Living in the TRK
A wide variety of different living arrangements are available in the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion -- from small studio apartments for rent to larger multi-room accommodations and single-family houses, all of which can be found in charming pre-war buildings or more modern developments. However, attractive apartments are very much in demand and searching for a suitable place to live can take up a good deal of time.
To help you quickly find a place where you truly feel at home in the region, we have put together some information on how to search for a house or apartment, along with some things you should keep in mind before signing a contract and moving in.
- Finding a place to live
- Information for students
- Information for vocational trainees
- Rent contracts
- Further information
Before you start looking, you should think about what you have in mind in terms of size, location, transport connections, and monthly rent. The more specific your expectations are, the more you'll be able to narrow down your search.
You can find listings of apartments and houses available for rent in the service sections of local and regional newspapers, as well as on a number of online platforms.
Local and regional newspapers
In particular, we recommend taking a look at the Saturday editions of:
- Badische Neueste Nachrichten (BNN)
- The advertising section of Der Kurier (ads also available online)
If you'd like to expand your search to a wider area, you might also consider the following newspapers:
- Badisches Tageblatt
- Die Rheinpfalz
- Pforzheimer Zeitung
- Stuttgarter Zeitung
In many cases, printed apartment offers are especially full of abbreviations you may not immediately understand. To help you figure out what they stand for, a list of the most common terms is available here (in German only).
If you're interested in searching online, you should check out the following online platforms, which cover all of Germany:
Online real-estate platforms usually offer several photos of each property available for rent, which should help you get a good feel for each home.
Meanwhile, those looking for a room in a shared apartment or house can visit:
For assistance in finding a place to live, you can also consult a real estate broker. Brokers receive a commission for serving as an intermediary; in some cases, this also applies when a broker has placed an apartment offer in a newspaper. However, you will only need to pay a broker's commission should you actually sign the corresponding rent contract. German law prohibits brokers from charging commissions higher than two months' rent (not including ancillary costs, plus value-added tax).
If you're looking for an apartment in or around Karlsruhe, you can also contact the city's housing society, Volkswohnung GmbH:
Telephone: +49 (0)721 35 060
And remember, asking around in your circle of friends and colleagues about available apartments is always a good idea!
Finding a place to live can be very difficult for students – particularly at the beginning of each new semester! – which is why we recommend getting an early start.
For students of the state universities in the region, Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe offers dormitory rooms in Karlsruhe and nearby Pforzheim. Unfortunately, however, not everyone who applies can be assigned a room due to the high level of demand.
Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe also provides a free service students can use to find rooms available for rent from private individuals. You can either register for the online system or simply look through the offers posted in the passage to the cafeteria of the Studentenhaus (on Adenauerring, in the basement of the right building wing). The Studentenhaus is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday. New offers are posted every day at 11:00 a.m. In addition, Studierendenwerk provides related advice on the page "Tips for Apartment-Hunters".
Rooms Z 05 and Z 06 - Dormitory administration
Room Z 09 - Assistance in finding a privately rented room, general information
Mo. - Fr. 10:30 a.m. - noon
Th. 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Tel: +49 (0)721 6909-200
Assistance in finding a privately rented room
Tel: +49 (0)721 6909-192
Information for vocational trainees
The association Kolpinghäuser e.V. offers room and board and educational support to young people currently undergoing vocational training. It represents part of Kolpingwerk, an international Catholic network that focuses on social issues. You can find more information about Kolping dormitories for vocational trainees, students, and other groups here. These dorms encourage their residents to interact with one another, such as by having meals or engaging in recreational activities together. This aids them in meeting other young people in similar situations after the day's work is done.
The Kolpinghäuser dorms are for all those between the ages of 14 and 27 who are currently going to school, undergoing vocational training, pursuing a degree, or are unable to live at home due to work.
Verband der Kolpinghäuser e. V.
Breite Str. 110
Tel: +49 (0)221 / 29 24 13 - 0
In principle, rent contracts in Germany have to be finalized in writing. These contracts typically specify a base monthly rent (Kaltmiete), which only covers the cost of renting the space in question. In most cases, the amount of money you transfer to your landlord every month will also include some ancillary costs for the utilities and services you are provided. The utilities and services covered by these ancillary costs can vary from contract to contract, so be sure to ask prospective landlords what is included and what you may still have to pay for before signing any rent contract.
