As a non-German speaker moving to Berlin, navigating the rental (and buying) market can be an extremely daunting experience. With convoluted-looking terms such as renovierungsbedürftig and Wohnberechtigungsschein, apartment hunting can quickly become devolve into scratching your head and sighing with frustration. And while Google Translate can be a useful tool for translating apartment listings, it’s quite limited when it comes to translating some of the more technical German rental terms. Enlisting a German-speaking friend to help you scour through applications is an option, but time-consuming. In an effort to make your experience an easier, faster and less painful one, we’ve put together a list of useful and important terms to know when apartment hunting in Berlin.


Wohnung – Flat or apartment
Dachgeschoss or DG – Loft apartment
Wohngemeinschaft or WG – Flat sharing or commune
Mehrfamilienhaus or MFH – Several flats within one building
Möblierte Wohnung – Furnished apartment
Zur Miete – For rent
Zum Kauf – For sale
Wohnung Tauschen – Flat or apartment swap or trade
Altbau – An apartment building constructed before the Second World War. They’re quite desirable although difficult to find.
Neubau – A newly constructed building.

Apartment Layout

Zimmer or Zi. – A room, usually a bedroom.
Qm or m2 – Square meters
Schlafzimmer – Bedroom
Badezimmer – Bathroom
Kuche – Kitchen
Wohnzimmer – Living room
Flur – Hallway
Wohnfläche – Living area; the total size of the space that you’re renting.
Nutzfläche – Usable space

Rent & Utilities

Miete – Rent
Jährlich – Yearly
Monatlich – Monthly
Jahresmiete – Annual rent
Mietpreis – Rental price
Kaution – Deposit
Provision – Commission
Kaltmiete – Cold rental; the rental price without additional costs
Warmmiete – Warm rental; the rental price with additional costs
Nebenkosten – Additional costs; this usually means water, utilities, trash collection, etc
Nachmieter – Someone searching for a new tenant to replace them when they leave
Hauptmieter – The main renter
Mieter – A renter
Vermieter – The landlord
Zuzüglich – Excluding
Inklusive – Including


Einbauküche – Fully-equipped kitchen
Tiefgarage – Underground garage
Parkett – Hardwood floors
Laminat – Laminate floors
Spülmaschine – Dishwasher
Waschmaschine – Washing machine
Möbliert – Fully furnished
Aufzug – Elevator
Balkon – Balcony
Terrasse -Terrace
Kabelanschluss – Cable connection for TV & Internet
Offener Kamin – Fireplace
Fahrradraum – Bicycle storage room
Abstellraum – Storage room
Badwanne – Bathtub
Dusche – Shower
Helles – Light
Sonniges – Sunny


Erdgeschoss – Ground floor
2nd Obergeschoss – Second floor
1. Etage – First floor
2. Stock – Second floor
Untergeschoss – Basement floor
Postleitzahl – Postal code
Seitenstrasse – Side street
Universitätsnähe – Close to a university
Kiez – Neighborhood
Vorderhaus – Front building
Hinterhaus – Back building
Seitenflügel – Side wing
Verkehrsanbindung – With access to public transportation
Zentrum – City center


Nichtraucher – Non-smoker
Wohnberechtigungsschein – State-subsidized housing which can only be rented to those with a special permit.
Tierhaltung – Allowed to have pets
Ab sofort – Available immediately
GEZ – A licensing fee per flat that all tenants in Germany have to pay each month.
Anmeldung – The process of registering your address, essential for getting an apartment in Berlin.
Makler – Real estate agent

Photo by Danylo Suprun