For members


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

A new survey of the 10 largest landlords in Germany has revealed the nation's most - and least - favourite letting companies. How has your landlord scored?

Rental housing in Berlin
A row of houses in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Zacharie Scheurer

It’s well known that the majority of people in Germany are tenants, and though there are number of small letting agents, the market is mostly dominated by a few large corporations.

You’ve probably heard names like Vonovia and Deutsche Wohnen crop up in headlines about the housing crisis, rent caps and campaigns for expropriation. You may have even rented from one or two of them. 

What’s often overlooked is that the landlord you end up with can make a huge difference to your satisfaction as a tenant. But how do you know if you’re picking the right one?

This question was investigated by consumer rights firm Rightmart Rechtsanwälte, who conducted a survey of 13,500 Google reviews of the top 10 landlords in Germany. 

Overall, the verdict wasn’t particularly positive, with the landlords averaging 2.8 out of 5 stars across all the reviews. But there were significant differences across the spectrum. 

READ ALSO: OPINION: Germany’s rent crisis is fuelled by fear and foolish solutions

Vonovia is the ‘least popular landlord’

Housing conglomerate Vonovia, which describes itself as “Germany’s leading residential real estate company”, received the worst rating of any of the 10 landlords. Of around 2,180 reviews, the company received an average star rating of just 2.21 stars. 

Having completed its acquisition of fellow major landlord Deutsche Wohnen last year, the company currently owns around two percent of Germany’s rental housing stock. 

Berlin-based letting agent Adler Real Estate, which owns around 52,000 properties, came in second to last with an average of 2.34 stars on Google across 897 reviews.

LEG Immobilien Group also got a clear thumbs down from the reviewers, coming in third-last place in Rightmart’s study. Of a total of 1,326 ratings, the company received an average of 2.53 stars.

Somewhat surprisingly for anyone following the Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co. campaign in Berlin (a campaign to bring the properties of major landlords into state hands), the most public target of the campaign came fourth-last in terms of tenant satisfaction. Coming just behind LEG, Deutsche Wohnen received an average star rating of 2.56 out of a total of 2,158 reviews. 

READ ALSO: ‘Housing is a human right’: Rent activists step up pressure ahead of German elections

German landlord ranking

The largest landlords in Germany rated by customer satisfaction. Source: Rightmart Rechtsanwälte

Hogowe comes out on top 

On the other side of the spectrum, Hogowe – one of Berlin’s six municipal housing associations – was ranked highest among any of the landlords in terms of customer satisfaction.

The housing association, which says it wants to help create a “Berlin worth living in now and the future”, managed a highly respectable 3.54 stars across a total of 1,726 Google reviews.

Fellow state housing association DeGeWo came in joint second place alongside TAG Immobilien, with both companies receiving 3.44 stars on the back of 26 and 1,126 ratings respectively.

In third place is the housing company Vivawest, which rents out properties in western German states like North Rhine-Westphalia. With 1,834 ratings, the company comes in at 3.36 stars.

READ ALSO: How much deposit do I have to pay when renting in Germany?

It’s worth keeping in mind that the study focussed on large landlords. Smaller companies were left out of the ratings, but you may be able to search for other reviews left online if you want to see how your landlord or Hausverwaltung (property management) compares.

Tips for dealing with landlords

According to Jan Frederik Strasmann, managing partner of Rightmart Rechtsanwälte, the results of the survey show just how difficult it can be to navigate the tenant-landlord relationship successfully. 

“The relationship between tenants and landlords can become very emotional, as in many cases it is about one’s own home and one’s private retreat,” he explained. “For this reason – and because Germany is a country of tenants – legislators have set very clear rules for most situations.”