Meanwhile, the monthly payments you make in the form of ancillary and maintenance costs can sometimes be higher than the net rent required by your landlord. The costs can include (but are not limited to):
- Water (including warm)
- Garbage collection
You may also end up having to pay for the following:
- Building cleaning, a building caretaker, chimney sweeping, outdoor maintenance
- Different forms of insurance
- Cable television service
- Shared facilities
Remember, your home's ancillary costs can vary based on:
- How many people live there (which affects how much water and electricity you use in particular)
- How many rooms you have and which see use (influences how much heating you need)
- The home's structural integrity (better insulation means lower heating costs, for example)
- Any additional appointments you need to pay for (if your building has an elevator or a backyard, for instance)
You will settle most ancillary costs through advance monthly payments that are based on estimates of your consumption. After each year passes, the costs of your actual consumption will then be calculated. While you will be reimbursed if you consume less than expected, you may also be required to make additional payments after the fact -- if you used more water than estimated for your home, for example. This is why we recommend checking the amounts on your meters on a regular basis and adjusting your advance payments as necessary.
Not all of the costs associated with a house or apartment may be billed to you as a tenant. If you're ever in doubt, find out which ancillary costs are transferable and which are not. To get help from the experts with any issue concerning apartments or renting, you can contact your local tenants' association. These organizations can be found in every larger city, including in Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden.
When you move into a new rented home, you will usually need to provide the landlord with a deposit, as well. This is a certain amount of money meant to serve as a type of security for the landlord. Paying a deposit enables the landlord to ensure that all of your expenses will be paid if and when you move out. In principle, landlords are required to transfer deposits into an account that is separate from their own assets and provide interest equal to the amount banks offer on savings deposits that are redeemable at three month's notice. Other forms of investment are also allowed, as long as they are agreed on between you and your landlord. If and when you move out of your house or apartment, your landlord will be required to return your deposit to you along with the interest accrued. However, you will only be entitled to the full amount if you have met all of the landlord's requirements in terms of paying all of the rent and ancillary costs due. Your landlord may also use your deposit to repair any damages caused to the residence by you, your guests, or any subtenants.
A deposit must not exceed the amount of three monthly rent payments (not including ancillary costs) and can be rendered to a landlord in three equal monthly installments. The first of these installments is typically due at the start of a given rent contract.
You can either pay a deposit directly to your landlord or place the same amount in a security deposit at a bank. If you choose the latter option, the bank will be liable for any of your landlord's claims up to the amount of the deposit.
Since homes in Germany are seldom rented out with furnishings, a tenant who is moving out may give you the chance to assume ownership of a number of appointments (a built-in kitchen or closet, for example, or carpeting). If you decide to pay the corresponding fee, the items in question will then belong to you. Here, it's important to make sure that the previous tenant is not asking for more than the current value of these items; this depends on their age, condition, and original price. Of course, you are under no obligation to purchase any furnishings from a previous tenant.
In Germany, an informal schedule of quiet hours is observed and considered important by most people. These hours are typically between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on Monday through Saturday, as well as all day on Sunday. During quiet hours, it's a good idea to avoid loud activities, such as mowing the lawn, listening to loud music, or using hammers.
Public broadcasting fee
In Germany, citizens are required to help finance the country’s public broadcasting (radio and television) stations. This requirement is based on the principle that a contribution must be made by every home, regardless of how many people live there and how many receiver devices are in use. It also applies no matter whether you receive public or private stations. If you move into a new home in Germany, you will need to inform the corresponding authority (Beitragsservice ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio) of your new address.
Garbage sorting / recycling
As you may have already noticed just by walking down the street or around your new neighborhood, there are a variety of containers in Germany that are meant for different types of garbage. The effort to sort garbage represents part of German society's environmental awareness, and it is taken very seriously. The lid of each garbage container typically specifies the correct way to dispose of your refuse. The system isn't all that simple at first, however, and deliberate improper disposal can be met with monetary fines. As such, we recommend asking your neighbors for assistance if you're not sure how to proceed.
Although the tradition of taking turns at cleaning common areas of apartment buildings has its roots in the Swabia region of Germany, Kehrwoche is also observed in many parts of Baden and represents an important part of maintaining good relationships with one's neighbors. It typically involves cleaning your building's steps, hallways, basement areas, and similar spaces according to a certain schedule (every other week, for example, depending on how many neighbors you have). In many buildings, this activity is assigned to an external cleaning service, which is then paid for through the tenants' ancillary costs. If you're not sure about your building's arrangements, simply ask your neighbors.
Right after you move into your new home, don't forget to put your name on your mailbox! Otherwise, letters, packages, and other correspondence may not reach you. No separate registration with the postal service is required.