German Language Blog

Things to know when renting an apartment in Germany Posted by on May 2, 2016 in Uncategorized


Here are a few tips and key words to know if you are looking for a flat in Germany!

Some apartments do not come with kitchen appliances

This is pretty normal in Germany. Your apartment will either not have kitchen appliances in it (stove, sink, fridge…), or if it does you have to buy it off the person who lived there before you. The advantage here is that you can build your kitchen the way you want it. The disadvantage is of course that when you move in, you won’t be able to cook straight away!

This was the day I moved into my German flat, and as you can see, the entire Kitchen (apart from the fridge) is missing! Own photo.

If you say der erste Stock (the first floor) in Germany it doesn’t mean the ground floor

In Germany if you live on the ground floor you call it das Erdgeschoss. This means der erste Stock (the first floor) is technically the second floor for Americans! Take a look below:

Germany:                                                                                            America:

das Erdgeschoss (the ground floor)                                         the first floor

der erste Stock (the first floor)                                                  the second floor

der zweite Stock (the second floor)                                          the third floor

der dritte Stock (the third floor)                                              the fourth floor


Die Warmmiete und Kaltmiete

The rent is separated into categories:

Die Kaltmiete (literally translating to “the cold rent”) is the rent which doesn’t include heating, electricity or hot water.

Die Warmmiete (literally translating to “the warm rent”) is the rent that includes die Nebenkosten (the additional costs). This always includes die Betriebskosten (utility bills). A few examples of what this would cover is the rubbish/garbage collection, a cleaner who cleans the stairwell (if there is one) and depending if you have a boiler or not, the water supply. In some places the electricity, hot water and heating are included in the utility bills, if not you pay them separately every month.

In summary:

die Kaltmiete + die Nebenkosten = die Warmmiete

To end with here are a few key words that will help you when you’re searching!


die Miete                                                                                            the rent

die Warmmiete                                                                               the warm rent

die Kaltmiete                                                                                    the cold rent

der Makler                                                                                         the Estate Agent

die Provision                                                                                the commission

Provisionsfrei                                                   commission free (you save a lot of money if you get a flat that’s Provisionsfrei)

die Kaution                                                                                        the deposit

die Wohnung                                                                                    the Apartment

der Balkon                                                                                          the balcony

drei Zimmer Wohnung                                                     three room apartment

die Wohngemeinschaft                   the shared flat (usually shortened to die WG)

der Keller                                                                          the basement/cellar

der Mietvertrag                                                                the rental contract


Bis zum nächsten Mal,


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About the Author: Larissa

Hello I'm Larissa. I live in Germany and I am half German and half English. I love sharing my passion for Germany with you through my posts! Apart from writing posts I teach fitness classes in Munich.


  1. Jim Busse:

    Thank you for a very informative post. I am thinking of moving to either Hamburg or Hannover for 4 months to continue my knowledge of the German language. When you write “without a kitchen”, do you mean that no appliances such as a refrigerator and stove are available or that there is no place to even install a refrigerator or stove. What about a sink to wash dishes?

    • Larissa:

      @Jim Busse Hi Jim Busse,

      That’s so exciting! If the flat doesn’t have a kitchen there is of course a space to install the kitchen, but it will be empty (no fridge, stove or even sink). It just means you’ll have to buy yourself kitchen appliances! There are flats that do have kitchens but as I say you would have to buy it off the person who last lived there. If you join a shared flat (a WG) then you don’t have to worry as they would already have a kitchen. As you would only be there for 4 months there’s also the option of being an Untermieter (a subtenant). This is when the person who lives in the flat is temporarily not there (for example 4 months) and then finds someone to live in their flat so they don’t have to pay the rent – this would also solve the kitchen problem!

      I hope that helps,

  2. Alcazar:

    Normally apartments do have a kitchen (as a room or part of a room).
    But mostly only the power sockets and connections (?) for pipes and water are “available” and you will have to bring your own cupboard, frigde, stove etc., unless you buy it from the person before you as Larissa said.

  3. Steven Vorwald:

    Hallo Larissa,

    Ich glaube dass du meinst “Mietvertrag”.

  4. Elsa Richardson:

    Hi Larissa,
    It would be great if you would expound upon this topic and give some tips for signing leases and finding apartments in Germany. I’m hoping to get a job teaching English in Germany after I complete my TESL degree and would love some tips!

  5. Brahmadev:

    Danke fuer die Information Larissa

  6. Carlos R. Barron:

    Danke fur das information.
    Carlos ( iN miwaukee, Wi)

  7. Mehrdad:

    love it! tanx

  8. Siddy:

    Hi Larissa,

    I will be moving to Munich by September end. Could you please help me in finding an apartment close to garching.

    Thanks 🙂