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Hi there!

A long time ago, my husband and I moved to the UK after living in Malta for quite a while. We have also lived in France, Ireland, and now with the whole Brexit fiasco, we're looking at moving permanently from the UK. My permanent residence would be 'acquired' exactly 2 months after we're supposed to be leaving the EU, and I don't hold my breath that the UK will honour the original immediate granting of permanent residence after 5 years residence after leaving. So the timing is quite royally ****ty.

That being said, I'm starting to plan for our next adventure and we're looking at two contenders - Amsterdam in the Netherlands, or Germany. I am leaning more towards Germany and so is my husband. I'm aware of all the processes with registering and all of the beurocratic stuff.

What I'm struggling with is how to find a rental. I've been advised that it can be difficult to find rentals in Germany, and that they are often unfurnished (our preference anyways). So I've been told to expect I may need temporary accomodation when we first move. So I'm wondeirng if any of you amazing people could point me in the direction of sites, documents, anything, to help me better understand our options in terms of renting when we go there. We are both high earners with full time jobs as well as our own limited company where we do contract work out of. So I'm reasonably positive we could prove financial standing to get a rental. But I expect that wouldn't be enough, from what I've read. Any help would be massively appreciated. We also have 2 dogs, which I have heard Germany is very pet friendly, but I'm not sure what kind of impact this would have on our chances of finding somewhere. We also have our last 2 landlords over a period of 5 years who can confirm in writing even with pets we actually left the rentals in better condition than we recieved them.

Thanks for reading this!

Jen
 

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Not sure if it is harder in Germany than other places to find a rental.

I'd first check the online portals (big ones are www.immonet.de and www.immobilienscout24.de) to see what's there. You can look for both houses and flats there, it's German only, but shouldn't be too hard to understand the gist of the listings. You can also go through a real estate agent (just google "Immobilien Makler" with your desired city, there should be many english speaking agents in the big cities.)

You are right, flats / houses are usually rented unfurnished. Really annoying in Germany is that the kitchen often is not included with the flat, you either have to buy the kitchen from the previous renters or bring your own. I know, it's stupid. When you move in, 3 months worth of rent is usually used as a deposit ("Kaution"). One more thing: rent is usually quoted "cold", that means without running costs like heating, electricity etc.

Good luck!
 

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Be aware that in Germany meanwhile landlords and agents expect an application letter from candidates for a flat.
It 's like a job application, sad but real. Too many people hunting for too less flats at least in hot spots like Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt ect.
for your search helpful could be https://www.ebay-kleinanzeigen.de/s-wohnung-mieten/c203
because it 's free of charge.

In Germany the principal has to pay commission, f.i. landlord to agent, so many landlords avoid help of agents and are offering by itself.

Good luck to you
 

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Hi there!

A long time ago, my husband and I moved to the UK after living in Malta for quite a while. We have also lived in France, Ireland, and now with the whole Brexit fiasco, we're looking at moving permanently from the UK. My permanent residence would be 'acquired' exactly 2 months after we're supposed to be leaving the EU, and I don't hold my breath that the UK will honour the original immediate granting of permanent residence after 5 years residence after leaving. So the timing is quite royally ****ty.

That being said, I'm starting to plan for our next adventure and we're looking at two contenders - Amsterdam in the Netherlands, or Germany. I am leaning more towards Germany and so is my husband. I'm aware of all the processes with registering and all of the beurocratic stuff.

What I'm struggling with is how to find a rental. I've been advised that it can be difficult to find rentals in Germany, and that they are often unfurnished (our preference anyways). So I've been told to expect I may need temporary accomodation when we first move. So I'm wondeirng if any of you amazing people could point me in the direction of sites, documents, anything, to help me better understand our options in terms of renting when we go there. We are both high earners with full time jobs as well as our own limited company where we do contract work out of. So I'm reasonably positive we could prove financial standing to get a rental. But I expect that wouldn't be enough, from what I've read. Any help would be massively appreciated. We also have 2 dogs, which I have heard Germany is very pet friendly, but I'm not sure what kind of impact this would have on our chances of finding somewhere. We also have our last 2 landlords over a period of 5 years who can confirm in writing even with pets we actually left the rentals in better condition than we recieved them.

Thanks for reading this!

Jen


You are right. Most rentals in Germany are often unfurnished ('completely' unfurnished ... right down to no light fittings and loose wires etc). Some landlords even expect you to 'buy' the white goods (cooker, fridge, washing machine etc) that are 'sold on' by the previous tenants. The best places to look (besides online, of course) are the local newspapers. Where are you planning on moving to in Germany? I know that you said you are already aware of the bureaucratic hurdles, but Germany is packed with bureaucratic hurdles and it's getting tighter. You normally won't be able to simple move there legally and start renting without first registering with the authorities (the Einwohnermeldeamt for starters). You might want to try for an Airbnb in your chosen city while you're looking for a home. You can also place an ad in a local paper, of course. I would go for an Airbnb and take it from there. There are some reasonable good deals around on a long-term basis depending on the region.
 

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I forgot to ask what nationality you are? Unless I'm mistaken, you don't mention this and it's quite important.
From the subject line, one spouse is EU and one is not. But with Brexit, if the EU is UK that might add to the fun.

