As we discussed in a previous article, you need quite a long list of documents in order to secure a flat rental in Berlin. One of the most important ones which every landlord will request is a recent credit report certificate, or in German – a Schufa Bonitätsauskunft. But because your credit information is so securely protected by German law, it’s impossible for either the landlord or rental agency in question to simply browse through it themselves. Rather, you have to obtain a copy of your own Schufa report and hand it to them yourself.
What exactly is a SCHUFA?
SCHUFA is the abbreviation for Schutzgemeinschaft für Allgemeine Kreditsicherung – or General Credit Protection Agency – and is operated through the Schufa Holding AG, the largest credit reporting agency in Germany which is responsible for tracking and rating your credit score, as well as issuing Schufa reports.
From the moment you set foot in Germany, every financial transaction you engage in is tracked and compiled under a file with your name on. This file is used to gauge with extreme accuracy how healthy your credit score is, and how good you are at paying back debts. This will help banks and other financial institutions determine how reliable you are when it comes to, for example, granting you a loan.
Your credit score is exactly that: a score. It ranges from between 100 – 600 and fluctuates depending on how early you pay back any outstanding debts.
Generally, anything from 100-199 is a great rating to have and means that you’re a fairly low risk when it comes to paying future debts. 200-299 is a slightly higher risk. 300 – 499 is quite a large risk. 500 means that they have explicit evidence that you have at least one outstanding debt payment. And 600 means you’re likely unable to pay your debts entirely.
How to apply for a SCHUFA
A single Schufa report costs €29.95 and is valid for three months, after which you will have to pay for another one should you still require it.
There are a few ways to apply for a Schufa report:
- You can apply online and receive a Schufa Bonitätsauskunft instantly here. This is generally the easiest method, and the most official, meaning all landlords will accept it without question.
- You can apply via the German real estate companies such as ImmobilienScout24 and Immowelt.
- You can go down to your nearest Postbank or Volksbank and they will be able to give you one in person.
Everyone is also entitled to one free SCHUFA Datekopie (copy of data) per year. This document is only meant to be used as a reference for your actual Schufa report, and so not all landlords may accept it. You can apply for it by following this link.
Your Schufa is a very important document which is going to hold a lot of weight when it comes to renting or buying a property in Germany. From the moment you register at the Bürgeramt, open a bank account or take out a cellphone contract in Germany, a Schufa report is automatically created for you, so take care to keep it as clean as possible from the start.
If found this article helpful but still have other questions, check out Darna’s blog for a list of valuable and informative articles about properties in Berlin.
Photo by Vi5-a-Vi5 on Pixabay