Dormitory or shared apartment?! Downtown or suburbs?! What is the easiest way of finding affordable housing? International students will find answers to these questions as well as useful advice on all issues related to apartment-hunting in Cologne and Gummersbach on our Accommodation webpage.
At the beginning of each semester, a lot of new students move to Cologne, Gummersbach and Leverkusen to start their studies, which is why especially in those times the accommodation situation gets even more stressful than during other months.
We therefore recommend booking a temporary housing for at least the first fourteen days if you do not have a room yet.
Cologne’s most convenient and economical housing option is oftentimes a student dormitory. Kölner Studentenwerk operates 86 student dorms offering roughly 4,700 rooms. Please be aware that TH Köln does not allocate the rooms in these dorms. In order to be allocated a room, please apply online on the website of Kölner Studierendenwerk by clicking on ‘habitation’. Most dorms have rooms in shared apartments, commonly known as ‘Wohngemeinschaften’ in German. Moreover, students can choose between single bedrooms with shared kitchen and bathroom, apartments, family apartments for students with children as well as rooms for handicapped students.
The seemingly large number of dorm rooms is misleading: As the dormitories are open to the roughly 80,000 students enrolled at all Cologne’s universities, they are in extremely high demand. Make sure to apply for a dorm room at Kölner Studierendenwerk as early as possible. Flexibility is key: The more dorms you indicate in your online application, the higher your chances for getting a room.
Private dormitories also offer a multitude of housing options for students. Among them are for instance SMARTments Köln, Schmittmann-Kolleg, Südstadtkwartier International College im Campus Müngersdorf or Wohnheim der Evangelischen Studierendengemeinde Köln.
Private housing market
The private housing market offers a viable alternative to living in a student dorm. Due to relatively high rents and fierce competition in Cologne, many students opt to share apartments – and the rent – with other students. The most comfortable way of looking for shared or single apartments from abroad is the internet. A multitude of websites – such as www.wg-gesucht.de or www.wohngemeinschaft.de – list rooms and apartments to let. Kölner Studentenwerk can also provide you with assistance on the private housing market: On the website Mein Zuhause in Köln, citizens of Cologne rent their apartments and rooms to students without charging commission. More websites:
The International Office recommends all students to visit apartments in person. If you intend to rent an apartment offered on the private housing market, it will be worthwhile to arrive in Cologne prior to the beginning of the semester. Being in Cologne will allow you to search for apartments in the local newspapers – in particular the Kölner Stadtanzeiger and Kölnische Rundschau on Wednesdays and Saturdays – as well as on the university bulletin boards located in the cafeterias and in the headquarters of the Students’ Association.
Apartments and rooms can also be found advertised in local newspapers and on their websites. Most ads are published in the Friday and Saturday editions. The ads are published on the Internet one day after they’ve appeared in the paper: http://www.kalaydo.de/anzeigen/immobilien/wohnungen-zur-miete
Dear future students!
If you are searching for a room on the private market, please be aware of scammers!
On certain websites, scammers are offering flats/rooms to students. They ask you to pay a security deposit as well as 1-2 monthly rents. They say that they will send you the key to the flat/room via post because apparently they are not living in Cologne.
Do NOT transfer money BEFORE you have received the key, met the landlord or signed a contract. These people are scammers; you will most likely never see the money again!
Social co-habitation project - Wohnen für Hilfe
Students with a strong sense of community may want to consider becoming involved in the project Wohnen für Hilfe: In this project, students lend a helping hand to people from different generations – such as senior citizens, families, single parents or handicapped persons – with everyday chores. In return, you are provided with rent-free accommodation and will solely have to pay utility costs. In order to be eligible for the program, you should have a good command of the German language and stay in Cologne for more than one year. Detailed information on the project is available in German on the Wohnen für Hilfe website.
Public broadcasting fee
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.