If you are considering studying in Hamburg, you need somewhere to live. Let us take a look at what you need to do in order to obtain living quarters in Germany without a lot of hassle.
The quickest way to find a place to live in Hamburg is by going through a real estate agent (German: Immobilienhändler). Now, the problem with using an agent is how much they cost; if they find you somewhere to reside, they want you to pay between two and three months of rent for an upfront fee (deposit). So, if you find a home using this method, you may end up paying up to 6 months’ worth of rent (between two to three months to your landlord for a security deposit) before you even move into the house. And depending on how much your rent is, that can be a lot of cash.
Of course, there are other methods to find an apartment if you start looking ahead of time. You can look at newspapers; listen to others through word of mouth, and search the Internet. As the Internet becomes more advanced, it is becoming easier to find overseas accommodation options. There are plenty of websites that can help you find accommodation in Hamburg, and many of them will give you virtual tours and connect you with the right people.
If you are looking for an apartment or home to reside in when you study in Hamburg, there are a variety of things that you should know. Terminology is one of the most important things to understand: most countries would refer to an apartment as having two bedrooms; that same house would be referred to as a “four room” apartment in Germany. So what is included in the room count? Living areas, dens, dining rooms, and bedrooms are included in the room count. Bathrooms (also referred to as WCs), kitchens, and hallways are not included.
When you are looking for an apartment in Hamburg, you’ll notice that furnished apartments are relatively rare. If you are lucky enough to find them, they will be much more expensive than their unfurnished counterparts. Now, unlike their counterparts in the United States, unfurnished means unfurnished. There are no cabinets, no cupboards or closets, and no lighting fixtures. Things that we take for granted in American rentals are not included in German ones: stoves, refrigerators, wardrobes, curtain rods, and lights are your problem to deal with.
If you are considering renting in Hamburg, you should consider hiring a lawyer and/or legal advisor that speaks fluent German. Even if you understand German, the lease may be beyond your comprehension. The leases may contain items that you’d normally see in American leases, like an annual rent increase or responsibilities that you may not expect. Termination is difficult; unless the circumstances are extraordinary (transfers are much easier to do than terminations, though).
There are two parts to monthly rent payments in Germany. The actual rent cannot be changed for the whole of the lease, but the second part, called the Umlagen or Nebenkosten can be. The latter is for those costs that are variable: property tax, heat, cleaning, rubbish disposal, water, and sewerage may be part of that. In some cases, the latter can also include electricity and gas. These details will be worked out with your landlord at the time of signing your lease.
Rent averages €650 per month for a three-room (1 bedroom) apartment in the centre of the city. Outside of the centre of the city, that drops to about €475. If you are looking for a five-room apartment, those run at approximately €1900 per month in the city (this is prohibitively expensive for most people), and outside of it, around €850. These vary depending on your location and on your landlord, but these are good numbers to use as you budget for your time of study in Hamburg
Overall, the leasing process in Germany is very similar to what you would experience in other parts of the world. It’s not a difficult process as long as you understand what is going on and how to work with it. If you are considering studying in Hamburg, it is definitely worth your time and energy to do the appropriate research to get the best deal when it comes to your living quarters.
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