11 Mistakes Foreigners Make While Living in a Rented Property in Germany
Updated: Dec 16, 2022
Avoid these stupid mistakes to improve your living experience in Germany.
Every country has a different culture, beliefs, and way of living. Germany is no different. Hence, knowing how the Germans live can make your journey to settle in Germany much easier.
Here are the common mistakes Expats make:
#1 Not ventilating the property
German winters can be freezing. Hence, Germans construct their houses to be energy efficient in winter.
That means the doors and windows in German houses are air-tight and do not allow cold air to enter the house. Thus, you have to open the house's windows every day to ventilate it.
If you do not do it daily, it will result in many problems like fungus growth, bad smell, food smell, etc.
Expats, especially from warm countries like India, fail to ventilate the house daily during winters. This leads to the problems mentioned above.
Thus, do not make this mistake and open all windows every day for at least 15 minutes.
#2 Not taking a good private liability insurance
I cannot stress the importance of taking good private liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung). It can save you from paying thousands to millions of euros.
Most Expats do not have it. And when they damage the property by mistake, they find themselves in a corner.
#3 Drying clothes inside the house
Drying clothes during winter can be a challenge. Many Expats solve this by drying clothes on the heaters inside the house. However, it is not a good practice and can give birth to fungus in the house.
Thus, instead of drying clothes inside the house, use the common areas designated for drying clothes, or on your balcony, or buy a dryer.
If that's not an option for you, you can dry clothes in your bathroom while keeping its window open.
#4 Raising the room temperature to too high
Locals recommend setting the thermostat at room temperature (i.e., 20 to 25 degrees Celsius). If you make it too hot, there is a risk of damaging the house's wallpaper.
The reason is that the adhesive used to paste the wallpapers can dry out at high temperatures. This may lead to the curling of the wallpaper.
On top of it, you will have a big fat heating bill at the end of the year.
#5 Keeping windows open while the heater is on
Do not practice this habit. Not only it's expensive, but it's also non-eco-friendly.
#6 Not taking care of the property
Many locals do not prefer to rent their properties to foreigners. One of the many reasons is Expats do not take care of the property as German tenants do.
#7 Either not aware of or do not take the House Rules seriously
Germany is a land of rules and regulations. Everyone here is aware of the rules and rights and follows them religiously. The same goes for the House Rules.
As a tenant, it's your responsibility to read the house rules and follow them. If you don't, you may do something that violates the rules.
If that happens, it may annoy your neighbors and get you kicked out of the property in the worst-case scenario.
#8 Do not separate the garbage properly
Germans take pride in separating the garbage appropriately. And they expect the same from others.
So if you do not practice it, your neighbors will not be happy with you.
Moreover, everyone living in the building may end up paying a fine if you do not separate the garbage.
#9 Do not keep the common areas clean
If you live in an apartment or a shared accommodation, everyone expects you to keep the common areas clean.
For example, during the delivery of your goods, the stairs of your property building got dirty. Then your neighbors expect you to clean it afterward. Irrespective of whether the property has a house cleaning service or not.
#10 Why do I have to pay the ARD radio tax?
I do not have a radio, nor do I listen to it, then why do I have to pay a radio tax? I know every foreigner asks this question at least once.
The reason is to keep the media independent of politics and advertisements.
Germany's experience during WWII influenced many processes and things Germans do. For example, they believe WWII was possible because of controlled media.
As the government controlled the media, they were able to broadcast biased information.
Hence, to not repeat the same mistakes, Germany decided that everyone would contribute to keeping the media independent. And this contribution is the ARD radio tax that every household in Germany has to pay.
NOTE: It's the household and not an individual that has to pay the radio tax. So, if you are living in a shared apartment, only one person has to pay the tax.
#11 Things to take care of while drilling holes in the walls or ceilings
Most landlords explicitly mention in the contract that drilling holes are not allowed. But, even if it is, you need to be careful while drilling holes.
The electric wires and water pipelines are inside the walls. So you should make sure that you do not damage a wire or a pipe while drilling a hole.
As you cannot see the wires and water pipelines via the naked eye, you can use a wall scanner to scan them. Thus, if a wire or pipe is present, you cannot drill at that spot.
In the end
Don't worry if you have already made those mistakes. Many other foreigners and I did too. What's important is to learn from them and not repeat them.
So, enjoy your time in this great country and not let one bad experience shadow several good ones.