Apartment Search

Finding an apartment to rent in Göttingen can be difficult and time-consuming. You can speed up the process by starting to search before you come here and allowing about two weeks of intensive searching here in Göttingen. If you are planning to move with your family, we recommend to find accomodation for everyone first and then bring all family members to Germany. If you are coming here alone or with your partner, we can provide temporary accomodation for you in our guest house. For details, please see: Accommodation

Prices for apartments are usually given as a monthly Kaltmiete or kalt, meaning no utilities are included and you will have to pay e. g. electricity, heating and water extra. Should the rent be listed as Warmmiete or warm, the costs for utilities are already included.

Apartments are usually categorized based on the number of Zimmer, meaning rooms. These "rooms" include bedrooms, living room(s) and dining room(s). Kitchen and bathroom(s) are not included in this number. If the description lists half a room, this usually refers to a very small (storage) room or a space with no door. Apartments are usually unfurnished which means that they are completely bare: no lamps - and mostly no light bulbs, no curtains, no kitchen. Should the apartment be equipped with a kitchen, the ad will usually say so.

For many people who are new to Germany, moving into their first apartment is a little daunting: Not only do they have to bring their own furniture, but literally everything from kitchen sink to washing machine. This can be quite a strain on your budget. However, you can save lots of money by buying second-hand. Sometimes, the previous tenant will also be happy to leave you some of their furniture at a good price.

Knowing what exactly you are looking for, is an important prerequisite for a successful apartment hunt. To this end, it is helpful to get to know "your" new city, walk around different areas and explore the local means of transport.

Ads for apartments

These tips might help you find the right apartment:

Ads for apartments can be found in the classifieds of local newspapers as well as online. The most common websites are:

You will most likely find the ads full of more or less cryptic abbreviations. Don't despair, help can be found here, for example: German Online Institute: German rental abbreviations.

Apartments are let either by the owner, by housing management companies or via real estate agents. If an agent is involved, there will be extra fees for his or her services. Advertisements may be placed by landlords, estate agents or by people who are currently renting an apartment and look for someone to take over their contract. These ads will usually state "Nachmieter gesucht". In this case, there will be no fees or commision for agents but if you are taking over furniture or kitchen equipment, the current tenant will ask you to pay for it.

You will find more detailed explanations and very useful tips here: Just landed.

If you need assistance, e. g. communicating with a prospective landlord, understanding classifieds or paperwork etc, just let us know, we are happy to help!

Rental contract

When you are renting an apartment, you will have to sign a rental contract first. This will contain the exact terms of your tenancy:

  • Duration of the tenancy
  • Basic rent (Kaltmiete)
  • Costs for utilities (heat, water, garbage removal etc.)
  • Notice period (usually 3 month)
  • Amount of the deposit (and details of the interest you will receive for it)
  • Agreement on when you have to renovate the apartment (either when you move in or when you move out)
  • Terms of possible future increases in rent
  • House rules
  • Rules of how to deal with costs for repairs (you might be obliged to pay small repairs up to a certain amount)
  • For furnished apartments: list of all objects covered by the rental contract (Make sure the list is complete and check the objects' condition together with the landlord. Should objects be damaged, make sure this is noted in the contract, otherwise you might have to pay for it when you move out.)


Most landlords will ask you to pay a deposit (usually between one and three basic monthly rents "Kaltmieten") when you sign the rental agreement. This, and any interest that might have accumulated, will be refunded when you move out. However, if damages have occured during your stay in the apartment, the landlord may deduct the repair costs from your deposit.

Kaltmiete (basic rent) and Nebenkosten (utilities)

The monthly rent is the amount you will pay to your landlord each month. This amount consists of the Kaltmiete and additional Nebenkosten for heating, water, building maintenance and cleaning, carbage removal etc. The list of Nebenkosten can be quite long depending on the type of housing you live in. Kaltmiete plus Nebenkosten equals Warmmiete (overall rent).

The amount of Nebenkosten depends on the apartment and its surroundings. It will be listed separately in the rental agreement. Costs for heating, gas, water and electricity normally depend on your consumption. In most cases you will pay a fixed monthly sum based on your consumption during the previous year (or an average estimate if it is your first year). The meters will be read once a year and you will either be refunded or have to pay the difference.

Nebenkosten concerning the entire building, such as garbage removal and cleaning services, are distributed among all tenants depending on the size of their apartments.

As always, this is an outline of how it is commonly done, your individual rental agreement might be different. If anything is unclear or seems unusual, please do not hesitate to ask.

House rules

The house rules will usually be part of your rental contract. They list a number of rules of conduct, such as "There shall be no unnecessary loud noises at certain times" or when you might be expected to clean certain common areas.

Moving in

When you move into a new apartment you have to take care of many things which might work differently than in your home country. The following list will help you get started.

Electricity and gas: Each tenant concludes his or her own contract with a supplier of electricity (and gas, if applicable). You can choose from a number of suppliers, including those you offer special rates for "green" electricity from wind or solar power. You can find a comparison of companies and rates here: www.billig-strom.de.

Voltage and sockets: 220 Volt - 50 Hz. A European standard plug with two contacts will fit all wall outlets. Please check whether you need an adapter.

Heating: Costs for heating are usually part of the overall rent. Some apartments are equipped with individual gas heaters. Should this be the case, you will most likely have to take out your own contract with a gas supplier.

Waste separation

Germany has a rather comprehensive recycling system. In order for this to work, the waste is collected according to categories. You will usually find containers for: paper, glas, packaging, compostable waste and residual waste. Please check which containers are available in your building.

Glas: You will get a refund when you return certain types of glass containers (they are marked with "Pfand"). Non-refundable glass containers are collected separated by colour and re-used to make new containers.

Chemicals: Chemicals or other toxic waste (such as batteries or paints) have to be disposed in specialised depots. Empty batteries can be returned to any place that sells new ones (supermarkets, electronics stores etc.).

Bulky waste: Old furniture and bigger household appliances are considered bulky waste "Sperrmüll". They will be collected by the local garbage companies. If you want your bulky waste to be collected, please contact the Göttinger Entsorgunsbetriebe to make an appointment.

Clothing and shoes: Are collected in containers throughout Göttingen. They are set up by different organizations or companies who will use the clothes, and the returns from re-selling them, for different purposes.

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