House-hunting

How can I find accommodation in the region?

There are a number of housing associations and real estate agents in the region who can help you find suitable accommodation.

It is also worth looking in the real estate sections of the regional daily newspapers or using Internet portals designed specifically for house-hunting.

What should I look out for when I view the accommodation?

Never sign a rent agreement before you have viewed the accommodation.

When you view the accommodation, you should pay attention to various aspects such as:

Does the description of what is on offer generally match the accommodation? Is the specified square meterage correct?

If you are asked to pay an advance payment for kitchen or other furniture, is the price proportionate? Also ask to see the cellar. A damp cellar increases the risk of mould in the accommodation. You should also make a note of any existing defects.

If you rent the accommodation, any defects should be recorded so you will not have to pay for them later.

What documents do I usually need to conclude a rent agreement?

  • Valid ID card
  • Residence permit
  • Proof of income

What costs am I responsible for?

The rent depends on the size of the accommodation. Then there are additional costs shared among the tenants on a pro rata basis. These may include the following: property tax, water costs, sewage, lift, street cleaning, refuse collection, house cleaning, garden maintenance, chimney cleaning, insurance, caretaker, communal antenna, laundry facilities, etc. Water consumption is billed individually using a water meter for each tenant. In Germany, the rent may be specified as “Warmmiete” (warm rent), which is rent including heating, or “Kaltmiete” (cold rent), which his rent excluding heating.

You  must arrange for gas and electricity to be supplied to your accommodation yourself. Nowadays, you can apply online. Braunschweig and Wolfsburg have municipal providers (BS Energy and LSW Energie). However, you are free to choose whichever provider you want. An online comparison can often save you money. Initially, your provider will estimate your annual consumption based on the number of people and the size of the accommodation, which then helps them determine a monthly billing amount. Should you use more than was estimated, you will have to pay for the additional consumption. If you use less than anticipated, the balance will, of course, be refunded.

A deposit will also be stipulated in your rent agreement. This is usually equivalent to about two months’ cold rent (i.e. rent excluding heating), which the landlord retains until the end of the tenancy to cover any damage you may cause.

In addition, every household in Germany is required by law to pay a broadcasting fee to help fund public radio and television broadcasting in Germany.