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FAQs for foreign students

Finding accommodation: What you should know as a student from abroad

Prior to arriving – FAQs

You can begin looking for accommodation in Erlangen, Nuremberg and surrounding areas prior to arriving in Germany. The Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) at FAU has summarised the most important facts relating to finding accommodation from abroad, your stay here and to aspects of your departure.

No. Unlike in other countries, you will not automatically be given accommodation when you are admitted to study in Germany. Students have to find their own accommodation themselves.

No. There is no guarantee that you will get a room/flat in Erlangen at the start of your programme. To increase your chances of finding accommodation, it is important to be flexible in the choice of location. This means that you might also have to look at surrounding towns such as Forchheim, Herzogenaurach and Ansbach.

No. The university does not have any accommodation for students. The student accommodation offered by Student Services does not belong to the university. University staff can only provide you with recommendations.

You can start looking for accommodation prior to coming to Germany. Make use of the numerous addresses and information available on our website.

Yes. We would strongly recommend that you have a number of applications running at the same time. If you accept an offer, you automatically enter into a landlord-tenant relationship. Therefore, we would ask that you only accept one offer from a landlord in writing and send written rejections to all other offers.

Monthly rental for furnished accommodation can cost between €17 and €25 per square metre and per person, depending on the status of the accommodation and its location. This works out at around €600 per month in total.

No. Unfortunately, we cannot give you any guarantee that you will find accommodation. Once we have received an application form that has been completed in full, we can only forward one offer to you – depending on availability on the private housing market.

The room/flat will be offered to another student and you will have to look for accommodation on your own.

I’ve arrived – what next?

Once you have arrived in Germany, you will need to open an account at a German bank.

You will have to sign your rental agreement and pay the first month’s rent and a deposit by a date defined in the agreement.  Make sure that the rent and any additional costs are precisely defined. All arrangements should be made in writing.

You also need to register your address with the residents’ registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) at the local town hall within 14 days. Set up a standing order with your bank or a direct debit with your landlord to pay the rent.

Agree a date with your landlord when you can move into your accommodation. Take a copy of your passport and copies of the bank transactions for the rent and the deposit. On this date you will be given the keys and a copy of the house rules. Make sure that a handover report is compiled (sometimes it is a good idea to include photographs) that describes the condition of the room/flat. This is important so that you are not later charged for any damage that was already present at time of handover.

In order to be able to use utilities not covered in the rental agreement – such as electricity and internet – you will have to sign an agreement with the appropriate provider.

If you have been provided with a room in student accommodation, please hand in your enrolment certificate as soon as possible. For each semester you stay in the accommodation, you must automatically hand in your current enrolment certificate without being requested to do so.

In Germany, there are special aspects of behaviour and order governing living in residential accommodation. Helpful information on aspects such as house rules, separating rubbish, cleanliness, energy and the environment can be found at http://www.gewobau-erlangen.de/de/service/download/index.html – http://www.gewobau-erlangen.de/en/services/downloads/index.html

Before departing – FAQs

Usually three months prior to the date of termination of the agreement. When you want to leave your room/flat, you have to give your landlord three months’ written notice. Either hand this over to them in person or send it by registered mail with requested advice of delivery (Einschreiben mit Rückschein). If you do not hand in your notice to leave by the end of the month that is three months prior to the date you wish to leave, you will have to submit it by the end of the following month for departure three months later.

No. Agreements with a minimum term may have a period of notice of six to twelve months, or even three years. You can often find this information in the agreement under “…frühestens kündbar….” (earliest termination).

You are responsible for the payment of rent until the date of termination of the rental agreement.

Hand in your notice to terminate the rental agreement within the defined period (usually three months prior to leaving). To do this, send your landlord a letter of termination (see “How is the tenancy agreement terminated?”). Cancel all other contracts – such as internet, electricity, telephone, gas – taking into account the appropriate periods of notice. Periods of notice and methods of termination will need to be clarified with your providers directly. Clean the accommodation before you leave unless you have agreed some kind of final cleaning arrangements in advance with your landlord. If there has been any damage to the accommodation while you have been living there, speak about it with the landlord to see whether you should repair the damage or whether the landlord will do this. If the latter is the case, the repair costs will be deducted from your deposit.

It is advisable to arrange two dates with your landlord: one fixed appointment for the handover, and another about a month prior to moving out so that the landlord can have a look at the accommodation and check for any possible damage.

An accommodation inspection means that you agree a date with the landlord to hand back the accommodation with its inventory and key(s) when you leave. The landlord may also check the accommodation and its furnishings for damage. The condition of the room/flat will be compared with that recorded in the handover report prepared when you moved in.

This depends of the agreement you have made with your landlord. As a rule, you will have to hand back the accommodation in the same state in which you found it. Make sure that the room/flat is clean, free of any mould/mildew and is in a good state. This will help you avoid having to pay any additional charges! It is advisable to make an appointment with your landlord about a month before you are going to leave in which you agree how the room/flat is to be left.

When you move in, ask about how to sort out the accommodation inspection. Agree an appointment for the accommodation inspection when you hand in your notice to the landlord.

You have to hand in your notice to leave in writing. A simple email is not enough. You have to send your notice by registered mail with requested advice of delivery (Einschreiben mit Rückschein), or just hand it over to your landlord personally. This has to be done within the period of notice (i.e. usually three months prior to leaving). If you do not hand in your notice on time you will have to wait longer and pay more before you can cancel your agreement.

Yes. If you have not left the room/flat in a good state, if it is dirty, there is damage, or if there are outstanding charges (for heating, for example), the landlord is entitled to deduct the corresponding costs from your deposit. If there are other outstanding payments (for example, for rent) or if the deposit does not cover the outstanding payments, the landlord will charge you for these.

The deposit will be returned to you within six months after the rental agreement has been terminated. Let your landlord know your bank account details for the return of the deposit.

No. It is not possible to cover the last rental payment from your deposit. The deposit is security for the landlord to cover any damage and serves to settle ancillary costs once you have left. It is usually reimbursed within six months of leaving the accommodation if the room/flat has been handed back without any problems.

This depends on the landlord and whether you move out within your period of notice. If you intend to leave and have not given the required period of notice, it is advisable to propose a new tenant to help you negotiate matters with your landlord. At the end of the day it is a matter for the landlord to decide who should move in.

Agree with your bank when you should terminate any standing orders. This should definitely be after the payment of the final month’s rent.

Close your German account as soon as you have received your deposit back. Ask your bank for details and take the relevant steps before you leave Germany.