Short-Term Rentals in Germany [For A Smooth Arrival]

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Researched & written

by Yvonne Koppen

Updated

Short-term rentals in Germany are an important first stepping stone on your journey to moving to Germany. In this guide, I review the best short-term rental platforms in Germany and give you some pointers on what to look out for.

Here is a quick overview of the best short-term rental platforms in Germany for expats:

  1. Homelike
  2. Housing Anywhere
  3. Wunderflats
  4. Uniplaces
HomelikeHousing AnywhereWunderflatsUniplaces
English Website & Supportpro checkpro checkpro checkpro check
City Registration Filterpro checkpro checkpro checkx icon
Pet-Friendly Filter
pro checkpro checkpro checkpro check
Min. Stay Duration1 monthVariable1 MonthVariable
Utilities Included

pro checkNot alwayspro checkpro check
Booking Service FeeIncluded in rent25-30% of rent (min. €165)€24925-30% of rent
Upfront Payment ProcessFirst Rent: Homelike
Deposit: Landlord
First Rent: Housing Anywhere
Deposit: Housing Anywhere
First Rent: Landlord
Deposit: Landlord
First Rent: Uniplaces
Deposit: Landlord
Large & Small Cities Availablepro checkpro checkpro checkpro check
Contact To Landlord Possible Before Bookingx iconpro checkx iconx icon
Shared & private apartmentspro checkpro checkpro checkpro check
Customer ServicePhone & EmailPhone, Chat & EmailPhone & EmailEmail

Pros & cons of short-term rentals in Germany

These are the benefits of starting your life in Germany in a short-term rental apartment:

  • You can rent online from abroad
  • You need to provide less paperwork
  • The apartment is fully furnished
  • The apartment includes utilities such as internet and electricity
  • You can do your city registration (the most important bureaucratic step for newcomers)
  • You can get to know your new city

These are the cons of renting a short-term apartment in Germany:

  • They are often overpriced
  • You can’t view and verify them beforehand
  • They don’t feel like home

How to find a short-term rental in Germany?

The short-term housing market does not always have the best reputation. Germany is no exception. Sometimes scams do happen, but most times they don’t. That is why you should follow common sense and listen to your gut feeling when looking for housing. 

The four short-term rental platforms in Germany, which I review below, all have certain measures to prevent scams; however, as with any service these days, you can find negative as well as very positive reviews on Trustpilot. 

If I were to look for a short-term furnished apartment in Germany these days, I would search on all four platforms and compare available apartment listings, prices, and landlord reviews. In my opinion, all four platforms are legit, and none is better than the other. They tend to have different listings, and at the end of the day, I would make the flat the deciding factor and not necessarily the platform provider.

Best short-term rental platforms in Germany

Here are our top picks for the best short-term rentals in Germany for English speakers and foreigners.

1. Homelike

Homelike was founded in 2014 in Cologne, Germany with the goal ‘to make expats and working professionals feel at home by providing a convenient booking experience, professional service, fully furnished and sparkling clean homes for 30 nights or more.’

They list apartments and private rooms in all major German cities. During our search, I was also able to find listings in smaller cities across Germany. Homelike features a trusted landlord check. To be marked a trusted landlord, they must verify their identity, and they must have successfully hosted at least one tenant via the Homelike platform before. 

The minimum booking duration is one month across the platform. 

What Does Homelike’s Payment Process Look Like?

  • You pay the first month’s rent to Homelike upon booking.
  • Homelike pays the first month’s rent to the landlord on the day you move in.
  • You have to pay the deposit beforehand directly to the landlord.
  • Homelike does not charge tenants a service fee – it gets charged to landlords.

Homelike Benefits

✅ English website 
✅ Furnished apartments only
✅ Filter for serviced apartments including cleaning
✅ City registration is possible with all apartments
✅ Pet-friendly filter
✅ Apartments with no deposit available
✅ Smaller cities available
✅ No service fee

Homelike Drawbacks

⛔️ Landlord can’t be contacted beforehand
⛔️ No tenant protection for payments

2. Housing Anywhere

Housing Anywhere was founded in 2009 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and started as a student platform. They still have a strong student focus but also offer apartments and studios suitable for professionals.

