Living in Berlin
Table of contents
An early search is recommended
You will need patience to find suitable and affordable accommodation. Moving fast is also important. Hence, we recommend that you start looking well in advance — ideally as soon as you receive your university place. Please make sure that you consider legitimate offers only!
HTW Berlin does not let, allocate or arrange housing. Finding housing is your own responsibility.
Student halls of residence
- In Berlin, universities do not have their own halls of residence. Instead, the studierendenWERK Berlin owns halls of residence and offers places within these to all Berlin students.
- You can live in a single apartment or shared accommodation (WG) in the halls of residence owned by the studierendenWERK Berlin. The Aristotelessteig and Sewanstrasse halls of residence are within walking distance of the Treskowallee campus.
- If you are interested in a place in a hall of residence, register via the hall of residence portal. You can only apply for a place in a hall of residence if your university place has been confirmed!
- You can apply for a place in a hall of residence as soon as you have been admitted to your studies and have proof of payment of the semester fee. Half of the free places are allocated to first-year students and half to students on the waiting list. So be quick! If you are in the waiting list, you can expect to wait approximately three semesters.
- Check out the studierendenWERK Berlin website for more information. This website also lists external links which can be helpful when searching for external providers of commercial and non-commercial student accommodation as well as for shared rooms and apartments - see the sections “Woanders wohnen (Living Elsewhere)” and “Web-Wohnraumbörsen (Online Accommodation Forums)”.
- The foundation Bürgermeister-Reuter-Stiftung rents out single rooms, single and double apartments.
- Studentendorf Schlachtensee eG runs two student villages. The student village Adlershof is relatively close to the Wilhelminenhof campus - by Berlin standards.
- Good to know: just because an offer is described as a “student apartment” or similar does not mean that it also has student-friendly prices. Some commercial providers, in particular, charge very high rates.
Shared accommodation (WG)
- Shared accomodation is called Wohngemeinschaft and commonly abbreviated to WG in German.
- You can search for shared accommodation offers on shared accommodation portals.
- If you have difficulty finding accommodation, it may be worth considering renting a room in a shared apartment temporarily so that you have a place to stay for the first few months. Once you have arrived in Berlin, you can then look for a permanent solution without immediate pressure.
- The best ways to look for an apartment are
- in the joint portal of the 6 major housing associations in Berlin: https://inberlinwohnen.de/,
- on the websites of Berlin’s housing associations and housing cooperatives,
- on real estate portals,
- in the housing market sections of newspapers and magazines, e.g. Berliner Zeitung, Tagesspiegel, Tip Berlin and Zweite Hand.
- Once you shortlisted an appartment during your search, you can use the query serive of the Berlin rent index to check the local comparative rent. That way you can gauge roughly whether the rent is appropriate.
In Berlin, rents for apartments and rates for rooms in shared accommodation have risen steeply in recent years. Berlin has become an expensive place to live. According to a study, a room in shared accommodation in Berlin now costs a monthly average of 640 €.
However, the cost of a room in shared accommodation or an apartment depends very much on the individual offer. Factors influencing the amount include location, size, condition (building and apartment), furnishings, furnished/ unfurnished condition and who is letting the accommodation.
For example, apartments and rooms in shared accommodation located within Berlin’s circle line (S41/S42, "Ringbahn") are particularly sought after. So look for offers in peripheral locations as well. In Berlin, it is normal to travel 45 minutes from your home to any given destination.
- do not be deterred by the Berlin housing market; if necessary, clarify financing options (financing)
- plan enough time and search thoroughly for suitable offers
- be quick and have all documents ready
- it often helps to go in person (apartment viewings, shared accommodation interviews)
- be pleasant, friendly and patient
- do not accept dubious offers (e.g. no signed rental contract, payments without a valid rental contract)
- If you have a low income, you may be able to apply for a housing allowance (Wohngeld) and/ or a housing entitlement certificate (Wohnberechtigungsschein/WBS).
- A housing allowance is a form of financial support. You can only apply for a housing allowance if you are not entitled to receive a BAföG study grant.
- Holders of a housing entitlement certificate (Wohnberechtigungsschein/WBS) can apply for affordable social housing. These offers are marked with the abbreviation “WBS”. A WBS for people with special housing needs also exists.
- It may be worth looking into it to see whether you may be entitled.