permanent accommodation once you have arrived.
If you are looking for a flat or a flat-share, there are often viewings. If possible, go there with someone who speaks German well and can support you. Should you notice any damage to the flat during the viewing, you must ask the landlord what will be done about it – and when you are handed the keys to the flat, this must be included in the hand-over protocol.
Real estate agent’s fee (Maklerprovision): In Germany, the real estate agent’s fee is borne by the landlord if the landlord has commissioned the agent. If you are asked to pay a fee or commission to a real estate agent, you should ask about this.
Tip: The Internationaler Studientreff can match you with fellow students to accompany and help you on viewing-appointments!
Utilities and other charges (Nebenkosten)
Every month, you have to pay utilities and other charges on top of the basic rent (Kaltmiete) for a flat. Both together make up the full rent (Warmmiete). When you view a flat or a room, you should definitely ask the landlord about the amount of these charges and what exactly is included. Above all, this concerns water and heating or sometimes cost for a caretaker; electricity is often charged extra.
Caution: these charges are charged as a flat sum; the actual costs are calculated once a year, which often results in the tenant having to pay more. When you move into a room or join a flat-share, it is likely that electricity, a TV licence and Internet connection are already arranged for. Ask how the costs will be shared. If you move into your own flat, you will have to arrange this yourself. In Germany there are various providers for Internet and electricity for you to choose from.
You must pay a fee for public broadcasters (ARD, ZDF and regional broadcasters) called Rundfunkbeitrag.
Rental contract (Mietvertrag)
Rental contracts are usually templates containing standard phrases. As a rule, you should read the agreement very carefully. At best you have a native speaker to help you. A rental contract should contain the following:
- monthly rent excluding any charges, the so-called Kaltmiete (cold rent)
- monthly charges such as water, taxes, heating, warm water and garbage collection
- beginning and term of the tenancy (in case of fixed-term rental agreements)
- notice period in the case of unlimited rental agreements (as a rule, this is 3 months)
- the tenant’s rights of use (cellar, communal rooms, garden etc)
- agreements regarding renovation when moving out
Be aware that once the rental contract is signed, there is no right of withdrawal! It’s best to have someone else read the contract, if possible someone local. If you can’t find help among your acquaintances, you can also avail yourself of the various legal advice services to help you with your contract (see below).
When you sign a rental contract, landlords will normally ask for a deposit. It is not permitted to ask for more than three times the months’ basic rent for the deposit. Payment of the deposit may take various forms, including installments. If you pay in cash you must ask for a receipt. The money is deposited in an account. When you move out and there is no damage to the flat, the deposit is usually repaid.
Caution: Only transfer the deposit or other costs once the contract is signed and you have seen the flat. There are many incidences where fraudsters try to get people to transfer the deposit in advance.
Moving and registering
Vans for moving
You can hire vans and other useful items for your move, for example boxes and handcarts, with the KFZ-Referat at good rates and pick them up at Campus Bockenheim.
In Germany, flats and rooms are usually let unfurnished. So you will probably have to buy some furniture and accessories.
You can find affordable furniture and accessories here:
- Frankfurt flea market on the Schaumainkai and Osthafen
- Second-hand furniture shop in Frankfurt: www.neufundland-frankfurt.de
- Familienmarkt der Diakonie Frankfurt (second-hand shop run by the Diakonie, a protestant charity - you must show your student ID)
- Ebay: www.ebay-kleinanzeigen.de
- Shpock flea market App: www.shpock.com
- Quoka: www.quoka.de
- Oxfam Frankfurt-Bornheim (household goods and fabrics)
Registering your residence
You must register in person within two weeks of moving into your room or flat with the relevant Bürgeramt (citizens registration office), or local residence authority. You only need your passport and the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung (confirmation of your landlord that you have moved in) for this. The website of the city of Frankfurt has all the necessary information, forms and contact details.
Services & legal advice for tenants
Sometimes when renting an apartment problems might come up. If you have problems or questions concerning your rental agreement or concerning your rights and duties as a tenant, you can turn to different organizations for service and help
Mieter helfen Mietern e.V. in cooperation with the AStA of Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main
|What||legal consultation on tenancy law issues|
|Where||AStA consultation office (RWH) Campus, Campus Westend|
|When||Open consultation hours, Thursdays 16:00-18:00 h|
|How much||Free of charge|
|Further information|| Please bring with you: Student ID and completed Beratungsbogen,
as well as important documents concerning your case of enquiry
Mietrechtliche Beratung, Amt für Wohnungswesen
|What||Tenant rights legal consultation by the Amt für Wohnungswesen|
|Where|| Amt für Wohnungswesen, Adickesallee 67-69, 60322 Frankfurt a.M. Tel.: 069-21240046 (for making appointments)
Tel.: 069-21234711 (service hotline) E-Mail: Mietrechtliche-Beratung@stadt-frankfurt.de
|When||Consultation only with appointment; consultation hours see website|
|How much||Free of charge|
|Further information||Consultation only for one person per household with a net income of up to 2.150 EUR per month|
Tenants association - Deutscher Mieterbund
Associations offer legal consultation on everything around tenantship. To use this service, however, you have to be a member in a local association. Membership fees are about 70—100 EUR per year.
Fellow student services by the Internationaler Studientreff (IST)
The team of the „Internationaler Studientreff“ (IST) can match you with fellow students who accompany you on administrative-appointments or when viewing an apartment and will help you to understand German paperwork. Turn to the IST via E-Mail or use their open consultaion hours.
Legal consultation - Studentenwerk (student services)
Student services offer general legal consultation free of charge for students.
Law & Legal - Law clinic
Legal consultation for students free of charge, for example when you have problems with your landlord concerning repair works etc.