International

Liv­ing in Berlin

A very popular neighbourhood: Kreuzberg, with Tempelhofer Feld in the background. Photo: A.Savin, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons

How do you find a place to live in Berlin? What search options are there, what costs should you expect, and what should you bear in mind? Here you will find information and tips on how to find what you are looking for.

Berlin is a diverse, bustling city where people from all over the world travel for short or long stays, so finding suitable accommodation here can be a challenge. We therefore recommend that you arrange accommodation in Berlin well in advance. It may take a few weeks to find suitable accommodation. We would be happy to help you with a variety of options. We recommend that you anticipate a monthly rent of 600 euros for a room and 1000 euros for a one-room apartment.

Search with patience in Berlin

On the private housing market, most rooms and apartments can be found a month in advance. However, the start of the semester is always a very busy time, so please be patient and don't be surprised if you need to find short-term accommodation in the first few weeks of your stay. It is often easier to find an apartment or a room if you’re already in Berlin.

Travel distances

Please bear in mind that Berlin is a large city and travel times of up to 60 minutes are common. The local public transport network is well developed and divided into three zones. In Zone A, in the centre of the city, rents can be significantly higher than in Zone B. Many parts of the city are also easy to reach from Zone B.

Personal responsibility

Please remember that Humboldt-Universität can only provide you with assistance. You are solely responsible for making all resulting decisions yourself. Humboldt-Universität and its employees cannot accept any liability for the information and the resulting consequences.

Accommodation types and search portals

Please do not transfer any money before you have signed a contract! In some cases, fraudsters offer apartments that don't even exist. Applicants are usually told that the landlord is currently abroad and has commissioned a trust company to manage the apartment. They are then asked to make a partial payment and are promised that they will then receive a key. This is fraud. To avoid this, you should never transfer money before a viewing or without personal contact with the landlord. We strongly recommend that you only transfer any money or move into the accommodation once you have a rental agreement signed by the landlord.

In Berlin, the student halls of residence are managed by the StudierendenWERK BERLIN (STW). The university does not have its own quotas for halls of residences. STW accommodation is spread throughout the city and vary in terms of facilities and prices. Please note that rooms in halls of residence are very popular and waiting times may be long.

The Humboldt University has several guest houses for shorter stays. These are geared particularly towards visiting researchers at Humboldt-Universität. However, please bear in mind that availability is limited.

Here is a short list of hotels and apartments for short stays:

The following apartments are only available for students. They are mostly furnished and the price is all-inclusive. Sometimes a reservation fee and a deposit must be paid.

These apartments are mostly furnished in all rooms and the price is all-inclusive. Sometimes a reservation fee and a deposit must be paid.

Many people in Berlin live in shared apartments (WGs) with several other people. Each person has their own room, but the bathroom and kitchen are shared. If you find an apartment you would like to share with other people, please check whether the house rules or the property management allow this.

These rooms can be furnished or unfurnished. The rent quoted usually includes heating bills. In addition to the rent, electricity, internet and broadcasting fees also have to be paid. A deposit is normally required.

The rent quoted usually includes heating bills. In addition to the rent, electricity, internet and broadcasting fees also have to be paid. You have to take care of the internet and electricity contract yourself. A deposit must always be paid.

The sites below often offer short-term apartments for subletting. However, please be particularly careful here as there can be scammers. Do not transfer money in advance.

  • Facebook groups
  • Classified ads
  • Newspapers and magazines

Special information for target groups

International programme students cannot register independently at StudierendenWERK Berlin. HU therefore has a limited number of rooms in two halls of residence available for programme students:

Allee der Kosmonauten – StudierendenWERK Berlin

Furnished single room in a shared apartment. The bathroom and kitchen are shared with up to three other people.

  • Monthly rent: 417 euros
  • Address: Wohnheim Alle der Kosmonauten, Alle der Kosmonauten 20, 10315 Berlin

Studentendorf Adlershof

Furnished single room with private bathroom. The kitchen and the large communal space are shared with twelve other students.

  • Monthly rent: 513.31 euros
  • Address: Studentendorf Adlershof, Abraham-Joffe-Straße 18, 12489 Berlin

StudentHouse Plänterwald in der Eichbuschallee

Partly furnished flat with private kitchen and bathroom.

