Your home in Germany: rules and tips

Caretaker

Organisational issues and repairs in the building you live in are the responsibility of the caretaker (Ger. "Hausmeister") and house management (Ger. "Hausverwaltung").

House rules

Large buildings usually have house rules (Ger. "Hausordnung").  The landlord stipulates the rules on, for example, a cleaning rota for the corridors and stairs or the quiet times in the building.

Winter service

If there is no caretaker, you will have to remove snow and ice from the front of the house or building during winter.  This means that you are liable for all injuries incurred if you don´t remove the snow.

Domestic help

Looking for domestic help?  Although there are some agencies, they are not very common in Germany, so you´ll have to rely on word of mouth or publish an ad in your local newspaper or on the pinboard of your local supermarket.  Fees will range from €9 to €15 per hour.  There are legal requirements when employing domestic help as they will be employed on what is called a "Mini-job" basis, i.e. they will probably earn less than €450/month.  Find out in this pdf documente what means what a Mini-job is.

Washing and ironing (of shirts) and dry cleaning can be done at the cleaners (Ger. "Reinigung"). 

There are specialised window cleaners (Ger. "Fensterputzer") in Germany.  Gardening (Ger. "Gartenarbeit") services are quite expensive.  Look for ads in your local newspaper or leaflets in your letter box for these services. 

Utilities

The cost of water depends on individual use and charges are levied with the rent.  For electricity and gas, you should look for the best offer available on the market.  Check out our services section!

Garbage

Separation of garbage and recycling are common in Germany. 

You should make sure you have a calendar for the garbage collection in your neighbourhood.  It will tell you when you need to take out each bin onto the street and includes "postcards" to ask for the collection of large garbage (Ger. "Sperrmüll"), e.g. furniture.

Learn what each bin is for!  The colours change from city to city.  You will typically have different ones for:

  • paper
  • packaging ("Grüner Punkt" for recyclable packaging)
  • food waste (Ger. "Biomüll") for compost
  • "Restmüll", the rest

"Sondermüll": special depots for poisonous or dangerous waste, e.g. paints.

Batteries can be thrown away at supermarkets or electronics shops.

Glass (white, green and brown) containers can be found at different locations in your neighbourhood.  

Clothes and shoes can also be put in containers (Ger. "Altkleider") in different locations.

 

Pets

House pets, such as dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. may be kept in an apartment if the landlord allows it.  Ask him about this when you´re signing the rent contract.

And remember that if you have a dog, you will have to pay a special dog tax (Ger. "Hundesteuer"), an insurance and clean up after it on the streets. 

 

Tenant protection

If you have trouble with our landlord, there are tenant protection associations (Ger. "Mieterschutz-Vereine") in may towns and cities.  For example, the landlord cannot cancel the rent contract without reason.  However, as a tenant, you must be give notice according to what has been agreed in the contract.