A number of Max Planck institutes have their own guest apartments or have contacts with institutions offering accommodation. Ask your insti- tute about this. Sometimes these are simply temporary arrangements that can give you time to look for something else.

Ask at the institute which residential areas are better, because they are close to the institute, or because you are looking for a particularly lively or quiet district, for instance. In a number of towns and cities, there are districts that should be regarded as less safe.

Local daily papers run adverts for the property market, usually on Fridays or Saturdays, occasionally throughout the week too. Normally, these can also be accessed online on the paper’s website. Many apart- ments are rented out through an agent, which involves an extra fee (two to three months’ rent). You can also place an advert yourself; discuss with your institute whether you can advertise as a Max Planck employee.

Scientific staff and university lecturers especially often go abroad and temporarily move out of their apartment. Make enquiries at the univer- sity’s International Office whether they can give you some contacts. A good alternative for anyone coming to Germany alone and is prepared to live with others, is shared accommodation. In many university towns and cities, there are agencies specialising in shared accommodation that can provide details of short-term accommodation on commission.

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Rental charges

Most apartments in Germany are let unfurnished, although occasionally cooking facilities are provided. The costs for accommodation only are quoted as rent, excluding utilities. Added to this, there are additional costs or running costs. What is actually included depends on the rental contract. Usually, charges for heating, water, refuse collection and property management are included in this; they make up approximately 25% of the rent, excluding utilities costs. If the additional costs are already included in the rental charge, this is called rent including all utilities costs. Electricity is usually charged separately by an electricity supplier of your choice, with which you must register yourself. You can obtain information on local suppliers from the landlord or the MPI. 

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It is usual to pay a deposit (one to maximum three months’ rent plus VAT) to cover any repairs for damage in the apartment caused by the tenant when he/she leaves. This sum is deposited in a special savings account. Arrange this together with the landlord or obtain a receipt for the savings account. When you leave, the deposit will be returned to you with inter- est. However, any costs for repairs or renovation will be deducted. The exact rules and regulations on this should be included in the rental con- tract which you will receive for signature from the agent or landlord.

If you require any help or advice when you are looking for accommo- dation, your institute will be happy to help with interpreting, understand- ing the adverts and ultimately with the handover of the apartment.