Apartment hunting for foreigners in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
New in Germany or Switzerland and looking for an apartment?
We show you how to find your perfect home.
Looking for an apartment is often a difficult matter. Especially in big cities and metropolitan areas you will find a tight housing market. The high demand of apartment seekers meets a low supply of affordable housing. It is even more difficult to look for a place to stay in a foreign country.
Therefore, we have a few tips and tricks for apartment hunting in Germany and Switzerland:
1. Overview when looking for housing in Germany and Switzerland:
You can get an initial overview of the housing market in your destination on various Internet portals for Germany and Switzerland. Here you can narrow down your search by various criteria (price, number of rooms, square meters or district).
2. Language barriers in the apartment search
Unfortunately, most portals offer their ads only in German. If you have little to no knowledge of German, you often understand only a few of the details. The ad is full of abbreviations. But what do DG, KM, EBK mean? Among the most common abbreviations are:
Accommodation search in Germany
If there are still language or other problems with the apartment search, cities or social welfare offices, such as Cologne or the Social Welfare Office in Nuremberg, offer assistance in finding housing.
In case of problems for apartment seekers in Switzerland, various portals offer answers to many questions.
3. In which district would you like to live?
An important decision that must be made when looking for housing in Germany and Switzerland, is in which district you want to move. Especially in large cities, there are a variety of districts that offer different living conditions.
Would you like to live close to the centre with a large selection of bars and restaurants? Or rather on the outskirts in the countryside?
Which transport connections are important to you?
Which people should become your neighbours?
On the Internet, you can find out a lot about the different districts in the cities of Germany and Switzerland. Find out beforehand which aspects are important to you, so that you also feel comfortable in your new city.
4. The right price
The apartment search for foreigners is not only complicated by language barriers, often you also have no knowledge about the rental prices in Germany. This is where the rent index, which is available for apartment hunting in Germany and Switzerland, can help. It indicates the local comparative rent, i.e. how high an average 3 room apartment is in a certain city district. Often this is stated directly on the apartment portals. Inform yourself about the rent index so that you do not pay too much for your apartment.
5. Who helps with legal problems?
After the apartment search in Germany or Switzerland comes the move to the new home. Unfortunately, sometimes not all problems end there, but new ones arise.
Is the neighbour too noisy?
Is the landlord suddenly raising the rent?
What rights and obligations do I have as a tenant?
What is the landlord allowed to do? What is he not allowed to do?
Websites on Swiss and German tenancy law can be an initial source of information.
Should more serious legal problems arise, so that you need legal support, the German Tenants' Association (Deutscher Mieterbund) or other tenants' associations, which exist in many cities and of which you can become a member for a small annual fee, will help you in Germany.
In Switzerland, there is the Tenants' Association of Switzerland, among others, which also helps with legal disputes.
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