Another thing to consider, quite apart from renting a flat, is the tax implications of being self-employed, plus health insurance. Not straightforward when one makes it a permanent move.

If there's plenty of money to go around (the OP did say "high earners") then many things can of course be smoothed over - just pay a wretched agent a big commission to find you an expensive flat with a nice built-in kitchen. But before then you might want to engage an expat-friendly accountant and insurance broker to run some numbers on what it would cost you to live in Germany. I would go ask around on the forum-that-cannot-be-named-here (google "toy" and "town" and "germany").
 

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From the subject line, one spouse is EU and one is not. But with Brexit, if the EU is UK that might add to the fun.

Another thing to consider, quite apart from renting a flat, is the tax implications of being self-employed, plus health insurance. Not straightforward when one makes it a permanent move.

If there's plenty of money to go around (the OP did say "high earners") then many things can of course be smoothed over - just pay a wretched agent a big commission to find you an expensive flat with a nice built-in kitchen. But before then you might want to engage an expat-friendly accountant and insurance broker to run some numbers on what it would cost you to live in Germany. I would go ask around on the forum-that-cannot-be-named-here (google "toy" and "town" and "germany").
You're right. I noticed that info later. You're also right when you say that if the EU is UK, that might add to the fun. Also, being high earners doesn't mean that they can simply up and move to Germany. Lots of things to consider.
 

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You're right. I noticed that info later. You're also right when you say that if the EU is UK, that might add to the fun. Also, being high earners doesn't mean that they can simply up and move to Germany. Lots of things to consider.
But being high earners with at least one EU passport (never mind the Brexit) makes life a hell of a lot easier. You have movement rights, and you can buy the assistance you need to find an apartment and deal with the bureaucracy. Germany might however be relatively expensive from a tax and health insurance standpoint.

(Actually I need to qualify the point about movement rights. EU citizens can move freely to study or work. But local authorities may not regard being employed remotely from outside the country as equivalent to being employed within the country, so it's not absolutely guaranteed in that case. Safer to be self-employed with clients outside the country of residence, and set up the taxes accordingly.)
 

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You are right. Most rentals in Germany are often unfurnished ('completely' unfurnished ... right down to no light fittings and loose wires etc). Some landlords even expect you to 'buy' the white goods (cooker, fridge, washing machine etc) that are 'sold on' by the previous tenants.
Rental laws depend on the Bundesland or maybe even municipality. Furnished flats are rare and often very expensive.

Loose wires are illegal in any case - there should be light switches and sockets and all electric work should have been carried out by a certified electrician.

Doesn't mean that in the current housing shortage landlords don't manage to rent out flats in a deplorable condition because people are desperate.

In Berlin, the landlord HAS TO, by law, furnish a cooker and a sink but no kitchen cabinets, fridge or any other white goods. In many cases Germans like to just waive their right to the cooker/sink because they want to install their own kitchen with built-in appliances. Which makes more or less sense since Germans tend to stay in the same flat for a long time, often several decades.

Light fixtures, curtains or floor coverings are also not provided by the landlord.

So yes, renting a flat in Germany can mean that there are bare, badly painted floorboards, no possibility to turn on the light and no place to put your crockery and cutlery.

'Wohnen auf Zeit' could be a good way to start out - subletting the flat of somebody while they are working or studying abroad for a few months or a year.
 

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When I say "loose wires", ALKB, I don't mean 'live' wires. I just mean the wires that, for example, hang down from the ceiling when the light fittings have been removed. That's not illegal as long as they've been made safe. Several years ago, my wife and I stayed for some weeks in a hotel in Nürnberg while we were looking for an apartment. It was so difficult to find something even remotely decent within our price range (a couple of places looked and smelled like zoos) that we eventually placed an ad in two local papers. Within a couple of hours, an old man called me to offer us a small top-floor apartment that he and his wife rented out in their home. It had a bed room, a living room/kitchen, shower, toilet and its own entrance with a key. It was nicely furnished, too, but we bought a new bed from Ikea. The old couple (they were in their 80s) also allowed us to use their Internet connection. Amazingly, the rent was only 350 Euros a month plus a very small charge for electricity and heating. We stayed there for 6 months and it was fine. There was even a subway station just around the corner. We hit it lucky, but not before we paid a fortune in hotel bills. These days, we use Airbnb for shorter stays. For very long stays, we naturally rent a property unless we can get a reasonably priced long-term Airbnb. I would always advise putting an ad in a local paper as quickly as possible.
 

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I too have fond memories of moving into an apartment and living by the light of a desk lamp until we could borrow a ladder and connect some cheap Ikea fixtures to the wires dangling down from the ceiling. At least that place had a built-in kitchen.

Some years earlier we'd shared a flat with someone who was too disorganized to tape off the wires sticking out of his ceiling, which were of course in contact. He'd warn guests not to touch the light switch because doing so would trip the breaker.
 

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One more reason to be thankful for the lovely 12-foot ceilings in an Altbau - you won't electrocute yourself by grazing the wires with your head.

Though the elevation makes climbing a ladder rather spannend.
 

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One thing to remember about kitchens is that, although you often have to supply your own, there is a huge choice of reasonably priced kitchens on sale.
When I first arrived in Germany I found my first flat through the local newspaper’s classified ads.
 
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