Though heated disputes can still arise as a result of things like rent increases or service charges, Strasmann recommends keeping the following four tips in mind to ensure that a fair legal solution can be found:

  • Tenants should never let themselves be led by emotions when taking action, but should always keep a cool head

  • Contract amendments should never be signed hastily or under pressure, as these amendments will still be valid even if the tenant regrets agreeing to them at a later date

  • In the event of a dispute, communication should usually handled by a lawyer specialising in tenancy law, as untrained consumers can easily make mistakes that could have serious consequences

  • To be properly protected, it is advisable to take out a legal expenses insurance contract that also covers tenancy law or join a tenants’ association. That way tenants can have peace of mind in case disputes arise

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get a rent reduction for problems in your German flat

Useful vocabulary 

housing companies – (die) Wohnungsunternehmen 

landlord – (der) Vermieter 

rating – (die) Bewertung 

satisfied – zufrieden 

most popular – beliebsten 

in the case of a dispute – im Streitfall 

hastily – voreilig 

Have your say 

Which landlords would you recommend to people looking to rent in Germany, and why? Let us know by emailing [email protected]

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For members


Living in Germany: Exploring locally, Bargeld and the NRW state election

In our weekend roundup for Germany we look at exploring the country this summer, the country's obsession with cash and some facts about North Rhine-Westphalia, which goes to the polls on Sunday.

Living in Germany: Exploring locally, Bargeld and the NRW state election

A chance to explore Germany 

Although we’re still in the pandemic, it feels like life in Germany is beginning to feel a bit more like it did before Covid hit us. With many restrictions easing, people have been really enjoying spring and looking forward to summer.  So it’s no surprise that many of you have been reading our stories about travel. Our articles on the €9 monthly ticket as well as train travel in Germany and beyond have been particularly popular. The public transport offer will also give many people the chance to explore closer to home. I know I am really looking forward to seeing more of Germany, whether it’s around the Brandenburg area near where I live, or going further afield (Heidelberg, I’m looking at you). I’d love to know if you want to use the €9 ticket or if you have any plans to explore Germany this summer. Please fill in this survey on the €9 ticket (it’s open until Monday) and get in touch with your opinions or other travel plans by emailing [email protected]. Thanks so much to those of you who’ve already been in touch.

Tweet of the week

The German love of cash or Bargeld in 2022 while the rest of the world goes contactless is indeed one of life’s greatest mysteries, as this tweet highlights. We’ll definitely be using our ‘ask a German’ series to try and find out more about this habit… 

Where is this? 

Pankstrasse U-Bahn

Berliners or those who’ve visited the capital may recognise this U-Bahn station which is situated in the north. The station is actually part of the Pankstrasse nuclear fallout shelter. Built in 1977 during the Cold War, this “multi-purpose” facility was intended to protect the citizens of West Berlin in case of a nuclear conflict. The bunker serves not only as an U-Bahn stop for commuters but also, in an emergency, could have sheltered 3,339 people for up to two weeks. For those interested, we’d recommend checking out a tour like those run by Berliner Untervelten E.V. Due to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has led to massive tension between Europe and Russia, the tours have become even more topical.

Did you know?

Since people in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) or Nordrhein Westfalen are going to the polls this Sunday, we thought we’d look at some facts about this western state. This is Germany’s most populated state with about 17.9 million people. It’s also home to the most foreigners – around 2.5 million non-Germans live in NRW. With cities such as Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Essen, the state is a culturally rich and diverse part of Germany. Many people don’t know that Bonn was the capital of the former West Germany all the way up to reunification, before Berlin took the title. Many federal buildings and institutions still have their base there. 

The state is led by Christian Democrat Hendrik Wüst who took over last year after Armin Laschet resigned as state premier following his unsuccessful federal election bid. The CDU is currently in a coalition with the Free Democrats. But it looks like change is on the horizon. The CDU and the Social Democrats are both polling at around 30 percent, with the CDU having a slight lead of two to four percentage points. Meanwhile, the FDP appears to have lost support. It’s going to be a tight race – and the Greens party – polling at around 17 percent – will likely be the kingmakers. Important topics for voters include the future of German industry, and how to secure jobs in the move to renewable energy. Many people see this election as a test for the federal government which is led by the SPD’s Olaf Scholz. 

Thanks for reading,

Rachel and Imogen @ The Local Germany 

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