  • Monthly rent 530 euros without balcony, 550 euros with balcony
  • A deposit of approx. 1100 euros must be paid directly to the HoWoGe
  • The contract must be cancelled independently and in good time
  • Address: Eichbuschallee 51-53, 12437 Berlin

How do I apply?

Programme students can select the halls of residence option when applying online. After the application deadline has passed, we will inform students about the next steps to allocate rooms.

Places in halls of residence are allocated by a lottery. In order to reserve the room, students must transfer a reservation deposit of 810 euros after receiving confirmation. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a place in halls of residence.

Registration deadlines

  • 30 May for a stay in the winter semester
  • 30 November for a stay in the summer semester

Students of Charité-Universitätsmedizin please contact the Incoming Team before the deadline: exchange-students@hu-berlin.de.

The rooms in the halls of residence are only let for fixed periods:

Studentendorf Adlershof:

  • 1 September – 28 February in the winter semester
  • 1 March – 31 August in the summer semester

StudierendenWERK Allee der Kosmonauten and StudentHouse Plänterwald:

  • 1 October – 31 March in the winter semester
  • 1 April – 30 September in the summer semester

It is not possible to shorten or change the rental period. This period can be extended by another semester.

The International Department provides housing options to researchers from abroad. To make your search for an apartment easier, we collect private rental offers and are happy to pass them on to you in our newsletter. This contains important information about houses, apartments or rooms as well as the contact details of the landlords. Unfortunately, we cannot look for an apartment for you or sign a rental agreement on your behalf. If you need helpful information or advice on search options, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Scientists and doctoral students who work in Adlershof can also use the IGAFA guest houses.

Good to know: Information about the apartment

If you rent an apartment or room, please note the difference between “Kaltmiete” and “Warmmiete”:

  • “Kaltmiete” means the price of the apartment without any additional costs.
  • “Warmmiete” refers to the price of the apartment with additional costs such as hot water, heating and garbage collection.

These details will be in the rental agreement. We recommend that you anticipate a monthly rent of 600 euros for a room and 1000 euros for a one-room apartment. In addition to the rent, electricity, gas and internet must also be paid.

Deposit

A deposit must be paid for most apartments and rooms. This usually amounts to two to three months of rent (excluding bills) and is paid back after you move out if the apartment or room was handed over without defects. Sometimes the deposit can be withheld for up to twelve months after moving out to cover possible additional payments for heating costs or damage. It's helpful to take photos of all the rooms when you move in so you can compare the condition when you move out.

Broadcasting fee (GEZ)

Every apartment in Berlin has to pay the broadcasting fee of 18.36 euros per month. This amount is only charged per apartment (and not per person). This means that if you live in a shared apartment, the broadcasting fee is shared by everyone, but only deducted from one person's account.

In Germany, residents have to be registered. Anyone who stays in Berlin for longer than three months must register with the Citizens' Registration Office within 14 days of moving in to receive a registration certificate. To do this, you need a “confirmation from the landlord” from the property management. Without this completed and signed form you cannot register at the Citizens' Registration Office in Berlin.

Booking an appointment

It is important to make an appointment at the Citizens' Registration Office well in advance. You can register at any of the 40 Citizens' Registration Offices (Bürgeramt) in Berlin. To do this, please select “Anmeldung einer Wohnung” (“Registering an apartment”).

At the beginning of the semester, there is a Mobile Citizens' Registration Office at Humboldt-Universität. The appointments are scheduled for the beginning of the semester and are announced here and on Instagram (@humboldt.international).

On the City of Berlin website, you will find all information about the “apartment registration” service and the required documents.

Registration certificate

You will receive a registration certificate directly from the Citizens' Registration Office. Please keep this safe as you may need it later.

Deregistration

When you leave Germany or Berlin, please don't forget to deregister at the Citizens' Registration Office.

In Germany, the broker's commission must be paid by the person who placed the order, usually by the landlord of an apartment. You only have to pay the commission if you hire a real estate agent to look for an apartment yourself.

Some landlords require a Schufa credit check before drawing up a rental agreement. This document is used to confirm your financial reliability.

Contact

For students

For researchers