We strongly recommend you to start looking for accommodation as soon as possible and, if applicable, only to send for your family when you have found a suitable apartment. The chances of being successful when searching for somewhere to live are much better if you are not under time pressure. Furthermore, if you come alone, you can easily live for a short time in a hotel or guest-house or perhaps with friends or acquaintances.
Here is a list with some hotels near Freie Universität Berlin.
Berlin is a very large city with twelve districts. When looking for a place to stay, check the Berlin city map for orientation. As Freie Universität Berlin is located in the southern district of Dahlem, a residential area with many villas, rooms and apartments in the campus area are rare and normally quite expensive. For that reason students generally commute from other parts of the city, with 30 minutes to one hour commuting time on public transport being nothing unusual.
Rents in Berlin normally start around 250 EUR, shared apartments tend to be less expensive. On signing the lease your landlord will probably expect a deposit of three months, reimbursed with interest at the end of tenancy as long as nothing has been damaged. Sometimes a commission or a compensation for furniture is requested; therefore, make sure that you bring enough money with you.
There are different ways to find the right place to live. Here you will find a short list of good places to stay if you are looking for a furnished apartment.
The International Center for Academic Exchange (IBZ) is a great place to stay being located just a few subway stations from Freie Universität at the subway station Rüdesheimer Platz in Wilmersdorf, a quiet residential district. The 78 well-furnished apartment units combine the very best of privacy and comfort with valuable opportunities for meeting and socializing with other international guests.
To make a reservation please contact the management: Studentendorf Berlin-Schlachtensee eG
For doctoral candidates of Freie Universität Berlin, there are newly renovated fully furnished rooms and apartments available in two buildings (Nr. 4 & 8 ) at Studentendorf Schlachtensee as well as in apartment buildings located in Celsiusstraße in the southern district of Lichterfelde Süd. For reservations contact the Studentendorf Schlachtensee management or the ERG Service Center at Freie Universität. Please note that you will have to pay a reservation fee when making a firm reservation.
Another option for furnished flats is “House of Nations” of the non-profit Bürgermeister-Reuter-Foundation. The target group is young people enrolled at educational institutions.
In case you arrive in Berlin without having been able to find an apartment before, you should make a reservation in a hostel or hotel in advance:
A further option is to search for a furnished or non-furnished apartment by checking out the following links. You can also place an ad yourself.
In Germany, it is very common to share apartments. In shared apartments (Wohngemeinschaft, WG) several people live together in one apartment, which means that each one has his or her own room (usually unfurnished) and that the bathroom and the kitchen are used jointly. Shared apartments are mostly inhabited by young people and students. Living in a shared place is usually the least expensive option and the best way to meet people. Here are some online platforms where shared apartments are offered:
Several Berlin newspapers have large real estate sections (usually published Saturdays). You can purchase them at paper stands, train stations, supermarkets etc. or check the offers online.
Bulletin boards displaying private apartment offers can be found in the main buildings of the university, e.g. faculty buildings, library, and dining halls. Mostly young people offer their furnished apartments or their rooms in shared apartments for a limited time span (called "Zwischenmiete").
By signing a tenancy agreement, you gain some rights, but also have special responsibilities. For example:
The monthly payment is due at the beginning of each month and consists of two parts, the rent (Kaltmiete) and the utilities (Nebenkosten). Whereas the Kaltmiete is generally fixed for the duration of the lease, utilities can vary from year to year. Nebenkosten usually include: water, heating, garbage collection, the landlord’s share in property tax, insurance for the land property, chimney cleaning, etc. Be aware that there are additional payments for electricity, water, heat, etc. depending on the amount used.
As a security for any damage or unpaid rent, the landlord will ask for a refundable security deposit (Kaution) amounting to two or three months’ rent. After the lease ends and the property has been handed back without damages according to the protocol signed together with the lease, the deposit plus the legal interest rate for the period of the lease must be paid back.
It is common in Germany to have unfurnished flats, which also means that, especially in larger flats, you might have no kitchen equipment like an oven or a sink. If there is furniture, this will be described in the advertisement as (teil-)möbliert, i.e. (partly) furnished.
If a phone number is indicated, you can call the landlord or real estate agent directly. In case of language difficulties ask a friend or colleague or the staff at DRS to help you arrange a viewing appointment.
Make sure that you have completely understood the tenancy agreement before you sign it. Ask a German colleague or friend to read the contract.
Some of the most frequent abbreviations used in the property market:
|2 Zi.Whg. (2-Zimmerwohnung)||two-room apartment|
|2 ZKB (2 Zimmer, Küche, Bad)||two-room apartment with kitchen and bathroom|
|2 ZKBB (2 Zimmer, Küche, Bad, Balkon)||two-room apartment, kitchen, bathroom, balcony|
|Abstand||payment for an existing kitchen of the previous tenant|
|EBK (Einbauküche)||built-in kitchen|
|EG (Erdgeschoss)||ground floor|
|GEH (Gasetagenheizung)||heating by gas, mostly additional costs|
|MM (Monatsmiete)||monthly rent|
|K (Kaution)||refundable security deposit|
|kalt||excluding additional charges|
|KM or k (Kaltmiete)||rent excluding additional charges|
|OH (Ofenheizung)||heating by oven (coal), i.e. no central heating|
|Prov. (Provision)||commission paid to the real estate agent, must not exceed the amount of 2 monthly rents plus tax (19%)|
|warm||including additional costs, especially heating|
|WM or w (Warmmiete)||all-inclusive rent|
|WG (Wohngemeinschaft)||shared apartment|
|ZH (Zentralheizung)||central heating|
|zzgl. NK (zuzüglich Nebenkosten)||plus additional costs (utilities, e.g. electricity, heating, etc.)|