Accommodation (Image: Internationale Angelegenheiten/ K. Strumpf)

Accommodation

You would like to study in Cologne or Gummersbach and you’re looking for a roof over your head? Start searching for your new home as soon as possible. Whether you are looking to live in a student dormitory or shared apartment, in the city or in the suburbs - we advise you to be flexible. This page provides useful advice for searching for a place to live in Cologne, Gummersbach and Leverkusen.

+ What is the situation on the housing market in Cologne?

Finding an apartment in Cologne isn’t always easy. With over a million inhabitants, Cologne is Germany’s fourth biggest city. Its more than 24 universities make the city very attractive to more than 100.000 students. A housing offer often attracts a large number of interested potential tenants. The strong competition on the housing market leads to relatively high rents, especially near the city center.

What can you do? Stay flexible and start looking for a place to stay early. It can be a good idea to look in neighborhoods outside of the city center, where rent prices are lower and fewer people are interested in apartments. Thanks to their central location and good public transportation, the Deutz, Mülheim and Südstadt campuses can easily be reached from almost all neighborhoods.

If you need information on neighborhoods in Cologne, called “Veedel”, a PDF document with an overview of the different corners of the city is available for download. Further information can also be found on this website (unfortunately, only available in German): koeln.de/veedel

On the website of Cologne’s public transportation authority (KVB), you can check beforehand how long your commute will be.

+ What is the situation on the housing market in Gummersbach?

Luckily, the situation is a lot more relaxed than in Cologne. Gummersbach is situated about 50km east of Cologne and has about 54.000 inhabitants. If you’re looking for accommodation in the city center or near the campus, we recommend starting your search as soon as possible. Good and affordable offers are very popular and attract many interested tenants.

Please note that advertisements for a room in a shared flat or for smaller apartments are often posted on the notice board (“Schwarzes Brett”) of the student council on campus and offered via various Gummersbach Facebook groups:

  • TH Köln - Campus Gummersbach
  • TH Köln - Campus GM

Looking for advertisements in local newspapers can also be a good idea, as many elderly people in the region still use this medium.

Should you decide to look for accommodation in Cologne instead, please be advised that commuting by train between the two cities will take about one hour and fifteen minutes.

Nearby communities can be a good alternative. Rösrath, Overrath and Engelskirchen are situated between Cologne and Gummersbach directly next to the commuter rail RB 25. This way, you will be connected to both cities while benefitting from lower rent prices compared to Cologne.

+ What is the situation on the housing market in Leverkusen / Opladen / Chempark?

Luckily, the situation is more relaxed than in Cologne. However, there are also fewer offers. Leverkusen is bordering Cologne to the north, about 12km away from the city center, and has about 163.000 inhabitants. Rent for small apartments and shared apartments is comparatively cheap, but offers are very popular and will be taken quickly, especially when looking in the city center. Start your search as soon as possible.

As of now, classes of Applied Natural Sciences take place at the Chempark campus. The area is located at the border to Cologne, in the south of Leverkusen/Flittard.

The new campus in Opladen – scheduled to open for the winter semester of 2021/22 – will be located directly at Opladen train station, guaranteeing good public transportation connections to both Cologne and Leverkusen. 

+ I don’t have a place to stay yet, where can I spend the night?

If you haven’t got an apartment in sight before your arrival, we recommend to book temporary accommodation for at least 14 days. Due to the large amount of students, the situation on the housing market is tense, especially at the beginning of the semester.

In Cologne:

In Gummersbach:

A list of temporary accommodation such as hotels or holiday apartments can be found on the website of the city of Gummersbach.

A cheap alternative nearby can be the youth hostel in Wiehl.

In Leverkusen:

A list of temporary accommodation such as hotels or holiday apartments can be found on the website of the city of Leverkusen.

+ Are there student dormitories in Cologne, Gummersbach and Leverkusen?

Yes, there are more than 90 dormitories with about 4.900 places. The Kölner Studierendenwerk (KSTW) is responsible for the administration and allocation of these dormitory places.

Most dormitories offer you a room in a shared apartment, so called WGs. There are also rooms sharing a common kitchen or bathroom on the same floor. Small apartments and apartments for students with children are very scarce and hard to get. However, KSTW also offers barrier-free housing.

Please don’t be fooled by the seemingly large amount of places in dormitories. These dormitories are open to all student in Cologne, not just those of TH Köln, which results in high demand for these rooms. You should apply for a room in a dormitory as soon as possible!

