The housing situation in Berlin has become very competitive in the last years due to various factors, including the increasing number of immigrants, international students, and the increase in mobility of the population in general. Therefore, it is highly recommended to begin your search for accommodation early in advance.
Rent is the largest monthly expense for students (on average about € 450 per month for a single room). However, the amount of rent depends mainly on the type of accommodation and where it is located. Under normal circumstances, BMS students attend courses at the three Berlin universities and commute on a daily basis across the city in order to reach them, so finding accommodation in a specific area/ neighborhood is a personal choice. Students may choose to apply for a room in a student dormitory, to find a room in a shared flat, or to rent an apartment independently. Here are some useful links for all types of accommodations.
Student residencies / dormitories
- Studentendorf Schlachtensee: Each year, ten rooms in this student village are reserved for new BMS students on a “first come, first serve“ basis. They are offered to international Phase I students first and to German or Phase II students only when rooms are still available. Each room is fully furnished with a bed, bedlinen, cupboards, shelves, a desk and a chair. Shared bathrooms and kitchens are fully equipped. On-site you can also find a free gym, music rooms, study rooms, a launderette, a supermarket and the student-run bar “Club A18”. The rental period is fixed for one year and starts on 1 September and ends on 31 August. The distance to FU Berlin is about 8 km, to TU Berlin 14 km and 24 km to HU Berlin. In order to apply for one of the rooms, please get in touch with the BMS One-Stop Office.
- Studentendorf Adlershof: This student dormitory is very close to the HU campus in Adlershof, a suburb in southwest Berlin.
- studierendenWERK BERLIN: Almost 9,500 accommodation places made up of single rooms and small apartments are available in 33 student residences across Berlin. Studentendorf Adlershof and Studentendorf Schlachtensee also belong to the studierendenWERK.
- House of Nations: Modern apartments and single rooms for students and trainees in Berlin at reasonable prices at 7 locations spread across the city.
Shared flats (WGs)
Shared flats (Wohngemeinschaften / WGs) are a popular alternative to student residences. Several people live together in a flat they have rented privately: everybody has their own bedroom, while the kitchen and bathroom are shared. The advantage is that all flat mates share all costs (rent, telephone, internet, and utilities like electricity and water), which means that living in a WG is cheaper than living alone. Please note that rooms in shared flats are mostly rented as unfurnished rooms in Germany, so you may need to buy a bed, a desk, bedlinen, shelves and chairs on your own. The following platforms are typically used to find a room in a shared flat:
- www.spotahome.com (furnished, also single apartments/ studios; contact the BMS for a discount code)
- www.easy-living4u.de/en (singles)
- www.berlinovo.de/en (families)
- www.wohngemeinschaft.de (in German)
- www.berlin.studenten-wohnung.de (in German)
- www.wgcompany.de (in German)
If you decide to rent an apartment independently, you are normally the main tenant and as such you have more rights, but also more responsibilities. Please always read any rental agreement (Mietvertrag) very carefully and do not sign or pay anything until you have understood your contractual obligations and rights. Please note that the majority of apartments rented in Germany are completely unfurnished. This means you will need to buy/ collect all of your own furniture – including closets, lamps, refrigerator, kitchen cabinets, etc.
Almost all available apartments (be it from private landlords or public housing agencies) are posted on at least one of the following websites:
- www.immobilienscout24.de (in German)
- www.immowelt.de (in German)
Using the apps of these companies is usually quicker and easier. To find an apartment this way you will usually need the following documents:
• proof of income (salary statements of past three months or e. g. scholarship contract)
• SCHUFA (credit score system in Germany)
• proof that you do not have rental debt from previous landlord (Mietschuldenfreiheitsbestätigung)
• copy of passport (and visa/residence permit)
Before you move in, make a note of any damage or other shortcomings and inform your landlord / housing agency in writing before signing the contract. This will protect you from any possible claims for damages later. You can download a template of a so-called “hand over report” (Übergabeprotokoll) here: www.mieterbund.de/service/uebergabeprotokoll.html (in German)
You should only pay the deposit and first month of rent, once you have seen the apartment and signed the contract. You might encounter scammers that ask you to send them money before viewing the apartment or signing any legal document and then want to send you the apartment key via postal mail. Official housing agencies do not operate like this.
It is also recommended to become a member of a tenant’s association to have legal counsel available in case of conflicts with the landlord/ housing agency. One of these is: https://www.berliner-mieterverein.de/sprachen/englisch.htm
You can often find cheap or free furniture on ebay or various other websites: https://www.ebay-kleinanzeigen.de/stadt/berlin/
Some more helpful guides
After you have found a place to live, you will need to register your address at a "Bürgeramt" in Berlin:
https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/120686/ (click on the blue box "Termin berlinweit suchen" to search all locations for the earliest appointment)
Here is a helpful guide: https://allaboutberlin.com/guides/berlin-burgeramt-appointment