Landlords usually require various documents from people who apply for a flat. Without these documents, in principle, you do not have any chance of finding an apartment. The following documents are usually required:
- Tenant's personal information ("Mieterselbstauskunft"), including your name, your contact details (phone number and e-mail), your job title, your current address, etc. Many landlords and property management companies have their own specific personal information forms which is usually distributed before or during the flat viewing. The applicants usually fill out the form on site and give it back to the company's agent. You can find a sample personal information form ("Mieterselbstauskunft") online.
- A copy of your Schufa credit report. You can learn more about this report in our chapter "Schufa".
- Proof(s) of income from the last three months (for employees) or your most recent tax assessment (for the self-employed). If you receive social benefits, you also need a copy of the respective office's confirmation that they will cover the rental costs. You can obtain this confirmation from the staff member responsible for you at the Social Welfare Office or the Job Centre.
- Proof of Rent Payment Certificate ("Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung"). On this Certificate, your current landlord confirms that you have always paid your rent and there are no arrears to be paid. If you are still living in a refugee accommodation centre, the director of the centre or the staff responsible for you in the Social Welfare Office can prepare you a Rent Payment Certificate.
- A copy of your passport and residence permit.
- If applicable, a copy of your WBS; i.e. a document certifying your eligibility for rent subsidised housing. You can find out more in this regard in our chapter "WBS".
You must prepare these documents both in print in a folder and as a PDF file to be sent by e-mail. Some landlords expect the documents to be handed directly during the flat viewing- others may ask you to submit your papers by e-mail. In the latter case, send the necessary documents to the specified address as quickly as possible, as landlords usually prefer to pick the first tenant who meets the requirements.
Tip: You can increase your chances by adding a cover letter to your application- in this letter you can briefly introduce yourself and your family, explain your life situation in Germany and describe your plans for the future (e.g. you will soon start vocational training or a university degree). If you do not speak German well enough yet, it is advisable to give the contact details of a German-speaking friend for further pre-contractual communication. Many landlords are concerned that they may not be able to communicate with their non-German tenants in case of a problem; that is why a German-speaking friend or acquaintance can be quite helpful.