Freitag, 23. Juni 2006

Guide to Renting Out Property in Germany

Who lists property for rent?

In Germany you will usually find two types of rental listing offers: Those from private landlords offering the house or apartment for rent, and those from agencies or brokers. Private people can either be landlords who own the house, or alternatively existing tenants who are looking for someone to take over and step into their terms of contract; or private people or companies who have actually rented a place and want to sublet it, either for commercial reasons or because they have to move to another place for a while. A final possibility would be property management institutions, banks and large-scale portfolio investors.

Who is it better to rent property from?

As in the UK private advertisements in newspapers often bring the lowest rents. As the tenant usually has to pay the agent or broker in Germany (the "Immobilienmakler", "Immobilien Firma" or short "Immobilien"), many tenants try to save this fee and go directly to landlords via these adverts. This procedure can have its problems. Normally by using an agency you deal with professionals who know the rental laws, the rules and how the contract has to be worked out between tenant and landlord. But there may be another issue too. When it comes to negotiating certain points like the rent, work to be done in the house, terms of lease time and so forth, very often both parties are well advised to have an agent as a kind of mediator.
For an investor it is best to work with a reliable agent who knows your language and gives you personal attention.

How to read home listings in papers or online

If you read German home rental listings, you will encounter some particular abbreviations :

2 ZKB = 2 Zimmer, Küche, Bad. That means a flat with two rooms, a kitchen, and a bath. Kitchen, bath, storage cabinets and hallways do not count as rooms. Germany does not list by number of bedrooms, so you have to figure out that - for example 2ZKB probably means one living room and one bedroom.

3 ZKBB = 3 Zimmer, Küche, Bad, Balkon. A balcony is now added in the second B. And another bedroom.

4 ZKBB = 4 Zimmer, Küche, Bad, Balkon. But that can be two bedrooms or three bedrooms. E.g. two bedrooms, living room and dining room.

2 1/2 ZKB = 2.5 rooms. The half room is usually a room that due to its small size cannot be counted as a full room.

The term "Studio" is seldom used. More often you find 1 Zimmer Apartment or 1 Zimmer Wohnung.

ETW means "Eigentumswohnung" and this means a condo or flat for sale within a multiple dwelling house. It refers to sales, not to rentals.

RH = Reihenhaus and is a town house or row house. Usually has only small piece of ground with it.

REH = Reihenendhaus, a townhouse at the end of a line of houses, usually more attractive and with a larger plot.

DHH = Doppelhaushälfte; semidetached home. Bigger than a Reihenhaus.

EFH = Einfamilienhaus; a house for one family. Can be RH, REH, DHH; but normally is being used for a single standing home.

Villa = villa surprisingly enough.

Bungalow = flat house with one level, sometimes with living space in the basement too.

ELW = Einliegerwohnung. Thats a separate small flat within a house, often used for a maid or as a guest apartment or being rented separately.

Mieter = Tenant

Miete = Rent

Vermieter = Landlord, lesser

mieten = to rent (verb)

vermieten = to let (verb)

NK = Nebenkosten; utilities (gas, water, electricity, garbage, tax, etc.)

In Germany flat and house sizes offered for rent are being quoted in m² or square meters (also: sqm or Quadratmeter). How do sqm convert to square feet or square yard? One square meter = 10,764 square feet. To make it easy, just multiply the square meters by 10 and you roughly know the square footage.

Wohnfläche = Net Living space (in sqm). All rooms that are usually used for living, including bath, kitchen, hallway.

Nutzfläche = other usage space not living space (only indoor). E.g. storage, attic, rooms or space smaller than 1.50 meters, rooms with no heating in them or no windows.

Rents are based on the Wohnfläche. A large Nutzfläche however is to be considered with a portion of rent, too.

Other abbreviations

ZH = Zentralheizung. Central heating. Can be powered by gas or oil.

GEH or ETH = Gasetagenheizung. Heating system with gas which is for that one flat only.

source: Assetz Germany

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