Accommodation for students in Germany is mainly not catered for by the universities like in other countries.
Students can however get support from the international office of their university of choice about the current available options for students to get accommodations. Availability of the accommodation and the amount of rent depends on the location of the university. There are different ways to search for the flats and it is recommendable to start with the search as soon as possible. The rents are cheaper in the former East of Germany and in smaller universities cities.
Types of Housing for Students
There are several types of housing for students in Germany. Students can look for accommodation in student hostels (single rooms and apartments), private apartments or in shared flats. The most common type of accommodation is Germany is the shared flats (WG). Students share an apartment where each occupant gets room, and they share the kitchen, bathroom and the living room areas.
The other common type of accommodation is getting a room at the student hostel. The Studentenwerke (a state owned organisation for student affairs) is the most known source of affordable student hostels. This link can help you find the Studentenwerk which is responsible for you. >>Find your Studentenwerk
Most of the student rooms are furnished (see examples below) mostly equipped with a bed, study desk and wardrobes. Beddings and towels are not provided. Self contained apartments within the student hostels contain a kitchen and a bathroom. Within the student hostels, there are also common rooms like kitchen, laundry area and room for entertainment. The Studentenwerke also offer affordable internet access within the hostels.
Searching for Accommodation
As soon as you have the admission letter from the university, it is advisable to start searching for the accommodation as soon as possible. Searching for accommodation through the internet is the most common way of securing an accommodation. Some international offices and Studentenwerke have compiled information about regional accommodation for students. Some sources also offer information about available apartments for a short period of time (Untermiete/Zwischenmiete). These are apartments that can be rented for a particular time. Here are some helpful portals:
The Accommodation Finder gives a very good overview of all student residence halls in Germany. One has to select the location and the name of the university to get the necessary details. The portal indicates the name and address of the hostel, available places, range of the rent and more details regarding the student hostel. Students can also submit an application through the portal.
WG-Gesucht.de is one of the major websites to find a shared flat. Each person has his or her own bedroom, but they all share the kitchen, bathroom and the living room.
ebay Kleinanzeige.de is an online newspaper with different items on sale ranging from household items, electronics, furniture, online courses and property for sale and rental. Check this link for available student rooms.
Bulletin Boards (Schwarzes Brett)
This is another great source of information regarding available apartments for students. The bulletin boards are normally at the information centre within the university and in many student hostels. Some universities have their online bulletin boards like the TUM in München (>>TUM Apartment Listings) and Uni Osnabrück (Schwarzes Brett - Wohnungssuche).
The social media platforms can be very helpful in identifying available apartments in Germany. Here are a few Facebook groups and pages that are actively posting information about free rooms/apartments for students. >> WG Zimmer frei in Mannheim | Studenten Wg Weingarten | Wohnungen frei in Darmstadt | WG Freiburg
This option can be used for temporary housing for a couple of nights. The jugendherbe.de portal has over 500 youth hostels in Germany with charges ranging from 25 euros per night.
Conditions and the Contract
The monthly rate in most student hostels includes the basic rent (Kaltmiete) and the additional costs (Nebenkosten) which sums up to the final rent (Warmmiete). These details should be indicated in the contract. You will also be required to pay for the deposit (Kaution) which is usually 3 months of the basic rent. This amount is refundable when you move out with the condition that you left the apartment in good condition.
Regarding signing the contract, most landlords and the student hostels require the students to be in Germany already for them to sign the contract. But this depends on the terms and agreements discussed.