The accommodation rental market in Munich is busy, fast-paced and sometimes just a bit unfair. Speaking German will give you an advantage, as things can just get done a lot more quickly, but if you get yourself plenty of time to search, you should be able to find accommodation in Munich well before term starts.
The main obstacle to finding good quality accommodation as a student in Munich isn’t your status or how much money you have in the bank - it’s the fact that most landlords prefer to rent their place out for 2-3 years at a time. If you’re only staying for a semester, or even a full academic year, you’re going to have to fight a bit harder to find a nice place.
Don’t get me wrong - accommodation for students in Munich can definitely be found, it just requires effort. Rather than depending on traditional letting agents (who prefer to work with professional clients) you should focus your attention on the online market. Your university should have resources in place (like Facebook groups) which let you chat to your fellow newbie students - get in touch, and ask if anyone wants to get together and rent a flat.
In fact, we run a Facebook group ourselves which is crammed full of international students who have moved/are moving to Munich. One of the most singular aspects of exchange is living with people from different cultures, backgrounds and degree paths to ourselves - use our rooms/accommodation Munich Facebook group to connect with others.
Even if you don’t find anyone to live with there, you’ll invariably leave with solid advice and a sense of direction and knowing how to approach finding an apartment. To find more rooms in Munich, the Housing Anywhere website can be hugely valuable. Every day we are taking on more and more listings, from single rooms in massive houses, to one-man studios you can keep all to yourself.
But our job isn’t to shamelessly plug our own services. There are cracking websites like the Student Network in Munich which specialize in student-specific housing, or Student Apartments Munich who, you guessed it, are another service who can help get your foot in the door - and help it stay there!
In keeping with the pricey cost of living in Munich overall, room prices in Munich are generally higher than neighbouring European cities. It’s a sad reality that unless you’re a fairly high-earning professional, you’re extremely unlikely to find somewhere "affordable" in trendiest parts of the city centre.
But remember - the public transport system in Munich is second to none. The peripheral districts around the city centre, as well as some of the less well-to-do (or gentrifying, depending on your outlook…) areas are very affordable and really well-connected with town.
The most common rental option for students in Munich is to take on a single room as part of a larger apartment. It could be an apartment of students in the city, a family home in Hadern or anywhere in between. The price range varies substantially, but the majority of rooms go for somewhere in the region of €400-800 per month. This is for rent only, and utility bills (gas, electricity, water) and internet will not usually be included in the rent price.
WGs are shared apartments in Germany. If you and several others can band together and find a short-term rental for a 3-4 bed apartment in the city, that’s probably the most financially sensible option. It’s tricky, as landlords aren’t usually fans of such short-term lets, but it’s definitely worth looking.
If you decide to take on a studio or one-bed apartment, you’ll probably be splashing out about twice as much as those in shared accommodation. In fact, single-person apartments can cost as much as €2000 per month, though there’s no student budget in which this would ever be achievable. You might manage to get somewhere pretty good for under €1000 a month, but this is still a massive (and maybe unnecessary?) investment, so think hard before committing to this.
Start in good time - Registration may have to wait until you arrive in Munich, but there’s no excuse for failing to look into accommodation weeks or months before moving. Give yourself as much time as you possibly can, as there’s nothing worse than moving to a new country without a roof over your head.
Act fast - Once a new ad is live, get on the phone straight away to arrange a viewing. If you like it, your best chance of securing the place is to commit ASAP.
Read small print - Avoid hidden charges or commitments by taking the time to read your contract from start to finish with a fine tooth comb.
Prepare your documents - Proof of means, prior landlord references and ID. Anything which might make the process a little quicker is worth doing in advance.
Keep a large search radius - With Munich’s great public transport system, apartments which fringe the city limits are within easy reach of the centre. They’re also usually a lot cheaper!