Since 1999, Berlin has been Germany’s capital. In 2013, it was home to more than 3.5 million residents. Compared to other worldly cities of note, Berlin has bigger green spaces and more affordable housing. Since you can get by with just a bicycle, owning a car isn’t necessary. Here is what else everyone should look for when it comes to renting in Berlin.

Neighborhoods

Since neighborhoods differ greatly, even within a small area, explore them before signing a lease. This isn’t so much a question of safety as it is of noise levels. Some have nightclubs that don’t close until businesses start the day. However, you can find many quiet streets in between Soviet-era apartment blocks, modern skyscrapers, old-world townhomes and artsy quarters.

Types of Housing

The center of Berlin has a nice mix of different apartment-style housing. This includes century-old apartment blocks, modern high-rises and converted townhouses. If you’re looking for single-family homes, you’ll have to go out a bit farther. Keep in mind that the building quality contrasts significantly and runs from cheaper Soviet-era prefabs to beautifully maintained mansions.

Unfurnished Properties

Most apartments come extremely unfurnished: without carpets, appliances and light fittings. They often lack kitchen cupboards as well. This means that tenants have more leeway when it comes to decorating and furnishing. You’re allowed to paint walls in different colors, but apartments have to be returned to neutral colors upon leaving.

Term Limits

Most leases in Berlin don’t expire. They have no renewal periods and no contract amendments. If you want to move, just give a notice three months in advance. Landlords have to accept this rule and have to give the same type of notice.

Once you have signed a lease, it’s difficult for landlords to get rid of tenants in a quicker time frame. Contracts with time limits usually specify two-year terms. Rent cannot increase more than 20 percent in a three-year time period, and increases can only happen once a year.

Deposit and Utilities

Landlords usually require deposits equivalent to three months’ worth of monthly payments. Rent can come with or without utilities, and the details will be listed in the tenancy agreement. Warm rent includes at least heating bills, and cold rent does not include any utilities.

About Ephraim Vashovsky