They cover all major German cities as well as smaller towns across Germany. Housing Anywhere features an ‘Excellent Advertiser’ tag to showcase experienced landlords who have successfully rented to tenants via Housing Anywhere at least once. They are the only platform that allows reviews from tenants to landlords directly on the platform. This allows you to see the landlord’s rating directly in the listing. You can even filter for listings with a minimum of 4 stars. 

The minimum booking duration varies from listing to listing as it is set by the landlord. It usually lies somewhere from one to three months minimum.  

What Does Housing Anywhere’s Payment Process Look Like?

Housing Anywhere features a 48h Safe ‘n’ Sound policy. This means:

  • You make all upfront payments (first month’s rent and the deposit) to Housing Anywhere
  • Housing Anywhere will only release the money to the landlord 48 hours after you have moved in. That way, you are able to verify that everything is as listed online. If it isn’t, you can cancel the booking for free and get a refund, and Housing Anywhere will assist you in finding a similar new place to live.
  • Housing Anywhere charges a one-time service fee of 25-30% of the first month’s rent (min. €165).

Housing Anywhere Benefits

✅ English website & customer service 
✅ Mostly furnished apartments
✅ City registration filter available
✅ Pet-friendly filter available
✅ Landlord can be contacted beforehand
✅ Smaller cities available
✅ Public reviews on landlord from previous tenants
✅ 48h tenant protection policy

Housing Anywhere Drawbacks

⛔️ Listings do not always include utilities (you need to select the filter)
⛔️ 25-30% of the first month’s rent (min. €165) one-time service fee

3. Wunderflats

Wunderflats was founded in 2015 in Berlin and focuses on flats for expats and professionals. They identify as the market leader, and during our search, the amount of listings was higher than on other platforms. Wunderflats also offers serviced apartments that include regular cleaning and other amenities.

Wunderflats verifies the identity of landlords and also checks apartments by taking professional photos of them. You can identify visited apartments by the Wunderflats watermark in the top right corner of the pictures. I could never spot such a watermark while inspecting the platform and looking at various listings. 

The minimum stay across the platform is one month.

What Does Wunderflat’s Payment Process Look Like?

  • You pay all payments directly to the landlord.
  • There is no tenant protection via the platform.
  • Wunderflats charges a fixed one-time service fee of 249 euros.

Wunderflats Benefits

✅ English website & customer service 
✅ Fully furnished apartments
✅ Filter for serviced apartments including cleaning
✅ City registration filter available
✅ Pet-friendly filter available
✅ Smaller cities available
✅ Utilities always included
✅ Info in listing whether the broadcasting fee is included
✅ Info in listing whether name on letterbox and bell can be changed

Wunderflats Drawbacks

⛔️ No tenant protection via platform for payments
⛔️ Landlord can’t be contacted beforehand
⛔️ 249 euros fixed one-time service fee 

4. Uniplaces

Founded in 2013 in Lisbon with a strong focus on students. During our search, I could spot more private rooms than private apartments.

Uniplaces features a trusted landlord badge, which, similar to other platforms, gets assigned to experienced landlords who have had at least one tenant via Uniplaces. They also verify listings through professional photographers and mark them accordingly. For both verifications, Unipalces offers a filter, which is great if you want to be 100% protected. 

One big downside with Uniplaces is that they don’t have a filter or setting that allows you to see whether you can do your city registration with the apartment. When inquiring with Uniplaces whether they can add such a filter, they said that they are aware of its importance. For the meantime, you can reach out to their dedicated team at bookings(at)uniplaces.com before submitting a booking request. They will get back to you whether the apartment fulfills the Anmeldung requirement.

What Does Uniplaces’ Payment Process Look Like?

  • You pay the first month’s rent to Uniplaces via their platform (no bank transfers).
  • You pay the deposit to the landlord on the day you move in. 
  • 24h after you move in, Uniplaces transfers it to the landlord to allow time for you to check that everything is ok.
  • Uniplaces charges a 25-30% one-time service fee of the first month’s rent upon booking.

The minimum booking duration varies from listing to listing as it is set by the landlord. It usually lies somewhere between 1 and 3 months minimum.  

