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Accommodation

Accommodation

The cities of Erlangen, Fürth and Nuremberg offer a very good standard of living. They are popular places to live, meaning that accommodation is in high demand but often in short supply. This is particularly the case during the period before the start of a new semester. We therefore recommend that you start looking for accommodation as soon as possible. If you are a little flexible and also look in the surrounding area, you will have a better chance of finding somewhere affordable to live. The region has an excellent public transport system, so you should not have any problems getting to your place of study or work.

It is worth checking the accommodation available on the internet every day, as new accommodation becomes available on a day-to-day basis. It pays to be flexible when it comes to the price and location of your accommodation and what facilities are available.


Information on finding accommodation

Please note the following:

  • FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg is not able to offer accommodation. The University does not operate any student accommodation and is not allowed to act as an estate agent.
  • University staff will try to assist you in your search. However, they are not responsible for finding accommodation and can only make recommendations.
  • Your own initiative is therefore required to find suitable accommodation in the private housing market. Please take care of finding your accommodation in good time!
  • Offers in the private housing market are scarce, especially in Erlangen; this means that it can take a lot of time and effort to find a flat or room. As in many other German university cities, the accommodation demand exceeds the supply by far, which often leads to high rents. We recommend you inquire about several flats/rooms before coming to Germany and to take advantage of a suitable offer without hesitation.
  • Increase your chances by staying flexible and including rooms and flats in your search that are not in the direct vicinity of your place of study or work. We therefore recommend that you also search the area around Erlangen, Fürth and Nuremberg as well as the neighbouring towns of Forchheim and Ansbach. Thanks to the well-organised local transportation system (www.vgn.de) you can reach your place of study or work in Erlangen or Nuremberg quickly and cheaply. There are also tickets at reduced rates for students (semester ticket).
  • Further information on the cities: Erlangen and surrounding area: www.erlangen.de; Nuremberg and surrounding area: www.nuernberg.de; Fürth and surrounding area: www.fuerth.de; Ansbach and surrounding area: www.ansbach.de; Forchheim and surrounding area: www.forchheim.de.

General information

Local newspapers usually include an advertising section on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can read adverts online under categories such as 'Vermietungen/Angebote von Vermietern lesen' or take out an ad yourself under the category 'Mietgesuch'. You will encounter a large number of abbreviations in the ads. Newspapers usually print an overview explaining the abbreviations in the advertising section. The following online newspapers and magazines host advertisements for accommodation:

There are estate agencies and agents who can help you find a room or flat. Many such offers and private advertisements can be found online, but they are often more expensive and not usually intended for students. If you request the services of an estate agent, you may have to pay commission. There have been recent changes to the law regarding who pays estate agent fees to the benefit of the tenant and you should check this. Unlike the rent deposit, this sum will not be reimbursed when you move out. In addition, you must pay a rent deposit.

Websites with accommodation ads (only a selection; list is not exhaustive):

You can find notice boards in University buildings and at University restaurants, but also in shopping centres, cafés, pubs or at the Amt für Wohnen und Stadtentwicklung (Housing and Urban Development Office) in Nuremberg. Individuals can put up their offers and search ads free of charge. However, this requires being there in person. It is not possible to request information on these offers via telephone or letter.

Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg runs apartment buildings and housing complexes with about 3800 housing places in Erlangen, Herzogenaurach, Nuremberg, Ansbach, and Ingolstadt. International students with a Bachelor's degree can find information and apply for accommodation on the Student Services website. Information for international students with a Master's degree, scholarship holders, doctoral candidates and visiting professors from abroad is currently being compiled and will be available shortly.

More publicly subsidised accommodation can be found on the Student Services website.

Information on accommodation for visiting researchers and doctoral candidates is available on the Welcome Centre website.

Student Services provides free assistance in finding rooms and flats in the private housing market. The offer is restricted to students. For organisational reasons, students can only look at the offers during the opening hours and in person (not via telephone or in writing).

