Munich ‘no longer most expensive city for renting’ in Germany

Munich is no longer the most expensive city for renting in Germany, a new study has revealed.

Munich 'no longer most expensive city for renting' in Germany
Stuttgart is now the most expensive city to rent in Germany, according to new research. Photo: DPA

According to Research and Consulting Company for Housing, Real Estate and the Environment (F+B), the Bavarian capital has been overtaken by Stuttgart.

Tenants have to pay significantly more to rent an apartment in the Baden-Württemberg city, where the average net cold rent (before extra costs such as for heating and insurance) is now €10.41 per square metre.

This makes Stuttgart the most expensive city for tenants in Germany for the first time since F+B started compiling their research in 1996, pushing Munich into second place.

SEE ALSO: The ultimate guide to living in Munich on a budget

Overall, the study found rents in Germany are continuing to rise, although not as strongly as in previous years.

In 2019, rents climbed by 1.8 percent, 0.4 percentage points less than in 2018.

Tenants in Germany have to pay on average €7.04 per square metre. According to the study, local comparative rents are most reasonable in the likes of Erfurt, eastern Berlin, Potsdam, Dresden and Schwerin.

“Stuttgart residents pay an average of €10.41 per square metre of net rent for their apartments, 48 percent above the €7.04 per square metre paid on average in cities,” said F+B managing director Dr. Bernd Leutner.

Munich is ranked sixth and tenants pay an average of €9.74 per square metre for net cold rent, according to the study.

Berlin becomes more expensive – but not for everyone

Prices in Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main and Cologne are also far above the overall average – in Berlin, on the other hand, they are only slightly above the average at €7.32 per square metre.

According to F+B, tenants with old leases in Berlin have a much better deal compared to newcomers.

Although existing rents in old and new flats have recently risen at an above-average rate, long-term tenants can still live relatively cheaply in the capital.

SEE ALSO: The complete guide to how you can (still) live cheaply in Berlin

Suburbs becoming more expensive than cities

The most expensive municipality for tenants is Karlsfeld in the district of Dachau in the neighbourhood of Munich, F+B reported. The average net cold rent here reaches €10.86 per square metre. The cities of Germering and Dachau, where there are also very high rent costs, are also in Bavaria.

Flats in Munich. Photo: DPA

“This shows that the old rule that anyone who wants to live more cheaply must move to the surrounding area no longer applies in the same way,” F+B explained.

The high cost of renting an apartment in German cities has led to more demand for homes in the surrounding area and suburbs, which in turn pushes up prices there.

Overall, the top 10 most expensive cities for tenants are located in southern Germany, the most prosperous part of the country.

READ ALSO: High costs, long queues and discrimination: What it's like to rent in Germany

The top 20 most expensive cities and municipalities

Karlsfeld (Bavaria, most expensive municipality)

Stuttgart (Baden-Württemberg), most expensive city)

Leinfelden-Echterdingen (Baden-Württemberg)

Germering (Bavaria)

Dachau (Bavaria)

Munich (Bavaria)

Tübingen (Baden-Württemberg)

Ludwigsburg (Baden-Württemberg)

Erding (Bavaria)

Ditzingen (Baden-Württemberg)

Darmstadt (Hesse)

Kornwestheim (Baden-Württemberg)


Esslingen am Neckar (Baden-Württemberg)

Wiesbaden (Hesse)

Leonberg (Baden-Württemberg)

Fellbach (Baden-Württemberg)

Konstanz (Baden-Württemberg)

Düsseldorf (North-Rhine Westphalia)

Frankfurt am Main (Hesse)

The first eastern German city in the ranking is Jena, which comes in at 90th place, where rents are roughly at the national average level.

F+B annually compares rent overviews and the development of the housing costs to find out what Germany's tenants have to pay on average.

The company examines the net cold rents of typical 65 square metre flats in municipalities and cities with at least 20,000 people to produce a rent index. In 2019 there were 351 cities in the index.

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EXPLAINED: How to sublet your apartment in Germany

If you’re going away for a period of time or want to cut your living costs, subletting your flat can seem like an appealing option. But there are a lot of things you need to consider first. We break them down.

EXPLAINED: How to sublet your apartment in Germany

What is subletting?

A subletting arrangement is when a subtenant is allowed to use the main tenant’s apartment, or part of it, in return for payment.

Having visitors in your home, even for a period of up to six weeks, does not count as subletting and you do not have to inform your landlord. But be careful: If the visitor starts paying rent, this becomes a sub-letting arrangement and if the visitor stays more than six weeks in a row, you have a duty to inform your landlord.

READ ALSO: The most expensive (and cheapest) cities in Germany to rent a room

If close family members such as parents, children, partners or spouses move in with you, this is also not a subletting arrangement and is considered part of the normal use of the rented property. 

