Real estate rental properties

Rent an apartment, rent an apartment

According to the Federal Statistical Office, over 50 percent of Germans live in rental apartments. Most tenants change their homes around five times in a lifetime. The reasons for this are different: love, a job, an addition to the family or the desire for change.

Looking for an apartment: How do I find the right rental apartment?

Tenants can find the right apartment, for example by browsing through advertisements from landlords and brokers in the daily newspaper, in advertising papers and on notice boards. Often there is also the category “search for an apartment”, in which searchers present their ideas and can then be contacted by providers. Word of mouth also helps, because many owners of rental apartments rely on recommendations from friends in order to find new tenants. In addition, numerous online real estate portals such as can be found on the Internet. These websites provide the following functions for searching for a rental apartment:

  • Ads: The classic search for real estate advertisements also works online. In contrast to the majority of print advertisements, potential tenants can find out more about the apartment online. The reason for this is that brokers and landlords do not have to limit themselves to a few characters in an advertisement. It is also possible to add photos of the apartment and information on additional costs, energy certificate or the year of construction of the house.
  • Search ad: Not only landlords can place an ad, but also those looking for it. In this way you can reach owners who are specifically looking for tenants. Apartment size, number of rooms and maximum rental costs are the most important contents of the advertisement. Landlords are also interested in information about the number of future residents and existing pets.
  • Bookmarks: This function makes it easier to find interesting apartment advertisements. A comparison of several apartments with each other is quickly possible with the wish list.
  • Search order: If you want to rent an apartment, you can place a search order on He is regularly informed by email about the latest offers that match his search criteria. The specified criteria can be edited or deleted at any time.


Which rental apartment suits me?

Anyone looking for an apartment has a precise idea of ​​the appearance and furnishings. Whether all the criteria can be met depends on the level of personal requirements and the living situation in the city. It is very important to think about your own wishes. However, the willingness to compromise should not be lacking.

Apartment types

Tenants can choose between different types of apartments. Which one is the right one depends on the financial framework and the location. Loft apartments, for example, are expensive in rent and maintenance costs. If you have already decided on a certain type of apartment, this can be specified in the search criteria when searching for an apartment online. offers the following categories to choose from:

  • Duplex apartment: Two-storey rental apartment within an apartment building. Often it is on the upper floor, the second level is in the converted attic.
  • Floor apartment: All apartments from the first floor of a residential building. In contrast to the maisonette apartment, the rooms are on the same level.
  • Apartment: This term has two meanings. On the one hand it can be a normal apartment with mostly upscale furnishings, on the other hand it can be a granny flat. This is a small additional apartment with its own entrance within a large family house.
  • Loft: Rented apartment with a generous area in former industrial buildings. There, storage and industrial halls were converted into upscale living spaces.
  • Penthouse apartment: Detached, luxurious apartment that was placed on the roof of a house.
  • Terrace apartment: Apartment with terrace.

Old building or new building?

The definition of old and new buildings is not always clear. Houses built after 1945 and renovated old buildings are referred to as new buildings. The term old building includes all buildings that were built before 1945. In common parlance, houses built between 1945 and 1980 are also often referred to as old buildings.

The search mask on offers users two options under "Additional criteria":

1. Searchers can click under "Features & Features" to choose whether they prefer an old building or a new building. The synopses appear in the results, which contain the relevant note.
2. Specifying the year of construction in the input field provided also helps. In this way, only properties that were built within the specified period appear in the results list.

Equipment of the rented apartment

The basic equipment of your own rental apartment is important in order to feel good in the long term. First of all, those wishing to move should be clear about the required number of rooms and the living space. Both depend on the number of future residents.
When calculating the number of rooms, please note that the bathroom, kitchen, basement room and balcony are not to be included in the calculation. Only bedrooms, children's rooms, living rooms and other rooms that are used for living and sleeping are included in the number of rooms in advertisements.
Once the required number of rooms and the living space have been determined, additional equipment features can be selected using the online search at

  • Equipped kitchen
  • bathroom with window
  • Bathroom with tub
  • Garage / parking space
  • basement, cellar
  • Free of commission
  • Passenger elevator
  • Garden / balcony / terrace
  • Renovated / refurbished
  • Barrier-free / for seniors
  • Pets Allowed

If a feature is not in the selection list, it can be added to a further search field. In this way, apartments can be found that are furnished or have underfloor heating, for example.

How much rent can i afford?

The next step is to get an overview of the housing market: In which area can I afford an apartment according to my ideas? As a guideline, rent excluding charges, ancillary costs, electricity and heating costs should not amount to more than a third of the monthly net income.

It helps to determine the maximum rent including electricity and heating that you can afford. This includes all fixed costs for those looking for a home: for example, spending on food, insurance, internet, cars, mobile phones and club fees. Irregular burdens such as vacations and gifts are also to be reassigned to twelve months. If you subtract the total fixed costs from the net income, this results in the monthly amount available. Now you have to consider whether you want to spend all of the money on renting an apartment or whether you want to leave a cushion for emergencies.