Student Services' room search service

Private accommodation includes accommodation run by church foundations, commercial organisations and individuals. Inquiries and applications for accommodation must always be addressed directly to the providers. The prices for a furnished room or flat with a living space of 15–20 square metres are between 400 and 600 euros in rent plus additional costs such as electricity, heating, and internet access. The Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) maintains contacts with several accommodation providers (List of providers and information).

Rooms in student accommodation are generally furnished, which means that a bed, wardrobe, table and shelf are available. Washing machines and dryers are available in all student accommodation. Bed linen, towels, crockery and cutlery are not available.

In shared accommodation (Wohngemeinschaft, abbreviated 'WG'), several people generally share a housing unit consisting of several rooms. Usually rooms such as the bathroom, kitchen or living room are used communally. Rooms in shared accommodation may be furnished or unfurnished. When you are looking for a room in shared accommodation, pay attention to offers on the notice boards in the institutes, libraries and in the restaurants and cafeterias.

Living together in shared accommodation can be a great advantage for international visitors as they can quickly become immersed in German language and everyday culture. Rooms in shared accommodation are normally applied for through the people who live there, rather than contacting the owner directly. However, the owner's or manager's approval is still required. In case of unauthorised subletting (without the owner's permission), the rental contract may be terminated without notice.

The project 'Wohnen für Hilfe' (Accommodation for Help) run by the city of Erlangen in co-operation with Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg is geared towards students who want to live with families and help them out in everyday life. In return, the families give the students living space (usually a single room) at a reduced rate. For more information about the project, please see the city of Erlangen website or the project's Facebook page (German).

If you have decided on a flat or room and the accommodation owner agrees, both parties sign a legally binding rental contract. An oral agreement or agreement via e-mail is legally binding; however, we recommend that you get a written agreement or a proper contract as quickly as possible. Withdrawal is only possible in writing and according to the agreed notice period in the contract. The rent and deposit are also determined in the rental contract.

Please check the details of the contract, such as the move-in date, the notice period and any other agreements, one last time before signing it. Some contracts will often require you to take out liability insurance. While it is not a legal requirement, it is certainly recommended as it can cover any damage you cause to the accommodation.

Read the contract carefully before signing. Make sure you take good care of all documents (rental contract, handover certificate, invoices, receipts, correspondence with the accommodation owner).

Rent must always be paid at the start of the month. By accepting the conditions of the contract, you are obligated to transfer the deposit and the first rent payment before moving in and possibly from abroad. You may also be required to pay a cleaning fee even before moving in. The accommodation owner may also request the entire rent for the semester in advance.

The deposit is between two and three months' rent. The accommodation owner will give you their bank details so that you can transfer the money within the deadline. If the money is not transferred to them within the agreed deadline, the flat/room may be rented out to another prospective tenant instead.

The rent consists of the basic rent and a contribution towards service charges (called Nebenkosten or Betriebskosten; see below). The basic rent is also called 'cold rent' (Kaltmiete) and means the costs of the accommodation without service charges. The 'cold rent' plus service charges (water, heating, waste disposal, maintenance, etc.) add up to the 'warm rent' (Warmmiete). The rent must be transferred so that the accommodation owner receives it by the third working day of the month before you move in. You can pay your rent to the accommodation owner via direct debit (Lastschrift), which you must authorise in writing, or by regular bank transfer. A standing order with your bank (Dauerauftrag) can help you avoid problems due to belated rent payments.

Service charges consist of fixed costs (maintenance, cleaning, etc.) and costs that depend on consumption, such as heating and hot water. Electricity and gas may also belong to the service charges if there is an agreement to that effect and you do not enter into a contract with a provider (see below). Service charges are paid as a fixed monthly sum that is calculated using an average monthly level of consumption. Please make sure to discuss with your accommodation owner which utility costs are already included in the rent.

Once a year the meters in your flat or room are read in order to calculate your actual consumption. If you consumed more electricity, hot water or heating than estimated, you are required to pay the difference. Energy costs in particular have increased significantly over the past years; we therefore recommend you use heating, electricity, gas and water sparingly.

