German-style Renting

Modern apartments
Modern apartments
The majority of Leipzigers are long term renters. And therein lies an issue for new residents who are in Leipzig for only a short or an uncertain period of time. The market for short or medium term furnished rental property is not as developed as it could be. Standard German tenancy contracts or what I call ‘German-style’ renting dominates the market. This usually involves installing your own kitchen and always requires providing your own furnishings right down to curtains and light fittings. As well landlords often want to check your local references and income sources before handing over keys.

German tenancy laws tend to favour tenants and this combined with cheap and tightly controlled rents allows Leipzigers to do up their rental property and make it a long-term home. It’s no wonder the average tenancy here is seven years.
 

HOW MUCH

There is a wide selection of modern and older rental stock to choose from and rents are well below that of comparable European cities. It is still possible today to rent a small apartment in a decent area for a basic rent (called cold rent or “kaltmiete”) around €200/month. Try that in Berlin.

An indicative price floor for new rentals in Leipzig is set at €4.22/m2 for basic cold rent (‘kaltmiete’). This is the social rate paid by government on behalf of tenants receiving social welfare. The majority of new private rental agreements will be for higher than this in the €4.25-7.50/m2 range but you can still find some bargains at the €4.00/m2 level. Landlords are not free to charge whatever they like and must charge rent in accordance with Leipzig’s official mietspiegel (“rent index”). This document sets the precise legal basis for rents based on unit size, quality and features.

Accommodation (German style) - per sqm mthlyAverage EUR
Utilities total (electricity, heat, internet etc.)1.75 €
Basic rent, central (per sqm) - low4.00 €
Basic rent, central (per sqm) - high8.50 €

 
Standard German tenancy contracts are open-ended and tenants have strong rights preventing them from being evicted. These types of rental contracts are the norm. The mietspiegel limits the maximum annual rent increases. Note that the mietspiegel does not apply to fixed-length contracts which are typically associated with short-term furnished lettings. (See our section on furnished rentals).

Check out the examples below seen in letting agents windows.

Studio apartment This 46m2 studio apartment (a large one, most studios are 28-35m2) in Südvorstadt was advertised for €230 kaltmiete (“cold rent”). Tenant pays this plus the warmmiete (“warm rent”) supplement to cover hot water, heating, garbage, and a portion of communal electricity usage. Total rent payable by the tenant is €336 per calendar month. A refundable €460 deposit (“kaution”) is also required.

This is a good unit in a nice part of Leipzig. It has a balcony, allocated parking spot, and separate storage. Kitchen area and bathroom tiled. No kitchen or appliances and you’ll have to furnish it completely.

(click photo to enlarge)

This huge 73.73m2 one bedroom apartment in Plagwitz was advertised for €368.65 kaltmiete (“cold rent”). Tenant pays this plus the warmmiete (“warm rent”) supplement to cover hot water, heating, garbage, and a portion of communal electricity usage. Total rent payable by the tenant is €516.65 per calendar month. A refundable €737.30 deposit (“kaution”) is also required.

It’s a dual aspect unit overlooking front and back on first floor with a spacious balcony. Kitchen area and (very spacious looking) bathroom are tiled. No kitchen or appliances and requires complete furnishing.

(click photo to enlarge)

Huge 3-bedroom apartment This 113m2 apartment in Plagwitz (Lindenau) for €4/m2 is priced below the social rate. Advertised for €453 kaltmiete (“cold rent”) plus €85 warmmiete (“warm rent”) for total of €538 rent per calendar month. The deposit (“kaution”) is 2 months kaltmiete.

The unit has 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom. No kitchen or appliances and you’ll have to furnish it completely.

(click photo to enlarge)

 

WHERE TO LOOK

Ad in apartment window
Ad in apartment window

If you’re looking for a German-style rental you have plenty of options. We suggest you go straight to the two big German property sites. Search Immobilienscout24 and Immonet.de under “mieten” (to rent). When you see “EBK” it means the rental property comes with a kitchen already installed. Wohnhaus24 usually have a good list of rentals on their website. Also Abis Immobilien are worth a look too.

LWB are an agency of Leipzig city government in charge of managing the full range of publicly owned housing stock. The LWB is by far the biggest landlord in Leipzig with a huge selection of reasonably priced rentals on their website. This includes almost all of the plain looking pre-fabricated “Plattenbau” concrete apartment blocks from the DDR era. You can also go in person to one of their many ServiceKiosk offices or go to the main one on Prager Straße.

If you have the time and are set on a particular area we suggest you go walk around and look for local property agents or landlord ads in windows. Leipzig is full of small independent agents who’s window listings will have a bias towards rentals in their local area.  And landlords will stick ads directly in the window or doorway of their vacant units. Many of these places will never appear on the Immo’s, and the good ones are snapped up quickly.

LWB Servicekiosk on Prager Str.
LWB Servicekiosk on Prager Str.


[page content last updated February 2015]

2 thoughts on “German-style Renting”

  1. Dave..I’m slightly worried that we may have trouble signing a lease. My wife is hoping to keep her job to be able to work remotely, and I’m planning on taking several months to bring my German skills up to an employable level. I’ve heard that landlords can be very skittish about leasing a flat to people with no employment status..love the site, keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Sam, Agreed. You will find it difficult to secure German style lease without evidence of a regular income sufficient to cover your life in Leipzig. Savings wont matter, nor will paying up front for a year. Reason is once moved in its next to impossible for landlord to evict you. They want evidence of regular income and preferably some German rental history. So, if I were you I would budget 30-40% more for a furnished rental on fixed lease until you get sorted.

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