Contents of the article:
- Does a private apartment have chances as a sublet on the market in Berlin?
- What do tenants look for?
- Opportunities for private apartments on the furnished rental market
We often get private apartments offered, that is, apartments that must be sublet for a specific period of time only because the owner/tenant will be away temporarily for some time. This can be years or even a few months only.
Whether you are owner or tenant: If you want to sublet your own apartment for a long time, you should advertize it at an early stage. Despite the general housing shortage, it is not always easy to find a sub-tenant. And agencies are not always the right people to talk to.
1. Which Apartments sublet and let easily?
Most apartments offered on a temporary basis are apartments that have been furnished for temporary rental. Please Note: for temporary rental – and not for vacation accommodation.
These apartments are let to persons who come to Berlin to work here, or to further their education, for example to do a language course. This is very important, because renting to tourists is (mostly) illegal.
These apartments are available without any time limit. This does not mean that tenants can rent for an unlimited time. But with these apartments, it is possible to conclude a lease for a certain period of time and perhaps extend it later, often even several times. The temporary tenant therefore should be flexible. Projects often take longer, or you may not find your own unfurnished apartment in Berlin all that quickly.
Previously, about 6 years ago, it was reasonably easy to find a tenant for a private apartment which would only be rented for a certain period of time.
Since then, however, the market has changed a little. Nowadays one finds almost only “temporary-rented apartments”. And since the prohibition on vacation apartments, there has even been an oversupply of temporary-rented apartments, since many apartments now offered for temporary renting used to be offered as vacation accommodation in the past. So oversupply should again be considered in context. There are many offers, but quality is still in high demand and good apartments at a reasonable price still rent out very well.
Apartments that are easily let.
- Equipped and furnished in such a way that a particular target group will be interested.
- Modern, tastefully and stylishly furnished. So no mix of old and new,
- or, as in the example above, a style that is not necessarily considered modern should be uniformly revised. There is also a demand for high-quality accessories, as shown here. Less, however, than for modern-furnished apartments, which appeal to a younger audience.
2. Disadvantages for Tenants sublettling an Apartment
2.1. Limited-time availability
From a prospective tenant’s viewpoint, the time-limited availability is a disadvantage. Tenants want to be flexible. For this reason, they often rent for a shorter period of time, e.g. For 2 or 3 months, but with an extension option. If an apartment is only available for 4 months, most tenants will not be interested, because hardly anyone wants to move more often than necessary.
For example, if you go away for exactly one year and are looking for a sub-tenant over exactly this period, it can also be difficult to find someone who is looking to rent for a year as from exactly the month in which your apartment becomes available, and then also wants to rent specifically your apartment. If he wants one month later to rent for one year, your apartment will not be available, because it is only available for 11 months. Therefore, it is always better if the landlord is flexible and offers the apartment for shorter letting periods as well. This implies that more effort will be needed. The handover, final cleaning, etc., need to be organized, and you will need someone who will take good care of your apartment.
2.2. No “neutral” Furnishing
Apartments furnished for temporary letting look rather more like hotel accommodations: Modern, furnished in a uniform style, clean, elegant, without private objects. Even without books, CD collections, plants etc. Nothing against books and CDs, but these do not necessarily add value for the tenants during temporary renting. To the contrary. These make the tenant feel more like a guest living in another person’s world. Not everyone likes that. Especially if there are enough other alternatives..
2.3. 2.3. Higher “Processing”.
Suppose a landlord offers a private apartment for sub-letting from 1 December to 31 March, that is 4 months. Many spend the winter months in regions with a warmer climate.
The problem is as follows:
- December is the worst month. There is a demand, but significantly less than during the rest of the year. Almost nobody starts a job in Berlin in December, because before the middle of the month, everything and everybody is already in the Christmas and end-of-the-year mode. For this reason it would be more realistic to find a tenant from the beginning of January.
If, however, the landlord has already left at this time, someone in the vicinity has to take care of the apartment and do some checking. Then questions will follow, and possibly the landlord is also still in a place without reliable Internet connection. In doing so, he or the person responsible for the apartment must be able to reach the apartment during the entire rental period. For example, if there is water damage (not that the tenant should be to blame), the landlord has to act quickly.
- There usually is more to discuss than for a “neutral” apartment. Bed-linen, towels etc. Does the tenant bring his own, does he/she use the landlord’s (then everything must be new and unused), or must everything be bought new? Which items have to be removed, bought or supplemented? Often, the mailbox must also be emptied or plants watered.
In addition, the landlord lets his own home and has a more emotional connection to it than to an apartment which serves only as an investment object.
All this makes the processing more time-consuming.
3. Opportunities: sub-renting a private apartment
Of course, how easy this sublet apartment can be rented depends on the apartment. In most cases, only the following private housing can be sub-let as temporary housing:
– Family apartment with several bedrooms in a good location, especially centrally in the city etc.
– preferably in summer months (then also for a shorter period)
– high-quality, rather designer-oriented furnishing
– Apartments without private linen, towels, etc.
3.1. Lower rental Price
The disadvantages from the tenant’s point of view have already been mentioned. For these reasons, for most private apartments, it does not necessarily make sense to include a profit on or to add a surcharge for the furniture. The goal should be to cover your own costs. With a short sub-letting of only a few months, this is sometimes not possible. Here you should decide whether you want to rent out and to minimize your own costs and possibly not offer your apartment for sub-letting for a few months. During the winter months, it is always more difficult, the chances for good apartments in summer are much better. We get many requests in January or February for apartments in June or July, usually for a few months only, from professors, language students, etc.
3.2. Other Platforms
If a temporary-renting agency tells you that it does not find a sub-tenant for your apartment, we recommend you try it on other platforms. For example home-exchange websites, student platforms, etc. All these sites have a different target group than agencies.
3.3. Offering rented Accommodation
In case of a very long absence, do not rent as a temporary apartment but as a rented apartment. Perhaps empty. And find the right tenant for it. Less effort, regular rent. And you can specify true reasons for limitations.
3.4. Renting for shorter Periods
You can also try to rent out the apartment for shorter periods of time and plan for frequent tenant changes. This may be difficult, however, if you are a tenant and you need the landlord’s OK for subletting. Often the landlord does not want a change of tenants during the absence of the main tenant.
If you are renting to several tenants, however, you need someone who will take competent and reliable care of the apartment, do the handing-over and taking-over, and will be the contact person if something does not work, and will fix it. Professional administrative agencies usually do not care about private apartments, or only in exceptional cases (if the apartment is to be rented for several years, the accessories and furniture must be such that the apartment can be easily rented, the location must be good, etc.)
There are now enough temporary rental apartments. There are good opportunities for private apartments that are suitable for families and are well equipped, if the price is right
Of course, all the information you find here is very general. The main idea was to explain what the peculiarities and the possible difficulties are with the renting out of a private apartment