Bavarian cities offer a range of housing options. Prices vary considerably depending on the size of the city and on your own needs in terms of location, size, and amenities. In Bavaria, most people rent—buying properties is not very common. Here are a few things you should know about finding housing in Bavaria.
Your university’s Welcome Center can help you start your search for a place to live. They will likely have suggestions for short-term rentals, which are a useful temporary solution for when you first arrive. Short-term rentals are often fully furnished with month-to-month leases, so when you find the right apartment you can move quickly.
If you are planning to do your PhD in Bavaria, you might be looking for student accommodation. Sometimes, students will rent out their rooms when they go on holiday. This could be a room in a shared apartment, or a student room in a university residence. It is worth keeping an eye on these options if you need a place in a hurry. Our Universities page has direct links to the individual Welcome Center websites.
Finding a Shared Flat
When searching for a place, you might want to consider a shared flat. These "WGs" are usually private flats that are shared between two or more people. Being relatively cheap, they are a popular choice for international researchers.
Moving into a student dorm is usually the cheapest choice for PhD candidates. The rooms are furnished and sometimes even resemble little apartments with your own bathroom and kitchen. In order to avoid long waiting lists, try to apply early!
Housing for Families
Bavaria is a wonderful place to raise a family—no matter if you prefer a city apartment or your own house and garden outside the city. With a bit of luck, PhD candidates with kids can apply for a family apartment offered by the student unions in Bavaria.
Renting Your Own Flat
If you prefer your own space, an apartment or studio may be a good option. Just keep in mind that rental flats in Germany are usually unfurnished. Most people take all their furniture and even their kitchens and light fittings with them when they move out.
As a general rule, your rent should not exceed a third of your monthly salary. You will likely be asked to provide proof of income during the apartment hunt. A copy of your employment contract or fellowship award letter will often suffice, but you might also need to show some bank statements.
Since the cost of accommodation varies across cities in Bavaria, it is difficult to provide an exact figure of what you will pay. The average monthly rent for a student room, for example, ranges from €304 in Bayreuth to €387 in Munich. For rooms in a shared apartment, the costs can be anywhere from €200 in smaller cities to €600 in more expensive cities. Prices also vary according to whether your apartment is located in the town center or in the suburbs.
When you do find a place to live, it is important to read your rental contract very carefully. Additional costs are usually included in your monthly rent (then called Warmmiete), so you should be aware of what you are paying for. Here are some of the costs that will factor into your lease agreement:
When you see the monthly rent advertised, check whether it refers to the “cold” or “warm” rental cost! Warm rent means that heating, and water, are included in the rent. If the rent listed is the cold amount, be aware that you will have to pay extra for these other services, as well as for electricity.
These are the extra costs that form part of your rent. They usually relate heating and water, but also to general building maintenance, such as repairs and cleaning, the cost of a building manager (Hausmeister), waste removal, and garden maintenance. These fees apply to all renters in a building and can change slightly from year to year.
This is the safety deposit that you will need to pay before you can move in. The deposit is usually three months’ rent. This means that, including your first month’s payment, you should be ready to pay four months’ rent upfront when you first move in. Newcomers are often surprised by this large amount. Don’t worry though—you will get your three-month deposit back when you move out.
Keep these tips in mind when looking for a place to live in Bavaria.
- Start looking for accommodation before you arrive in Bavaria. This begins with your Welcome Center, who will be able to support you with information and advice on how to proceed. They might even have a glossary of terms for apartment hunting, to help you make sense of accommodation advertisements.
- Consider taking up temporary accommodation in the beginning. This will give you more time to find a suitable long-term option.
- If you find something you like, it’s best not to delay. Bavaria is a dynamic business location that attracts people from many cities. As a result, properties are highly competitive and tend to go quickly!
- If an apartment offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Online advertisers can’t always be trusted, unfortunately. You should never transfer money to someone without having visited the apartment. If in doubt, ask your Welcome Center staff.
Finding a place to live before you arrive in Bavaria can be one of your biggest challenges. Don’t be shy about asking for help from your future university. In fact, we recommend getting in touch with your Welcome Center several months in advance of your arrival (at least three months, to be on the safe side). The Welcome Center will give you more information on the resources available. They will be able to advise you on student accommodation. They might also have contacts with property owners who like to rent to academics, and with whom they have preexisting arrangements. You can find contact information for your university’s Welcome Center on our Universities page.