Electricity is not usually included in the rent in student or private accommodation. Gas is also frequently not included in the contract. Usually you will have to pay a fixed sum every month or every other month (advance payment called Abschlag) via direct debit. The exact account is calculated once a year based on actual consumption. A new monthly charge for the following year is calculated based on this account.

The move-in date and the date for the handover of your accommodation must be arranged with the accommodation owner. A handover certificate is written on the day of the handover, recording all existing defects or problems. You should pay close attention to damages and abnormalities and have them recorded in the certificate. The certificate is important for when you move out, as it will enable you to prove that certain damages were already present when you moved in. Otherwise you could be made responsible for old damages. The handover certificate is usually in writing. At any rate, you are advised to bring a witness to the handover. This person can confirm the condition of the accommodation. The state of the accommodation may also be recorded with a camera.

If the room/flat is in a good condition, the accommodation owner will usually transfer your deposit back to your German bank account after you have moved out and the service charges have been covered. However, please note that according to German tenancy law, they may keep your deposit for up to six months after you move out.

There are many telephone and internet providers in Germany. Contracts for telephone and internet connections can be either fixed-term or without a set duration (notice period of one month for cancellation). You can choose between a land line or a mobile phone with a pre-paid SIM card. It certainly pays to compare the offers from various providers.

In student accommodation run by Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg and to some extent in publicly funded accommodation and private halls of residence run by church foundations, rooms can only be rented for one semester at a time. The rent must be paid for the full duration of the semester, even if the tenant wants to move out at an earlier date. The rental contract may be issued for six months with the option of extending it from one semester to the next. The maximum duration for renting student accommodation run by Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg is limited to only a few semestersPlease note: A period of one year applies to visitors from abroad.

Please note the provisions regarding the notice period in your rental contract. The notice period is usually three months. If you want to move out, the accommodation owner must have received your notice of termination three months prior. In order to be able to prove this, you can send the termination notice as a registered letter with a return receipt (Einschreiben mit Rückschein) – this means the accommodation owner has to confirm the receipt of your letter. You can also hand them your written notice in person. Asking for a written confirmation of receipt can be useful, but the accommodation owner is not required to comply. A termination notice via e-mail does not suffice.

If you want to move out by 30 September, for instance, your accommodation owner needs to have received your written termination notice by 30 June at the latest. You remain obligated to pay rent until the end of the contract, i.e. until the end of the notice period (3/6/12 months or more). The remaining rent payments may not be settled using the deposit and must be transferred to the accommodation owner's account until the end of the rental period. Contracts with a minimum duration may have a notice period of 6 to 12 months or even 3 years. You can often find this information in the contract under 'frühestens kündbar' (earliest termination).

By signing the rental contract, the tenant takes on various obligations from the start of the rental period. The most important of these are explained in the following paragraphs.

  • Punctual monthly payment of the contractually agreed rent
  • Careful treatment of the rented property including furniture
  • Sufficient ventilation in winter – see section on heating and ventilation
  • Daily ventilation of the rooms in summer and in winter (otherwise there is a risk of harmful mould and damage due to damp)
  • Waste separation (according to the waste containers outside the building)
  • Applying to providers, if not included in rent (public broadcasting fee, electricity, gas, heating)
  • Observation of house rules
  • Observation of any other agreements such as taking out liability insurance and/or household content insurance (if required by the accommodation owner)
  • If the above obligations are not fulfilled despite multiple warnings, your tenancy may be terminated without notice.
  • Open a bank account
  • Obligation to register
  • If you are enrolled in a Bachelor's or Master's degree programme and you live in student accommodation run by Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg or publicly funded accommodation, you are required to prove your student status. Please submit your valid certificate of enrolment to your student accommodation contact as soon as possible after enrolment. The certificate of enrolment must be presented for every new semester that you are enrolled at FAU.

