For members


It’s not impossible: How to find housing in Munich

With the highest rental prices - and arguably demand - in Germany, snagging a flat in the Bavarian capital is no easy feat. Here's how to pull it off.

It's not impossible: How to find housing in Munich
The popular Schwabaring district in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

Step 1: Decide what you want 

How would you like to live? There’s no right or wrong answer: what works for some might not work for others. 

Your options will probably consist of: a room in a flat share (das WG-Zimmer), a studio (das Ein-Zimmer-Apartment) and a flat (die Wohnung). 

Particularly if you’re coming to Munich by yourself or don’t have a lot of contacts here yet, moving into a flatshare might be a good way to kickstart your social life.

Carefully lay out your personal pros and cons – it will be the place where you spend most of your free time (at least during the pandemic).

READ ALSO: Rent prices for new Munich flats rise to over €20 per square metre

Step 2: The right place to search 

Depending on your decision in step one, there are different options on how to find your new home in Munich. 

If you want to move into a shared flat, WG Gesucht will be your best friend. Quick vocab: WG means die Wohngemeinschaft, which means flatshare. Gesucht stems from suchen (to search). On WG-Gesucht you can filter for studios, apartments and flat shares, and it’s also used for finding flatmates.

Other alternatives might be Facebook groups (e.g. WOHNEN TROTZ MÜNCHEN or Salz und Brot)

If you’re looking for your own place: the two most common sites in Germany are: Immowelt and Immobilienscout24.

A tip – sometimes it can be worth signing up for the premium service of these sites to get a first look at apartments when they come on the rental market. We’d advise that you do your homework and see if it could be worth it for your situation. If you do sign up, remember to cancel it (subscriptions in Germany can continue if you don’t take action).

But there are plenty of other options such as: (where you can rent exclusively from private landlords) or You can find many more by typing “Immobilien München” (real estate Munich) into your favorite search engine. 

Apartments in the centre of Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christophe Gateau

For either option, you may also want to check out: 

  • The “Immobilien” (real estate) section in newspapers like Süddeutsche Zeitung and Münchner Merkur. Both also post their offers online, which you can find here and here
  • The websites of well known real estate agencies. Here are some examples: Von Poll Immobilien, Aigner Immobillien, Von Poll Immobilien, Weichselgartner Immo
  • Banks also usually have quite a good amount of flats and houses to sell or rent available. You can find them for example at Sparkasse or VR Bank
  • State-supported projects: Munich has a central portal to apply for apartments rented out by Gewofag. They are usually cheap but modern, and sound too good to be true on Munich’s overheated market. But there’s a downside: To be able to rent most of their apartments, you need to be eligible for government support. You can find more information on their website (currently available only in German)
  • Mietradar24: This startup helps you find interesting offers and even sends your application there all by itself. They also claim to find more and better offers faster than if you just browsed through housing websites yourself 
  • Mitwohnen: Mitwohnen means co-habiting in German and is also a word play on mieten (to rent). The principle: Rent for a reduced fare (or for free even) and help your landlord in return, usually in the household or by taking care of older relatives. It’s a bit like being an Au Pair but usually with less working hours required. This might also be helpful to improve your German

READ ALSO: How to be an au pair in Germany during the pandemic

Step 3: Stand out from the crowd 

Successfully applying for a room or an apartment can look quite differently. Here’s a short guide: 

  • If you apply for a room in a flatshare: Show your personality. Nothing is more boring – and therefore unsuccessful – than writing the same things everyone else does. You’re communicating with people who will live with you, so show them why you’re a great fit. Whip up a standard text about yourself, then adapt it according to what your future flatmates have written in their ad. They love good food – tell them your favourite dish. They’re sporty – tell them about how you gravitate towards hiking outside of the city at the weekend. Try to find common points to connect over
  • If you apply for a flat: The secret to success here is quite the contrary to applying for a flatshare. Show you’re a serious, punctually paying renter that can be trusted to treat the rented property with care. Tell them about yourself and why you’re a great fit for the flat, mention some details about it that you like and why you want to live in this specific area. But: Stay formal
  • For both options, you should have some documents on hand (although they might be much more important when applying for a flat): A copy of your passport or residential title, a SCHUFA document showing you are not known for bailing on your payments, your work contract and perhaps a confirmation of security.

READ ALSO: How to stand out from the flat-finding crowd in Germany

Step 4: Seal the deal 

One important bit of information: If someone asks you to transfer money before you’ve seen the apartment, have met the landlord or future flatmate personally (or at least through a video call), and sign the contract, DON’T!

This is a very common scam to lure people out of money. You will transfer the money, but most likely never actually get to live in the advertised space. In short: Don’t send money ahead. Ever. Not for a deposit, not for the first rent, not for receiving the keys. Just don’t.