In Gummersbach, KSTW offers three dormitories. One of them is located directly next to the campus, in the center of the city. Demand for a room in this dormitory is usually high and your chances of getting a room are lower than in the other two dormitories. In general, dormitories are very popular in Gummersbach.

In Opladen, KSTW offers one dormitory featuring small apartments and shared apartments. From there, three buses take you directly to Chempark campus. A commuter rail stop is located directly next to Chempark, taking you directly to either Cologne or Leverkusen. Please note that demand for this dormitory is quite high.

Please note: TH Köln is not responsible for the allocation of the rooms!

+ How can I apply for a room in a KSTW dormitory?

You can apply for a room via the website of KSTW under the section Wohnen. When filling-in the application, we recommend to be as open and flexible as possible when it comes to the location and the rent of the dormitory.  After your online application is submitted, you will receive an E-Mail from KSTW containing your applicant number.

Important: Please note that KSTW will ask you to confirm that you are still interested in a room every 30 days. Should you forget this confirmation, you will be removed from the waiting list and won’t be allocated a room. Please also keep an eye on your Spam-folder!

+ Are there also private dormitories?

Yes, there are. These dormitories are usually more expensive, but feature more services and modern appliances.

Please note that TH Köln does not allocate rooms in these dormitories.

+ How can I find accommodation on the private housing market?

When looking for accommodation on the private housing market, you should keep in mind that due to high demand prices for students are comparatively high, which is why students prefer living in shared apartments (WGs), where they can share rent and utilities with their flat mates.

There are specialized websites where you can start looking from abroad for an apartment or a shared apartment.

On their website Mein Zuhause in Köln, KSTW also offers advertisements from Cologne residents looking to rent out rooms to students.

You can also look for accomodation on the following websites:

If you are already in Cologne, you should also look for advertisements in local newspapers. Apartment advertisements are published on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the newspapers Kölner Stadtanzeiger and Kölnische Rundschau. One day after their print publication, you can also find them online.

It is also advised to keep an eye on the university’s notice boards (“Schwarzes Brett”) in libraries, cafeterias and the AStA.

+ What do I have to consider when searching the private housing market?

In the last years, we’ve seen more and more scammers advertising fake offers on various search engines. Usually, these scammers require 2 or 3 months’ rent beforehand as a deposit to be transferred to their bank account. They promise to send you a key to the apartment via mail, as they are supposedly not living in Cologne.

Please don’t ever transfer money to a person you don’t know and have only talked to online. If you fall in their trap, your money is likely gone for good.

We therefore recommend to always visit apartments in person. We advise you to arrive in Cologne early in order to have enough time to find accommodation.

+ What’s the best way to get in touch?

We recommend to get in touch as soon as possible by calling.

Should the landlord prefer written contact, you should formulate a friendly request. Write something about yourself: Your name, where you are from, what and where you plan to study, how you ensure you can pay the rent and so on. Don’t forget to state your own contact details.

When contacting a WG, we recommend reading the advertisement carefully. Look for shared interests, hobbies or other activities you might enjoy. Talk about them during your first contact and when visiting the apartment. This way you can collect a few likeability points from your roommates right away.

Understanding apartment advertisements can be quite hard, especially when it’s your first encounter with the German housing market. In the leaflet on the right side, we want to try and explain some common expressions.

+ Are there alternatives?

A popular alternative for students with a sense of community involvement is the “Wohnen für Hilfe”-project. Students support people of all ages – for example senior cititzens, families, single parents or people with disabilities – in their everyday life. In return, they are offered accommodation free of rent, except for utilities. This project is suitable for every student planning to stay in Cologne for more than a year while having a good German language knowledge. More information can be found on the project’s website.

+ What’s the public broadcasting fee? Do I have to pay it?

Please take into account that in addition to regular costs of living, students are required to pay a public broadcasting fee (Rundfunkbeitrag) for the use of the German public television, radio and online services. Generally speaking, every household in Germany is required to pay this fee, international students included.  Detailed information on the public broadcasting fee is available in the download box.

+ Miscellaneous

Attention!

Please note that illegal streaming, downloading & hosting of films, series or sporting events in Germany is punishable by law and can be very expensive. We only recommend legal streaming services.

Gummersbach in moving pictures...

Köln-Lindenthal in moving pictures...

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