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Lexicon

Ablösen

(flats for rent)

Quite often you can buy the kitchen or some furniture from the previous tenant. This is a cheap and quick way to get furniture that fit to your new flat. The price for it can usually be negotiated separately from the Kaltmiete.

(Warmwasser-)Ablesung

Once a year someone from the heating company comes in the flat to read the values of your radiators and of hot water. If you are not there at the appointment, you can have another appointment a few days later but in this case it will cost you extra.

Bürgschaft

(flats for rent)

Pledge. A contract, with which a third person (maybe one of your parents) accepts to overtake your debt (or your rent) if you cannot pay it. If you don't earn money on your own, you will very probably need one.

Duplexstellplatz

It is a parking place where cars are stored pairwise one above the other one. It is a way to store more cars in a small parking complex. Your parking lot is then described either as above (oben) or as under (unten).

Gehaltsnachweis

This is a proof of your salary. Usually this is the document you receive each month that also lists all tax and social security amounts that are taken from your wage (named either Lohnabrechnung or Gehaltsabrechnung). Often you have to prove your salary of the last three months.

GEZ

This is a fee you have to pay to finance the public radio and TV emissions. In the past, they were calculated according to the use of some electronic devices. Nowadays the cost is the same for all living units. If you share your flat (WG) then you have to pay only once for all inhabitants. However, you will have to inform the responsible authority, otherwise they might send a bill per person. You are automatically registered to GEZ when you get your Meldebescheinigung from the KVR.

Kaltmiete

(flats for rent)

It is the monthly price you have to pay for the flat itself. It doesn't take compulsory fees into account, like water, garbage collection or hausekeeper-service. It corresponds to the amount of money your owner receives from you before taxes.

Kautionsparbuch

(flats for rent)

A Kautionsparbuch is a saving account that is used for a deposit when renting a flat. You first transfer money onto this account (which behaves exactly like a regular Sparbuch) and then you can ask your bank to make a Kautionsparbuch out of it. This may cost a few euros, so you should do it only once you are sure you will rent the flat. Usually, you first agree with the owner that you get the flat and make an appointment to sign the contract. Then you should bring this Kautionsparbuch to the appointment. Your owner will keep this materialised saving account at his but he cannot take money away from it if you do everything OK. If this saving account brings you interests then you will get them at the end of your rental time.

Kündigungsfrist

(flats for rent)

If the owner wants you to leave the flat, he has to inform you some time in advance. This time is named Kündigungsfrist. If you decide to leave the flat, you also have to inform your owner in advance. This amount of time is the Kündigungsfrist you have to observe. It is usually either equal or shorter than the Kündigungsfrist for the owner. These periods are partly regulated by law.

Lastschrift

This is a way to book a debit automatically from your bank-account. Once you have given the authorisation to book a debit, the debtor will book it automatically. This is often used for monthly expenses like Internet-line or Electricity contract.

Luxussanierung

Sometimes repairing a flat is a good time to improve its value and make a luxury object of it. Of course, the next tenant will also have to pay more for this luxury. Many people have complained in the past that their costs have raised that way more than they could afford.

Makler

(flats for rent)

Real-Estate agent. Since the law for Bestellerprinzip, you do not have to pay for him if you did not order anything from him. Especially if you answer a classified ad, the fees should normally be paid by the owner and not by you because he ordered the service first to the agent.

Mietkaution

(flats for rent)

In order to make sure you pay the rent and you don't break anything in the flat, the owner is allowed to require a deposit. The german word for a rental flat deposit is named Mietkaution. The amount of this deposit is legally restricted. Usually it is 2 or 3 months of the Kaltmiete. You may bring the deposit in cash but most of the time it is brought in form of a Kautionssparbuch.

Mietpreisbremse

(flats for rent)

This is a law that forbids owners to raise the rents too fast. Because many parameters enter into account to determine the price, it has led to some arguments between owners and tenants.

Mietspiegel

(flats for rent)

In order you to compare the prices in different places in the city, some official studies are run once a year to find out how much people pay at different places. It gives information about how much you may expect to pay. Many parameters are taken into account, like the state or the size of the flat.

Mietzins

(flats for rent)

This is the price you have to pay every month. You should ask if the Kaltmiete or the Warmmiete is meant.

Möbliert

(flats for rent)

Furnished. If you rent a furnished flat, you don't follow the same rules as for an empty flat. For example, it may be limited for a short period of time. It is also less flexible regarding legal period of notice.

Nebenkosten

(flats for rent)

These are all costs that make your Warmmiete differ from your Kaltmiete.

Nebenkostenabrechnung

(flats for rent)

This is the bill for the difference between already-paid-fees and exact-costs for the past year. See Nebenkostenvoranzahlung.

Nebenkostenvoranzahlung

(flats for rent)

Usually, the Nebenkosten are paid in 13 times in a year: once a month you pay a fixed price, which is determined in advanced, based on the costs of the previous year. In addition to this, once a year you pay or receive the difference between what you already paid and what the exact costs were. The Nebenkostenvoranzahlung is the monthly payment of the fixed determined part.

Sanierung

(flats for rent)

After being inhabited for a while buildings should be fixed and repaired. If you rent a flat that has just been repaired it might be more expansive than if the last fix was tens of years ago.

Schufa

The SCHUFA Holding AG is a german company. It aims to evaluate the probability of default for credits, contracts and monthly payments. For its work, it collects information about firms and people and it computes a probability of default. There are also other firms working so but the SCHUFA is well known.

Schufa-Auskunft

(flats for rent)

This is a document you can receive from the SCHUFA. It gives information the SCHUFA saved about you and what score they give to you. One version is for free. Be aware that it may take time before you receive it. Some owner may request from you another (pay-)version with more details about their analyse.

Überweisung

This is a bank-transfer. In this case, you are the originator of the payment.

Warmmiete

(flats for rent)

It is the price you have to pay including most of the compulsory fees (heating, water, fees for garbage removal, fees for common garden if any, ...). However, it usually doesn't contain fees for electricity, Internet, insurance or GEZ for example.