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Glossary for your flat hunt in Germany

  • Kaution means the security deposit you need to pay with the first rent (usually around 2-3 monthly rents). The deposit will be payed back to you when moving out, provided you caused no damage to the apartment.
  • +NK=Nebenkosten are the utilities fees (monthly cost for heating, TV,  or electricity, stairwell cleaning, janitor, etc.), which are not included in the rent and will be charged extra.
  • Provision: If the apartment is procured by a realtor you will probably need to pay a commission (approx. two monthly rents). Therefore, it is worthwhile to look for apartments offered directly by the landlord (Vermieter) –these flats are often advertised as provisionsfrei=no commission charged.
  • Electricity (Strom) is normally not included in the rent. You will need to get a contract with an electricity company. It is usually possible to simply resume the contract of the preceding tenant.
  • If the indicated monthly rent is specified as “warm”, the monthly payment includes the costs for heating. The specification “kalt” means the rent without heating costs, which will be charged extra.
  • WG is short for “Wohngemeinschaft” and means shared flat.
  • Zwischenmiete means a room/apartment offer for a limited period of time (usually during a temporary absence of the regular tenant/flatmate).

Abbreviations frequently used in accommodation adverts:

2 ZKDB 2 Zimmer (rooms), Küche (kitchen), Diele (corridor), Bad (bathroom)
3 ZKDB 3 Zimmer (rooms), Küche (kitchen), Diele (corridor), Bad (bathroom)
2-Zi.-Whg. Two-room apartment (Zweizimmerwohnung)
EK Einbauküche (kitchenette)
+NK Nebenkosten = Plus utilities and common charges (Heating, gas, electricity, water and waste disposal)
NR Nichtraucher (Non-smoker)
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