As a landlord of furnished apartments, you will probably not like what I am about to tell you. If you are about to move to Germany or just relocating within Germany, this is a must-read.
In the past years, furnished apartments have become increasingly popular in Germany. A growing number of people are choosing to live in furnished apartments when moving to a city only for a limited time. The demand is driven by a change in culture and work environment, where people are seeking more mobility and flexibility. Especially expats, commuters and students are affected by the need of temporary housing solutions, as they usually don’t plan on staying at the same place for many years. But, are furnished apartments really the best option?
If the answer was yes, I wouldn’t be writing this article. Although furnished flats allow you to stay flexible, they have several disadvantages. The prices for furnished places have been going up steadily reaching new all-time highs. Besides the overdemand in the market, there is another major reason for the never-ending price increase.
In 2015, a new law came into force that was supposed to prohibit landlords from charging new tenants more than 10% above the local average (also called “Mietpreisbremse”). Unfortunately, landlords have come up with ways to bypass this law: By furnishing the apartment, they are able to charge a so called “Möblierungszuschlag”, which is a surcharge for the furniture. There is no clear law that limits this furniture surcharge and by offering all-inclusive prices for furnished apartments, landlords make it almost impossible for tenants to see the exact amount of the surcharge.
Do I consider landlords to be evil? No – They are just doing what’s best for their pockets. If you have ever dealt with landlords when applying for an apartment, you probably have realised that their primary purpose is not to offer you the best service.
If we look at the current market prices for furnished apartments, it becomes clear, why more and more landlords want to furnish their apartments. In Berlin, the average m² price for a furnished apartment is 27.44€, while an unfurnished apartment only costs on average 11.64€ per m² per month. This means that furnished apartments are priced more than double than unfurnished apartments.
This price gap might be justifiable if these apartments would all be furnished with premium furniture. But the reality looks different. If you are looking at the average furnished apartment, you will find that it is furnished with cheap pieces of furniture, either from discount furniture retailers or from flea markets. The style of the interior is a secondary motive.
When you move to a new city for only a very short period, it might not be relevant to you how the apartment is furnished if it has all the necessities. But, if you are planning to stay for one or two years, you might want to have it feel more like home.
A freelancer that partly needs to work from home probably needs a better office chair to sit comfortably for hours. A young couple will probably need more storage space than someone living alone. All these individual preferences cannot be met with standardized furnished apartments. Finding an apartment at your preferred location is already hard enough, but finding a place at a preferred location with a preferred set of furniture. Trust me, you will be looking for a very long time.
However, landlords are not here to fulfil individual wishes. The housing demand in cities like Berlin is currently so high that landlords always find tenants for their apartments. Whether the interior looks appealing to you or not, you often must take what you get.
I wished the list of disadvantages would stop here. Unfortunately, there is one more point that needs to be mentioned. When renting a furnished apartment, in general, you have the same rights as tenants of unfurnished apartments. However, if you are renting a furnished apartment, you are not protected against unwarranted eviction. That means, if the landlord is returning earlier from a stay abroad and wants you to move out earlier, you basically cannot do anything about it.
This, however, does not apply in case a family rents a furnished apartment. In this case, the protection against unwarranted eviction applies as for unfurnished apartments. So, it is up to you, whether you like the thrill of being kicked out at any time or not.
But I also have some good news, if you just can’t live without the flexibility of furnished apartments. All the above-mentioned problems can easily be overcome by considering the new alternative of renting furniture. Yes – I am not kidding! Just like you can rent a car, you can now also rent furniture.
This is exactly what my team and I have been working on for over a year now. roomovo helps you stay flexible while having the choice to furnish your unfurnished apartment according to your preferences and needs. In comparison to furnished apartments, you can even save hundreds of Euros per month when renting furniture. While the surcharge you pay for the furniture in furnished apartments is approximately 15€ per m² per month, renting quality furniture costs you on average 5€ per m² per month. Now do the maths. A difference of 10€ per m² per month results in 400€ that you will pay more to rent a furnished 40m² apartment.
Now, I don’t want to do too much advertising here. I leave it up to you to go check it out on roomovo.com and hope that if this service is not for you, this article was at least informative.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this – So just drop a comment below!