September 4, 2009

Apartments in Germany

It's funny how different renting in Germany is versus the States. As much as the Germans are very pro-recycling and reusing, they want their apartments to be utterly customized. The kitchens are completely empty without any appliances or cupboards. The new renter is expected to want to make the kitchen their own. Everything is often bare white with a fresh coat of paint done by the previous resident. The older buildings usually have the kitchen as it's own room with a door. We got lucky in a new building because we have the open kitchen.

There's often no shared washing machine. You are required to bring your own (I say "required" because there are very few laundromats in Munich). There's a basement room where all the resident's washers go. Each one hooks up their washer to their water supply line there. Dryers are pretty uncommon though. In our apartment building of about 13 apartments, I've only seen maybe 3 dryers in the wash room. Everyone dries their clothes on drying racks here. In the summer, I've hung clothes out on our balcony in the morning and they've been completely dry by dusk.

Rent also is a little different. Landlords will post cold rent and warm rent when looking for tenants. Cold rent doesn't include anything, but rent for the apartment. One would have to pay for trash/recycling, upkeep, water, and heat separately. Warm rent includes rent and all of the above. Electricity is paid separately. The electric company estimates a monthly charge for you to pay and then at the end of the year, they balance out what you paid with the actual balance due based on usage. So if you're super-frugal, you could actually get money back for electricity. And if not, you'll pay more to the electric company.

It all just takes some getting used to at the start.

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