Find a short-term rental in Berlin
An overview of furnished apartments and short term rentals in Berlin.
This guide gives you practical tips how to find a flat in Berlin, how to be prepared when visiting, a list of all the documents you need to impress the landlords and tricks to skip the waiting lists!
Do you need a place to live immediately? Please continue with our article on short-term rental in Berlin.
I recommend you get all your papers in order first, see our checklist of documents you need to rent a flat. You should at least have 3 payslips and show that you are creditworthy by having a good Schufa score. Consider staying in a short-term rental until you get the papers in order before you start flat hunting.
The paperwork for renting a flat in a big city in Germany might almost equal the paperwork for buying a flat in another country source. While the background checks might feel a bit over the top you must understand that once you have a proper lease contract, the landlord can basically not terminate the contract unless you do not pay the rent.
Be prepared to wait in line when visiting a flat and that people rush to the landlord and submit files with family stories, job references and all kinds of official documents in order to be at the top of the list of applicants.
Rentals are advertised on websites, newspapers, lamp posts or social media. Once you hear about a flat, get in touch as soon as possible and maybe send already all the necessary documents in advance.
On the day of the appointment, a person which might or might not be speaking English will walk you through the flat and check your credentials. Bring a pen to fill out the application form.
Once you applied and got elected for an apartment, be prepared to pay a deposit (Kaution) into a bank account. The deposit is three months of rent.
The size of the apartment is expressed as the number of rooms and as square meters. The kitchen, hallways, toilets and bathrooms don't count as rooms.
Example: a flat with one sleeping room and a living room as well as a bathroom and a kitchen would be listed as a 2 room apartment.
We have compiled a list of words and acronyms often used in housing ads.
How much space do people in Berlin have?
This is a list of common apartment sizes I see among friends but of course, many Berliners have more or less space.
Please read more in our guide about the costs of renting in Berlin.
Anything between 2 months and 1 year for long-term rentals. The time it takes depends on the location, the quality of the apartment and whether you have a regular salary and good references. Some landlords prefer employees over freelancers. There are less popular but interesting neighborhoods to live in Berlin.
Short-term leases or sublets are easier to find and need fewer formalities.
See our guide about finding a short-term rental in Berlin.
See our checklist with all the necessary documents to rent a flat in Berlin.
These are the big websites where many flats are advertised. Please be advised that many people read these ads so competition is probably high for any reasonable housing offers on these sites. Ads can be in German or English.
Tip: Some of these websites have the option to register your search criteria and then they send you daily or weekly emails with all flats in your categories.
Websites specializing in classified ads have many flat ads as well:
www.craigslist.de is probably less popular in Germany and reportedly often used for scams source so we do not recommend it here.
We highly recommend WG-gesucht.de. This website is specialized in shared apartments, what the Germans call WG, short for Wohngemeinschaft.
Buildings in Berlin are mostly managed by agencies, the so-called Hausverwaltung or HV. You can call an HV directly and ask if they have free flats. There is a list of property management agencies in Berlin here. Often the name and phone number of the agency are written at the entrance of some buildings, usually near the mailboxes.
323.000 flats are owned by the federal state of Berlin source. These are managed by municipal housing associations, the so-called Städtische Wohnungsbaugesellschaften*. Here is a list of the addresses of municipal housing associations. Available flats are listed on their websites or on the website www.inberlinwohnen.de. The biggest associations are:
You will be surprised how many people find a flat by just asking around. Ask anybody you meet: in bars, on the playground, at the job, in your university. There are occasions like I know somebody who knows somebody who is moving to India where flats become available. Often this is only for a short-term rental but sometimes people don't return and want to get rid of their flat by finding a subsequent tenant or Nachmieter.
There are a couple of advantages to this: the tenant doesn't have to renovate anything in the flat like painting walls. The property management has less work because they are presented with a new tenant. You have the advantage that there is no or less competition and that you know the flat already. In some cases, living for some time in a flat might legally entitle you to take over the flat from the former tenant. We recommend this organization which offers tenants' counseling for a small monthly fee.
Often tenants ask their followers to pay a premium to take over existing furniture like a kitchen. This gets misused to ask fantasy prices for very old stuff. While you might be in a weaker position as a Nachmieter because you want that flat so badly there are laws as to the extent of what tenants can ask as a premium. We recommend using legal counseling from the Mieterverein in this case.
Hanging flyers with a reward for anybody who can arrange a flat might be an option too. These flyers are all over lamp posts, university billboards and malls in Berlin.
Small pets, like animals that usually live in cages, don't need approval by the landlord unless they are dangerous (snakes) or cause trouble like too much noise. The contract can say that you are not allowed to keep a cat or a dog. A cat or a dog in the apartment is fine if the contract doesn't say anything but you might have a harder time finding a flat.
Your contract can get terminated if you keep a dog or a cat and your lease contract explicitly says that these animals are not permitted.
Berlin is generally safe but there are some crime hot spots.
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