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Finding accommodation in Munich isn't easy, but it's usually worth the effort. Most apartments and houses are comfortable and almost always close to amenities and public transport.
From up-and-coming professionals wanting to immerse themselves in Schwabing's bustling energy, or those seeking a taste for Bogenhausen's upmarket offers, to family-oriented parents looking for Pasing's suburban tranquillity, Munich has a diverse range of accommodation to suit all expats.
Types of accommodation in Munich
The standard of accommodation in Munich is on par with that in most Western European cities. Properties are comfortable and finished to a high standard, though they can be on the small side.
A variety of furnished and unfurnished accommodation can be found in Munich. While shipping furniture is a viable option, especially for expats moving from elsewhere in the EU, expats generally shouldn't have any difficulty buying new items for their home in Germany.
Those looking to live centrally in Munich will find that their choice of property is limited to apartments. Expats moving to Munich with a family will need to consider areas and suburbs further away from the city centre, where they'll find more spacious housing with gardens and surrounding open spaces.
Finding accommodation in Munich
Most expats rent an apartment in Munich. The first step to finding one is to approach an agent or to subscribe to a website that lists rentals. Local newspapers also contain listings.
Expats who use an agent will need to submit a form that summarises what they're looking for. The agent will contact them if there are any properties that match their specifications and give a time and date for a viewing. House hunters shouldn't be surprised if there are several other people at the viewing, and the trick is to stay professional and express interest immediately.
Once they've been short-listed, potential tenants are sent an application form which they should submit as soon as possible. If their application is successful, they can expect to pay a three-month security deposit upon signing a contract, as well as an agent's fee equivalent to around two months' rent.
Renting accommodation in Munich
After finding a suitable property, expats need to arrange a time to view it with the landlord/agent. Group viewings are fairly common in Munich and it might be a little overwhelming to find as many as 25 other potential tenants viewing the same property.
Making an application
If interested in a property, expats should express this as soon as possible. In many cases, especially in the more popular areas, landlords will have the pick on applications. As such, expats should ensure their paperwork is in order to complete an application quickly. Usually, applicants are required to provide a copy of their ID/passport, work permit (if applicable) and wage slips or contract of employment. In some cases, expats may be required to provide references from either their employer or previous landlords.
Leases and deposits
The length of a lease in Munich can vary, but is usually a year. Expats should read the document carefully to ensure that they are aware of how much notice they are required to give their landlord should they wish to terminate the contract early. An inventory should also be carried out and any damage to the property noted down formally to ensure that the full security deposit is returned at the end of the lease.
Most landlords ask for up to three months' rent to cover the security deposit on a place in Munich. The deposit is refundable and is usually returned at the end of the tenancy, provided there are no damages to the property. Otherwise, cleaning or repair costs will be taken out of the deposit before the balance is refunded. It is advisable to obtain proof from the landlord that he has kept the security deposit in a separate account from the monthly rent.
As rental contracts are in German, expats are advised to consult someone who knows the language to go through each clause to fully comprehend the terms and conditions.
New arrivals should note that there is 'cold rent' and 'warm rent' in Germany. The ‘warm rent’ includes heating and miscellaneous costs but excludes electricity. ‘Cold rent’ excludes the cost of all utilities.
Utility bills are based on an approximate rate, which is dependent on the size of the apartment and the number of people living there. The monthly repayments can be adjusted accordingly and the company issues an annual invoice stipulating the actual amount used and if there are any outstanding payments to be made. If one has paid more than the amount used for the year, they should receive a refund from the company.
►Check out Areas and Suburbs of Munich to find a neighbourhood that suits you.
"Housing is generally of a high standard, but it’s expensive and very hard to find. Munich is booming, so there’s a shortage of flats and houses available, both to rent or to buy."
Read more of Phil's (a New Zealand expat) thoughts on expat life in Munich
Are you an expat living in Munich?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Munich. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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