Apartment-Hunting Terms to Know

On your search for new accommodation you might stumble across a lot of abbreviations. The most important ones are explained below.


If you have found a room or WG that you like, you should formulate a nice email to the owner/flat mates. Explain a little something about yourself: Where do you come from, what are you going to study at TH Köln, how are you financing yourself in Germany? If you apply for a room in a WG, read the text of the flat very carefully: Do you have the same or similar hobbies? Do you share common interests? Rooms in WGs will in general be given away after a kind of “Casting”: You will be invited to an interview. You get the chance to see your future room and to meet your future flat mates. But they also get a chance to check you out. Do you fit in their life? They will only give you the room if they like you.

On your search for new accommodation you might stumble across a lot of abbreviations. The most important ones are explained below.

  • Abstand: You have to buy part of the furnishings.
  • Kalt: cold, i.e. heating and other utilities costs have to be paid in addition
  • Kaution: Deposits - in Germany it is normal to pay a deposit of up to three months’ rent which is refunded at the end of the contract. If any damage has been done, the landlord is allowed to withhold the amount of the money needed for the repairs from the deposit.
  • Möbliert: The room is fully equipped with all necessary furnishing.
  • zzgl. NK: zuzüglich Nebenkosten: i.e. Plus utilities charge  
  • NMM: "Net monthly rent", (extra charges for heating, electricity, water, etc.  are not included)
  • Teilmöbliert: The room/flat has some furnishing, but not all that might be necessary
  • Warm: warm, i.e. heating and other utilities costs are included
  • WG: Shared housing: This indicates a communal living arrangement in which several tenants share a flat, each having his or her own bedroom but sharing kitchen and bath, utilities costs, etc. In Germany the WGs are normally mixed. Keep this in mind. If you rather not share with the opposite sex do take this into account and ask.
  • Zwischenmiete: The owner of the room is renting it out for a limited time, often furnished (normally between 3 and 6 months).
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