Uniplaces Benefits

✅ English website & customer service
✅ Mostly furnished apartments
✅ Pet-friendly filter available
✅ Filter for trusted landlord & verified apartments
✅ 24h hold of first rent payment to landlord
✅ Smaller cities available
✅ Agent booking service to assist you in finding a home

Uniplaces Drawbacks

⛔️ No filter or information on listing whether city registration is possible 
⛔️ Landlord can’t be contacted beforehand
⛔️ 25-30% one-time service fee of the first month’s rent

Next to these four furnished short-rental platforms that operate across all of Germany, you can also find more localized short-term rental providers in the most significant cities, such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, and Düsseldorf. A few that I know of are:

Important criteria to look out for during your search

Before booking any furnished apartment in Germany, you should double-check that the following criteria are fulfilled:

  • Certificate of Residence (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung): This is an absolute must. The apartment’s landlord must be willing to issue you this document, as without it, you can’t do your city registration. Without that, you won’t get your tax ID, so your employer can’t pay you properly, and on top of it, you can’t get your residence permit without having done the Anmeldung
    I can’t stress enough how important this document is. I will not mention Airbnb as a platform for your short-term housing in Germany because Airbnb is not built for immigrants but for travelers. They don’t offer a search filter for possible city registration. It is possible that you can ask the landlord of an Airbnb in a private message about it, and I know of a few cases in which it worked, but it is not a guarantee. 
  • Internet Connection: For the sake of a smooth settling-in process, be sure to book an apartment that includes WiFi. Getting home internet installed on your name and budget in a place you will only live in for a few months is not the most efficient. 
  • Utilities: When looking at listings, check whether the rental price includes all utilities (water, electricity, heating, internet) or whether you need to budget some or all on top of the rent. 
  • Mailbox and Bell name: After you have completed your city registration, you will be receiving important letters from the German government (e.g., your tax ID) via postal mail. Ideally, you are able to put your last name on your letterbox and bell. If this is not possible, you should double-check with the landlord that you can receive mail, e.g., by using ℅ in the postal address, so you don’t miss out on important documents. 

What does the rental process look like?

The rental process for short-term apartments looks very different from the one for long-term rentals. Furnished apartments that serve as temporary housing are much easier to access thanks to a fully digitized booking experience. The downside is that it is also much less personal.

A typical renting process for a furnished short-term apartment looks like this:

  • you search for an apartment listing that fulfills your needs on one of the below platforms
  • you create a profile on the platform and verify your identity
  • you send a booking request for the apartment – there is typically no viewing appointment
  • the landlord accepts or rejects your booking request
  • if your request gets accepted, you can confirm the apartment
  • you receive, review, and sign a digital rental contract online
  • you pay the first month’s rent and security deposit
  • you get the landlord’s contact details and arrange your move-in

Why should you start with a short-term rental in Germany?

Most of our community members start with a furnished short-term apartment as their first temporary accommodation for three to six months, saving valuable time and energy by not having to buy furniture and worry about internet and electricity contracts as a first thing after arriving in Germany. During this time, you can focus on settling in and getting your bureaucratic documents (Anmeldung, Tax ID, Residence Permit, Banking, Insurance, etc.) sorted.

After you have lived (and worked) for a few months in Germany, you have access to most documents that you need to succeed in getting long-term housing. Many internationals describe this task as just as or even more challenging than landing a job in Germany.

A big part of the challenge is the lack of understanding of the German rental culture and what kind of tenant German landlords are looking for. Jen (my wife and co-creator of Simple Germany) and I have written the first-of-its-kind book on renting in Germany to enable you with such knowledge and empower you to succeed in your long-term apartment hunt. The eBook includes communication templates with landlords and real estate agents as well as over-the-shoulder videos on how to set up your profile and what to look out for in listings on ImmobilienScout24.de. 

You can now start reading ‘Get Your Keys – An Expat’s Handbook For Renting In Germany’ for free. 

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  • Understand the German rental culture
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About the Author

Yvonne Koppen is a researcher and writer at Simple Germany, focusing on demystifying German bureaucracy for international skilled workers.

She has lived and worked abroad, which helps her understand how difficult a move to a new country can be. Beyond her professional pursuits, Yvonne loves to plan and go on road trips, puzzle, and do a triathlon here and there.

She is committed to creating accessible, empowering content through her writing and YouTube videos. Yvonne's passion for continuous learning and her ability to simplify complex topics make her an invaluable resource for expats seeking to navigate their new life in Germany.