READ ALSO: New rent map shows cost of life in Munich

If you’re moving ahead to sign a contract, here are some things to look out for: 

  • How high is the rent excluding all other charges like heating or other costs (die Kaltmiete)?
  • How high is the rent including all charges (die Warmmiete)? 
  • How much is the deposit? 
  • Is the contract limited in time? 
  • Does the contract say if the rent will go up after a certain period of time?
  • Are there any additional charges (e.g. for winter services)?
  • How many square metres are given in the contract? 
  • Is the apartment furnished?
  • Do you have to pay for furniture that will be left in the apartment by your predecessor? 
  • Are you liable for any damages?
  • Will the landlord take care of small repairs (e.g. a leaking sink) or is it your job?
  • What are the rules of the building (e.g. when is ‘Ruhezeit’?)

READ ALSO: Ruhezeit: What you need to know about ‘quiet time’ in Germany

Step 5: How to get comfortable in your new home 

“Nachbarschaft” (the art of being neighbours) is quite important for Germans. So it’s advisable to start on good terms. This will also heighten your chances of someone watering your plants if you’re on holiday, among other things. 

If you’re moving to a small house with only a few apartments it’s a good idea to go from door to door to introduce yourself, perhaps bringing some cookies with you. 

And: Always greet your neighbors, even if just with a simple hallo. Germans love that!

By Lisa Schneider

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For members


Living in Germany: Battles over Bürgergeld, rolling the ‘die’ and carnival lingo

From the push to reform long-term unemployment benefits to the lingo you need to know as Carnival season kicks off, we look at the highlights of life in Germany.

Living in Germany: Battles over Bürgergeld, rolling the 'die' and carnival lingo

Deadlock looms as debates over Bürgergeld heat up 

Following a vote in the Bundestag on Thursday, the government’s planned reforms to long-term unemployment benefits are one step closer to becoming reality. Replacing the controversial Hartz IV system, Bürgergeld (or Citizens’ Allowance) is intended to be a fair bit easier on claimants.

Not only will the monthly payment be raised from €449 to €502, but jobseekers will also be given a grace period of two years before checks are carried out on the size of their apartment or savings of up to €60,000. The system will also move away from sanctions with a so-called “trust period” of six months, during which benefits won’t be docked at all – except in very extreme circumstances. 

Speaking in parliament, Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) said the spirit of the new system was “solidarity, trust and encouragement” and praised the fact that Bürgergeld would help people get back into the job market with funding for training and education. But not everyone is happy about the changes. In particular, politicians from the opposition CDU/CSU parties have responded with outrage at the move away from sanctions.

CDU leader Friedrich Merz has even branded the system a step towards “unconditional Basic Income” and argued that nobody will be incentivised to return to work. 

The CDU and CSU are now threatening to block the Bürgergeld legislation when it’s put to a vote in the Bundesrat on Monday. With the conservatives controlling most of the federal states – and thus most of the seats in the upper house – things could get interesting. Be sure to keep an eye out for our coverage in the coming weeks to see how the saga unfolds. 

Tweet of the week

When you first start learning German, picking the right article to use can truly be a roll of the “die” – so we’re entirely on board with this slightly unconventional way to decide whether you’re in a “der”, “die”, or “das” situation. (Warning: this may not improve your German.) 

Where is this?

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

Residents of Frankfurt am Main and the surrounding area will no doubt recognise this as the charming town of Kronberg, which is nestled at the foot of the Taunus mountains.

This atmospheric scene was snapped on Friday morning, when a drop in temperatures saw Kronberg and surrounding forests shrouded in autumnal fog.

After a decidedly warm start to November, the mercury is expected to drop into single digits over the weekend. 

Did you know?

November 11th marked the start of carnival season in Germany. But did you know that there’s a whole set of lingo to go along with the tradition? And it all depends on where you are. First of all, the celebration isn’t called the same thing everywhere. In the Rhineland, it’s usually called Karneval, while people in Bavaria or Saxony tend to call it Fasching. Those in Hesse and Saarland usually call it Fastnacht. 

And depending on where you are, there are different things to shout. The ‘fools call’ you’ll hear in Cologne is “Alaaf!” If you move away from Cologne, you’ll hear “Helau!” This is the traditional cry in the carnival strongholds of Düsseldorf and Mainz, as well as in some other German cities.

In the Swabian-Alemannic language region in the southwest of the country, people yell “Narri-Narro”, which means “I’m a fool, you’re a fool”. In Saarland at the French border, they shout “Alleh hopp!”, which is said to originate from the French language. 

Lastly, if someone offers you a Fastnachtskrapfe, say yes because it’s a jelly-filled carnival donut. And if you’re offered a Bützchen? It’s your call, but know that it’s a little kiss given to strangers!