Heating and ventilating the building properly is the responsibility of the tenant as outlined in the house rules and not doing so can lead to a rental contract being terminated without notice. Buildings must be ventilated regularly to avoid mould. Even in winter, you must open windows completely at least 2–3 times a day for 5–10 minutes. Your accommodation owner can give you more information on request or in the contract itself. Furthermore, you can ask the FAU accommodation service (e-mail: accommodation@fau.de). There are important basic rules for heating in order to avoid damage and mould. The recommended living space temperature is between 18° C (e.g. in the kitchen, at night in the bedroom) and 22° C (e.g. in the living room, office, or bathroom). If your pipes freeze because you have not heated the accommodation, you will be liable for the repair costs.

In Germany, waste is separated according the material type (e.g. packaging, paper, organic waste and residual waste).  Hazardous waste must be disposed of separately – cities and municipalities provide facilities for this (example on the city of Erlangen website). Tenants may face higher service charges if they do not separate their waste. Information sheets on heating, ventilating and separating waste properly can be requested from the FAU accommodation service. Please write a short request to: accommodation@fau.de.

By signing the rental contract you undertake to care for the condition of the accommodation, furniture and the keys you were given. If you should lose your apartment or building key but the building has a master key system, you will be held liable for the entire system being changed. This can result in considerable costs. We strongly recommend taking out liability insurance (Privathaftpflichtversicherung) for this situation. This insurance covers many types of damages to a third party or their property. Please ensure that your liability insurance covers damage by water, the exchange of master key systems and similar things.

If you notice damages to your accommodation, you must notify the accommodation owner in writing without delay in order to give them the opportunity to arrange for repairs. If you caused the damage or did not report it immediately, you will be liable for the costs.

Many private accommodation owners will want to get to know their future tenants before signing a contract. We recommend that you contact accommodation owners in the morning and arrange an appointment as soon as possible. It is common for several applicants to be invited to a viewing. If you are interested in a flat that you have viewed, you should arrange a binding appointment to accept the flat or sign the contract as soon as possible.

It is possible to apply for some student and private accommodation from abroad before you arrive in Germany using the relevant application form. It is quite common for application questionnaires, which you will usually be handed at a viewing, to contain questions about your financial circumstances, the number of people intending to move in and other personal details.

Make sure you reserve temporary accommodation, such as in a youth hostel or hotel, well in advance. Once you have arrived, finding long-term accommodation will usually be easier. For more information (only a selection; list is not exhaustive), please see:

Specific information

A link to the accommodation application form will be included in your admissions letter.

Please return the completed and signed form via e-mail to accommodation@fau.de by 31 May at the latest for the following winter semester or 30 November at the latest for the following summer semester.

  • You will be given general information about finding accommodation and help getting in contact with accommodation owners, planning and organising accommodation.
  • You will be placed on a waiting list. Each applicant will usually receive one offer of accommodation, depending on availability. If you receive an offer, you must decided whether or not you wish to accept it before the deadline stated. The final decision will then be made by the accommodation owner.
  • If you decline the offer, someone else will take your place and you will be removed from the waiting list. If you wish to accept the offer, please contact the accommodation owner yourself to arrange formalities such as receiving and signing the contract. Take note of the information and deadlines which you receive via e-mail. Please also inform the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) of your decision via e-mail at accommodation@fau.de.

Please read the general tips on accommodation for all target groups and the FAQs for international students

If you have a place in student accommodation, please hand in your certificate of enrolment as soon as possible. For each semester that you stay in the accommodation, you must hand in your current certificate of enrolment without being requested to do so.

Exchange students and students participating in exchange programmes must look for their own accommodation and submit applications for places in student accommodation themselves. The Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) will try to help you but cannot guarantee that you will be offered accommodation, as it does not own any accommodation and can only put you in contact with other providers.

You may apply for a place in accommodation owned by Student Services and can also look for privately-owned accommodation.

Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg runs its own student accommodation in Erlangen and Nuremberg. A set number of rooms are available for students participating in exchange programmes (e.g. Erasmus).

There are not enough rooms for all applicants. It is usually only possible for around one third of exchange students to be offered a place in student accommodation. Please also apply for rooms in private accommodation.

You will be informed of how to apply for a room in Student Services accommodation during the process of applying for a place to study at FAU.

FAU's Welcome Centre is responsible for providing advice and information to international researchers and doctoral candidates.

Welcome Centre