If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Magdeburg, you could search the small ads in the local press (such as the Volksstimme) or one of the city magazines. Online search portals also offer a wide range of possibilities, and Magdeburg has plenty of housing cooperatives which can find you a home.
For students, moving into a student hostel has much to recommend it. Contact Studentenwerk Magdeburg (Magdeburg student union) to check availability.
The housing cooperatives in Magdeburg also offer affordable living space for both students and families. Here is a list, together with links to their websites:
If you’d like to stay somewhere that doesn’t cost the earth and meet new people at the same time, a place in shared accommodation (a WG) might be the best option. It’s no longer just students who live in WGs. All of the housemates rent a largish house or flat together; each rents his or her own room and shares the bathroom and kitchen with their housemates. Contracts are drawn up with the individual tenants.
It is usually possible to view an apartment in advance. You should arrange a time on the phone or by email. Once you have decided where you want to stay, you will have to sign a tenancy agreement. This includes all of the important information and agreements about the apartment that you will need to know, such as the level of basic rent, ancillary expenses, periods of notice, and the rights and obligations of the tenant and landlord.
In Germany, apartments are usually let unfurnished. In addition to the rent, you will have to pay service charges which include the costs of heating and water as well as administrative expenses. Tenants are personally responsible for the cost of electricity, the internet and the TV licence. You should sign contracts for these with the relevant service providers.
The Social Welfare and Housing Department of the City of Magdeburg, the Caritasverband des Bistums Magdeburg e.V. and various housing associations in Magdeburg have compiled a guide for tenants with a migrant background, which summarises the general rules concerning the use of rented accommodation in Germany.
When you sign your tenancy agreement, you will also be issued with a certificate by your landlord in which the latter confirms that you have actually moved into the accommodation and are their tenant. You will need this certificate to register with the BürgerBüro (Citizens’ Office).
Registering your home address
So you’ve found somewhere to stay and have moved in? Then you must register with the BürgerBüro within two weeks. It’s best to make an appointment online.
As well as your personal identity documents, you will need to bring along a certificate from your landlord. This ‘Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung’ or ‘Vermieterbescheinigung’ provides confirmation from the landlord that the tenant has actually moved into and/or moved out of the respective accommodation.
The landlord should, then, supply you with a certificate plus a tenancy agreement. A form is available for the certificate which you can present to the landlord for completion, perhaps at the same time as the tenancy agreement is signed.