FAQ - Room Hunting in Hamburg

1. What does a furnished room cost in Hamburg?

Depending on where you want to live, the average all-inclusive prices range from 350€ to 650€ for a furnished room, sometimes even higher in Hamburg. In Harburg, the average prices range from 350€ to 500€. In the surrounding country-communities the prices are usually lower.

2. Is it easier to find a room in a shared flat?

Rooms in WGs (German = Wohngemeinschaft, i.e. communes) are very popular with students. Some WGs have a kind of "casting” when looking for a new tenant. Living in a WG rather than in a single room or flat is a question of taste. WG rooms usually cost about the same as single rooms and almost the same number of each is available. Especially at the beginning of the winter semester (from August until December) it is extremely difficult to find affordable accommodation. Therefore you should be prepared to stay in a temporary accommodation before you can find a permanent place to stay.

3. What is meant by Nebenkosten?

The German word "Nebenkosten" is used to indicate the costs of the electricity, heating, water, sewage, and refuse collection. You usually pay this sum to your landlord or landlady. Sometimes, the rent already includes these costs. When viewing accommodation, you should ask the landlord/landlady whether the monthly rent includes the "Nebenkosten".

4. Rent (Miete inkl./Miete exkl.)

"Miete" is the German word for rent . The following two expressions are usually used: Miete inklusive (inkl.) and Miete exklusive (exkl.) What does this mean?

"Miete inkl." is the rent plus the above-mentioned "Nebenkosten".
"Miete exkl." is the basic rent. The ultimate price will be higher, because you still have to pay the ‘Nebenkosten.’

You may find these expressions in newspapers and the internet.

  • Kaltmiete (basic rent), NBK exkl. = rent without "Nebenkosten" (NBK)
  • Kaltm. zzgl. NBK = rent + Nebenkosten

5. Rental contract/Wohnungsgeberbestätigung

Once you have found an appropriate accommodation, your new landlord/landlady should give you the rental contract. We advise you to read this contract thoroughly before signing it. The rental contract is a very important document. It is legally binding for both the tenant and the landlord/landlady.
You also need the rental contract to register as a resident of the city. To do the city registration you also need the "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung". It must be handed to you by your landlord/landlady when you move in.

More information about entry and residence regulations you find here.

You should never agree to take a room without a rental contract.

6. What is a "Kaution"?

"Kaution" is the German word for deposit. In Germany, it is usual to pay a deposit before you move into accommodation. The landlord/landlady takes this sum (usually 1 to 3 months’ rent) to pay for any damage that you might cause . If there is no damage, the deposit will be returned.

7. Start looking for a room for yourself

The Accommodation Office will try to help you find a place to stay in Hamburg. It aims to find at least one offer for private accommodation that suits your needs and subsequently sends you the contact details by email. You have to contact the landlord/landlady yourself.
However, the Accommodation Office cannot guarantee that accommodation can be found; it is therefore absolutely necessary that you start looking yourself for accommodation as soon as possible.
There are many webpages offering accommodation, as well as two local newspapers, the Hamburger Abendblatt and the elbe-Wochenblatt (available also as e-paper), that advertise accommodation twice a week (Wed and Sat).

We have compiled a collection of useful links and resources for your room search and other important information on accommodation in general.

8. Rental Scams

Hamburgs housing market is tight. There is a high demand for furnished rooms. Be aware of rental scams!

Before you have seen the flat and talked to the landlord, the agent or the flatmate, who is the main renter, NEVER...

  • ...give your personal data (complete adress, banking details, birth date, etc)
  • ...send copies of your ID or passport
  • any rent, deposit or fee!
  • ...sign a rental contract

Some scammers go over great lenghts to appear real. They might fake identities and social media accounts, use proper existing adresses. They might even agree to meet at first. Be suspicious when...

  • ...the offer sounds to good to be true (e.g. 16m², furnished, in Altona, 300€ all inclusive? More likely, this would be around 400 or more.)
  • ...the potential owner or landlord claims to be currently abroad but says that you can have the keys without problem.
  • ...the landlord asks you to pay money before seeing the flat and before signing the contrat
  • ...the landlord asks you transfer money to a friend or to a non-german bank account
  • ...the landlord asks you to wire money via western union
  • ...the landlord tries to pressure you into signing a contract and tranferring money straight away
  • ...the landlord does refuse to give you a direct phone number
  • ...the landlord, for whatever reason, refuses to show the appartment to you first

The website has a good article on how to recognise rental scams.
It's in German but the Google translation works ok.

Please note, that this is different with official dormitories. We have linked the official website of the private dormitories. Please, use only the adresses and emails and contact form, you find on their official website.
The public dormitories/student halls of residence belong to the public organisation "Studierendenwerk Hamburg". The freshmen rooms, we offer here are rooms in their dormitories, which the Studierendenwerk Hamburg has reserved for international students of TUHH.
The Studierendenwerk Hamburg will ask freshmen room applicants, who were offered a room, to pay the deposit and the first rent before receiving the contract.