Rent apartments: with or without an agent?

In online portals you can find both commission-free apartments and properties that are managed by a broker. A good real estate professional is characterized by the fact that he not only supports the owners. He also helps potential tenants. During the viewing appointment, the real estate expert informs those looking for an apartment about the details of the rental apartment and the general terms and conditions of the rental agreement:

  • Amount of rent, utilities, deposit and parking space
  • Earliest and latest move-in date
  • Details of the ancillary costs: Does this include cleaning the general areas or do the residents of the house take care of it?
  • Information on the property such as the last renovation and type of heating

In addition, the real estate agent maintains contact with the apartment owners and handles the entire process from making appointments with interested parties to signing the rental agreement. The realtor is paid by the owner.
What many do not know: tenants can also hire a professional to find suitable rental apartments.

Contact the landlord or broker

Anyone who has found an interesting apartment offer should contact the responsible contact person by phone or email. Usually this is the real estate agent, in the case of commission-free apartments the owner is the right contact person. You should have the most important data ready:

  • Address, online ID or reference number of the apartment so that it is clear which advertisement it is about.
  • Your own contact details, under which you can be reached during the day. A telephone number is ideal.
  • Time limit as to when a viewing appointment would be possible, for example on the weekend or in the evening.
  • First questions that are best clarified before the visit. This includes, for example, questions about keeping animals or the existence of a fitted kitchen.

Mission apartment viewing: This is to be observed

The appointment for viewing the apartment makes the most sense during the day. Because then the potential tenant can assess the brightness of the apartment and identify any deficiencies better. If it can be arranged, a second visit in the evening is also recommended. Because the majority of residents are not at home during the day. After work, the noise level in the house can be better assessed.

When viewing the apartment, interested parties should take the time to take a close look at the rental apartment. Is there any visible damage to the apartment, water damage or evidence of mold growth on walls and ceilings? Are radiators, flush toilets and taps working? Are doors and windows easy to open and close? Are there sources of noise or odor nuisance in the immediate vicinity?

As soon as you have found an apartment that meets your own requirements, you can apply with the required documents. As a rule, interested parties receive a self-disclosure form when viewing the apartment. It is used to provide personal data. This includes, for example, salary, previous address, marital status and the number of people moving into the apartment. Questions that are considered discriminatory are inadmissible: family planning, membership in parties or associations, nationality, illnesses, criminal record and religion are therefore a private matter. In addition to self-disclosure, a copy of your identity card and a proof of your salary are often required. As a rule, the relevant extract from the employment contract or the pay slips for the last three months is sufficient for this.

In the case of self-disclosure, all necessary information must be answered truthfully. As soon as the landlord has checked the data and has decided on a tenant, he will notify the interested party.

Lease - what is important

If an interested party has decided to rent an apartment and the provider decides in favor of him, it is time to sign the lease. Both parties have to do this. In addition to the general information that a rental agreement contains, there are clauses that should be checked before signing:

  • Does the lease include a cosmetic repairs clause? Some clauses are invalid. If nothing is recorded on this topic, the tenant is not obliged to carry out renovation work.
  • Is animal husbandry allowed? Clauses that prohibit the keeping of animals do not apply to small animals. Small animals are always allowed. If you want to keep large animals such as dogs, you need the landlord's permission.
  • Is there a minor repairs clause? If such a clause can be found in the contract, the resident is obliged to carry out minor repairs such as leaky faucets.
  • How are additional costs settled? If a corresponding meter is installed, heating and hot water are usually billed according to consumption. The billing of the other ancillary costs is based on the living space, unless otherwise specified

Current judgments and reports can be found in the category Law and Taxes on The guide to tenancy law offers further information.

Before moving to the new rental apartment

Once the rental agreement has been signed and the apartment handover is complete, there is one last hurdle to overcome: moving to the new rental apartment. Good preparation is important so that everything goes quickly on the day of the move. The following tasks are helpful for this:

  • Booking a professional moving company if necessary.
  • Look for moving helpers who can help with carrying and assembling.
  • Buy enough moving boxes. A standard size box per square meter is realistic. To save money, it is worth searching online for used cardboard boxes on classifieds portals.
  • Obtain other aids such as a hand truck, packing blankets, furniture rollers, adhesive tape and bubble wrap.

Our moving guide provides more information about changing your place of residence.

Rental apartment checklist

A lot can go wrong when looking for an apartment. So that everything runs smoothly with the new rental apartment, our checklist helps to identify traps and problems at an early stage.

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The seven most important tenant obligations

Tenants have many rights - but also obligations. You should observe your tenant obligations so that the tenancy runs smoothly.

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Rental agreement: what to look out for

A rental agreement regulates rights and obligations. Five tips on what new tenants should look out for before signing.

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