However, you should inform your landlord of such a change in circumstance, not least because at some point the new person living in your apartment will at some point need to register with the local authorities.

Do I have to tell my landlord?

Yes. Regardless of whether you are just subletting a room or your whole apartment, you have to inform your landlord and, in most cases, you are required by law to obtain the landlord’s permission to sub-rent. This applies for whatever time period you want to sublet for: whether it’s for a weekend or for six months. 

One exception to this rule is if you rent a room in a WG (shared accommodation) and all of the tenants are equal parties to the contract. In that case, it’s possible to sublet individual rooms without having to get permission from the landlord, but you should still inform them.

If you try to rent out your place or a room without your landlord’s permission and get found out, you could face legal action, or be kicked out of your apartment before the agreed notice period. 

READ ALSO: REVEALED: The most – and least – popular landlords in Germany

Can the landlord refuse to let me sublet?

If the main tenant has a so-called “justified interest” in subletting part of the apartment, they can demand that the landlord agrees to the sublet and even take legal action or acquire a special right of termination of the rental contract if they refuse.

However, this right only applies to a sublet of part of the apartment and not the entire space within the four walls – in this case the landlord is within their rights to say no to the sublet. 

When subletting part of an apartment, a justified interest must be for an important reason such as a needing to move abroad temporarily for a job or personal reasons, or a partner moving out and the tenant no longer being able to cover the rental costs alone.

In general, landlords shouldn’t refuse your request to sublet unless there are good reasons – for example if the apartment is too small. 

The landlord can’t reject your subletting application without good reason and if they do, you can gain a special right to terminate your rental contract, and can even sue for your right to sublet. 

What information will I need to give my landlord? 

Whether you are subletting a room or the whole apartment – you’ll need to give your landlord the following information:

  • Who is moving in
  • How long you will be subletting for
  • For what reason you plan to sublet

If you want to set up a WG (Wohngemeinschaft or shared flat) as the main tenant, you should discuss this with the landlord beforehand, as it may be worth changing the apartment status to a shared apartment in the main rental agreement. That way, you won’t have to send a new application every time a new roommate moves in.

Do I need a special rental contract?

If you are going to subrent your apartment, it is definitely worth having a contract. 

A contract between the main tenant and the subtenant is completely separate from the contract between the main tenant and the landlord, so all responsibilities arising from the sub-rental contract will fall on you and not the landlord. 

A man fills in the details of a rental contract by hand. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Armin Weigel

At the same time, as the main tenant, you will still be liable to your landlord for any damage caused by the subtenant, so it is best to put a clause in the sub-rental agreement that outlines how this will be covered, and also to make sure that your subtenant has personal liability insurance. 

There are plenty of websites that offer templates of sub-rental contracts for you to use, and you should make sure your contract includes the following information:

  • The personal details of the subtenant
  • The sub-rental cost and any service charges
  • When these are to be paid
  • Which rooms may be used
  • How many keys have been handed over
  • Details of a possible deposit
  • The condition of the rented apartment
  • House rules, such as no smoking, pets, etc.
  • Liability for possible damages

How much can I charge?

You can usually negotiate the sub-rental price yourself, but you should be careful not to overstep the rental limit per square metre for your area. If you charge over this amount and your subtenant finds out, they have the right to demand the local square metre rental price and you may have to refund them the total amount of overcharged rent.

If you sublet a furnished apartment, you can add a surcharge based on what you will be leaving in your apartment. You should also factor in the energy and water costs.

READ ALSO: Everything you should know about renting a furnished flat in Germany

Do I have to get consent from the local authorities?

In some cases, you will also need to get permission to sub-rent from the local authorities to rent out your place. 

If you sublet in Berlin or Frankfurt, for example, and you want to advertise your flat for holiday rentals, you have to get approval first.

A wooden judge’s hammer lies on the judge’s bench in the jury courtroom in the Karlsruhe Regional Court. Photo: picture alliance / Uli Deck/dpa | Uli Deck

If you go ahead and rent on a site like Air BnB without approval, you can expect to pay a hefty fine. Though the highest possible fine of €500,000 is unlikely, there are numerous reports of people getting fines in Germany of several thousand euros.

Another important thing to remember is that, if you make more than €520 profit in a year from sub-renting, you have to include this in your tax declaration.

Can the landlord demand I pay extra?

If a landlord allows subletting, they can also demand a share of the extra income from the main tenant. The amount of the surcharge cannot exceed 25 percent of the sublease, however.

Useful Vocabulary

to sub-let – Untermieten 

sublease agreement – (der) Untermietvertrag

termination without notice – (die) fristlose Kündigung

ban on misuse – (das) Zweckentfremdungsverbot

special right of termination – (das) Sonderkündigungsrecht

justified interest – (das) berechtigtes Interesse

personal liability insurance – (die) Haftpflichtversicherung

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.