The German rental market is highly regulated; giving tenants a wide range of protection. Unfortunately, this also sometimes makes it difficult for landlords to get rid of tenants who cause trouble or simply don't pay their rent. For this reason, some landlords are very cautious when choosing future tenants.
Rental accommodation in Germany varies widely in price and availability. In major cities, particularly Hamburg, Munich and Cologne, rents can be expensive. It is common for up to half of salary to go towards paying rent. The type of accommodation required by many foreigners can be expensive: furnished or at least partly-furnished apartments rented at short notice and for relatively short periods. Nor is it easy to find apartments for larger families at reasonable rents.
Rent comparisons can be made in each town or section of the city with the help of a table called the Mietspiegel, which lists rent prices in each area. It is possible to check if a rent is appropriate for an area or if it is illegal to charge such a high rent. The Mietspiegel can be found at the local town hall or at the Mieterverein (tenant associations, see our section on rental contracts). If the rent is above the legal limit, seek advice from a lawyer or tenant associations to reduce it.
Supply and demand can vary considerably in the course of the year, particularly in cities with a large student population. At the beginning of a term, i.e. in March/April and September/October, there is usually a high demand for accommodation.