How to pay rent in Germany as an expat


Updated on Dec 25 • 4 minute read

Germany has some strange payment habits, so it’s not strange for expats to ask themselves, how do I pay the rent? So let’s take a look at how rental payments work in Germany! We’ll discuss paying the rent in cash, as well as from a foreign account. What happens if you’re late? And what if you can’t pay? We’ll dive into these scenarios to find out what the best way to pay your rent is during your stay in Germany!

Rule 1: be on time

Welcome to Germany! Good to see you have, or you’re about to, secure a new home in Germany. Now that you’ll have a new place, you’ll have to start paying the rent. The first rule for maintaining a good relationship with your German landlord is to pay the rent on time! The due date for your rental payment is often stipulated in your rental contract, so make sure you make note of it. If it’s not in the contract, then simply talk to your landlord about when they would like to see the rent in their account! You are in Germany now, however, so if you’ve made an agreement, make sure you’re punctual and that you stick to it!

Paying in Cash

Germany is a country that’s very fond of cash! But do Germans also pay their rent in Cash? Generally speaking, they don't. First of all, paying your rent in cash is a bad idea, as it leaves little to no paper trail. If your landlord asks you to pay in cash, we recommend to ask for a written and signed confirmation of your rental payments. But in general, we recommend suggesting a different payment method instead!

Verdict: Unsafe! Don't do it!

Paying from a foreign account

If you’re new in the country or if you’re an international student whose parents are paying their rent, chances are you’ll have to do so from a foreign bank account. This is perfectly possible, as most major banks in the world are well-equipped to make an overseas transfer. Just make sure you triple check the landlord’s bank account information. Another element you need to keep in mind here, is that standard international bank transfers like SWIFT can take a few working days to be completed. Additionally, international transfers can be subject to fees from your bank, as well as subject to the whims of the currency exchange rates at the time of payment. So, while possible, it’s not the best option if you want to save some money.

Verdict: Possible, but pricey!

Paying by direct transfer

Paying a by direct bank transfer's the most common way to pay the rent in Germany. Simply transfer the rental payment from your German bank account to the landlord’s bank account! To do this, you’ll need an account at a German bank, or an online bank account suitable for payments to German bank accounts. The only issue here is remembering to actually make the transfer!

Verdict: Viable, but prone to error!

Paying safely and securely

Paying your rent safely and securely to a landlord abroad can be pretty stressful! Thankfully, HousingAnywhere isn't only the best place to find your home in Germany; it also offers an easy and safe way to pay your rent, no matter where you move to in Germany or in the world, even with your bank account from back home.

HousingAnywhere Payments allows you to make your rental payments from a variety of payment methods, while also making sure your payment arrives at the right account, eliminating the chance of sending your payment to the wrong account. Additionally, you’ll receive timely reminders of upcoming payments while clearly organising them in an easy to use payment overview. The overview shows you all the payments related to your current tenancy. Whenever you make a payment, your landlord will be notified as well, so there’s no need for questions or reminders from their end. So, check out one of our many homes in Germany and ask the landlord to accept your rental payments through our payment system!

Verdict: Recommended, safe and secure!

What if I’m late or can’t pay the rent?

We’ve all had it happen at some point: your salary wasn’t deposited on time, you’re just a bit short this month or something else has affected your ability to pay your rent on time. Whatever the reasons, here are some scenarios on what could happen.

  • You don’t pay the deposit: If you don’t pay the deposit, the landlord can ask for termination of the lease agreement. However, you can counteract this by paying the deposit quickly (and providing proof thereof, so no cash).
  • You’re behind on your rental payments: a German landlord can ask the court for eviction if your rental arrears amount up to 2 months of rent or more. Even if you’re making partial payments, if you’re behind more than the sum of 2 months rent, the landlord can push for eviction. If you’re not able to pay, but you want to fight the eviction, you will need to find some legal consultation that we’re not able to offer through this article.

So what do you do in this situation? Well, whatever the reason, if you’re late or can’t pay (all of) the rent, the first thing you do is inform the landlord. It’s not a pleasant conversation, sure, but it’s the best way to keep your relationship with the landlord stable. In the end, it’s in the best interest of the landlord for you to get back on your feet! So don’t be afraid to make a proposal for instalments, late payments or a different kind of construction.

Additionally, if the issue is systemic and you need financial aid, Germany has some social resources to help you deal with rent arrears, such as the Sozialamt or the German Job Center.

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