Berlin Housing Guide

Moving to a city like Berlin is exciting but make sure to be well prepared so you can enjoy the city to the fullest! Housing is probably up there on the priority list when it comes to moving to a new city and/or country right? We thought so too. However, finding a place to rent in Berlin might not be as easy and straightforward if you have no idea about things such as all the types of houses, housing jargon, neighbourhood, etc. Berlin is a big city. It is nine times the size of Paris.

In finding accommodation, we all have our preferences and we encourage you to know the kind of place you want to be your home - not just a house. Knowing what you want might be a bit tricky if this is the first time you’re moving to a city/country but don’t worry we got you a guide on the critical things you need to know about Berlin housing.

So, here are the things you need to know when looking for a place to stay in Berlin!

Berlin Housing Types


An apartment. This is the most popular type of renting in Berlin. Especially for students and expats.

Wohngemeinschaft (WG)

A shared apartment. The place is usually shared between 2-4 people and you’ll share the kitchen and bathroom. Always check the number of bedrooms and if they have common space or not.

WFF Facts: There is a ‘minimum living space’ law in Germany. It differs between states but in Berlin, it’s 9 m² for adults and 6 m² for children up till the age of 6. This law makes it rare for people to share a room.

Zweck WG

The only difference about this type of apartment is that you don’t usually know your flatmates. Like, you don’t necessarily talk to them and ‘be friends’ with them. Not because of something bad, it’s just a preferred lifestyle.

Studentenwohnhein (STW)

A student accommodation. What differentiates STW from WG is that STW is cheaper because it is funded by the government. However, there is also a private one which tends to be more expensive. There are several types of STW:


Basically, a studio. You have your own kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom all in one space without a separation. Except for the bathroom, of course.

Einzelzimmer (in WG)

Here, you only have a room and you’ll share the kitchen and bathroom.


Literally, a house. People don’t usually rent a house - they buy it.

Berlin Housing Jargon

Short-, mid- or long-term rental

Short-term rental is normally below 30 days, mid-term would be between 1-6 months and anything longer than 6 months will be considered a long-term rental.

WFF Tips: There’s usually a three months notice before you want to end your contract. However, some short-term rental agreements might not permit you to end your contract before the initial period ends.

Commercial Lettings

1 night to 3 months. For example, hotels and hostels.

Residential Lettings

Minimum stay of 3 months. For example, co-living spaces and some furnished apartments.


The house is permitted to be rented to a 3rd person - subletting. This means that if you decide to leave your place (i.e. going home, summer holiday, etc) you are allowed to rent it to other people.


This is a type of Untermiete which basically means that there is a limited amount of time that you could rent it out.

Furnished (Mobiliert) or unfurnished

If the place comes furnished, the place tends to have some basic furniture (i.e. table, chairs, bed, washing machine, etc). Some places are fully furnished which means you often get things like bedsheets, pictures on the wall, lamps, etc. Short-term and mid-term rentals tend to come furnished.

WFF tips: Never forget to check what furniture is included, as ‘basic’ can mean differently to people.

If it’s unfurnished, then it comes empty. There’s no carpet and ‘white goods’ (i.e. fridge, stove, washing machine, etc). Long-term rentals are usually completely unfurnished.

Fully-furnished apartments

Einbauküche (EBK)

This means that the place comes with a built-in and functional kitchen.


A house deposit. The landlord will keep your money until you move out and it will only be used in case of any damage in the place. If no repairs are required, you’ll get your whole deposit back. The deposit is usually around 2 months of the rental fee. The maximum deposit permitted by law is 3 months of cold (kalt) rent fee.


It’s a room in German. A lot of people got confused with this term when searching for an apartment because some think that it meant a bedroom and not a room.

WFF Tips : 1 Zimmer Wohnung is a studio. 2 Raum means the place contains 2 rooms. Doesn’t necessarily mean 2 bedrooms. So, always check if the room mentioned is a room or bedroom.

Kaltmiete (KM)

Translated literally, it’s ‘cold rent’ which means the rental fee is only for the room or apartment and doesn’t include water and electricity. Regarding the internet, it’s normally not included in the rental fee either or.

WFF Tips: Make sure to make every agreement on paper! This ensures no to minimal hassle at the end of your contracts like getting the amount of deposit you’re supposed to at the end of the contract and much more.

Warmmiete (WM)

If there’s ‘cold rent’ there’s also ‘warm rent’. Warm rent just means that other fees such as water and electricity are included in your rental fee. Again, the internet tends to be excluded.

TV and Radio licence (GEZ-Gebühr)

It’s never included in a hotel type of space. It typically costs around €17. Click here for more information.

Schufa is a credit bureau in Germany

that gives credit scores to German residents. The higher the score, the easier it is to rent an apartment or get a loan.


It’s basically the process of registering your address at the citizen’s office (Bürgeramt). You could only register once you have an address and the accommodation provider needs to be able to provide the address.

Erdgeschoss (EG).

Ground floor

Dachgeschoss (DG).

Attic floor