Gemütlicher Abend am Esstisch der Wohngemeinschaft.

Housing Market

If you didn’t get a room in any of the student halls or if you prefer to live in a private apartment, you will have to do your research ­– and face the competition in the housing market.

Search online

Online searches are the most convenient approach to house hunting. The photos posted to the websites will give you an impression of what the apartment looks like, and getting in touch with the landlord is easy.

  • Major house hunting websites offer a huge selection of apartments, and the search can be filtered to meet your requirements.
    A compilation of major portals can be found on the “Immobilienportale” website.
  • Students generally find specialised apartment rental sites very helpful, such as portals advertising flatshares (“WGs”, often specifically for students) or temporary/sublet rooms or apartments ("Zwischenmiete”).
  • One online marketplace for the region is the student housing website run by the general students’ committee (Allgemeiner Studierendenausschuss, AStA) at Ruhr-Universität.
  • Another avenue worth exploring is searching the social media for rooms and apartments.
  • The city of Bochum as well as local building societies and housing associations and cooperatives likewise advertise accommodations on their websites.

Searching “offline”

  • Newspapers
    In Bochum, most apartment listings are published in the newspapers Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) and Stadtspiegel; the latter is not available for purchase, but is distributed for free to all households on Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Flyers & Exchange
    It is recommended to keep the eyes and ears open around the campus: apartments are advertised on notice boards and via flyers, and many students look for housemates for their shared apartments.
  • Real Estate Agents
    It is also possible to commission a real estate agent who will look for an accommodation on your behalf. If a lease agreement is signed, you will pay the agent his commission.

A guide to house hunting for newbies

  • Unless otherwise indicated, rental apartments in Germany are generally unfurnished, that means there won’t be any kitchen equipment or furniture. This is not the case for apartments or rooms that are sublet temporarily (“Zwischenmiete”). “Zwischenmiete” means: students who are going abroad for a limited period of time are looking for a tenant for their apartment or room.
  • In all cases, you need to establish whether utilities are included in your rent or not (“warm” vs. “kalt”). In addition to “cold”, i.e. basic rent (“Kaltmiete”), you will also have to pay for water, heating, electricity, phone/Internet connection, licence fees, and service charges.
    You must always ask which costs are already included in the rent.
  • Many rental ads use abbreviations and acronyms that even native speakers find incomprehensible. You can find an abbreviation directory (PDF) for house hunting here.
  • Most rental agreements stipulate a three-month termination notice. The tenant can terminate the lease sooner than the specified date only if a new tenant can be found who will take over the lease.
  • Bochum neighbours on seven other Ruhr towns. With its prime location in the heart of central Ruhr and an excellent public transport network, it is worth taking a look across the borders of the city: the green town of Witten, for example, is very close to Bochum; the town of Herne is connected to the city via the underground train U35.
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