Monthly Archives - May 2018

Protection Against Burglaries in Temporary Furnished Apartments

Bedroom Ransacked During Burglary

Pixaby CC0 Creative Commons Fotograf: highwaystarz #195993453

How safe is Berlin? Tenants, who move here from home or abroad, often ask this question. The answer is not so clear.

In comparison to other major cities, Berlin is relatively safe. The probability of being attacked on the street or being the victim of a serious crime is low.

However, in terms of thefts, things look very different. Caution should always be taken in Berlin. Pickpockets, bicycle theft, and burglaries are the most common offences.

Fortunately, the number of thefts is declining. One of the reasons for this is that apartments are becoming increasingly well protected against burglary. Even so, tenants who rent temporary apartments should also take time to deal with this issue.  From experience, burglars who successfully gain entry to the apartment do not steal bulky items, such as furniture or televisions; rather they go for smaller items such as smartphones, tablets, ID cars, and money. Unfortunately, if these types of items are stolen, no insurance company in Germany compensates for this. Even the property insurance of the Landlord will not help.

For tenants coming from abroad, it may be useful to check whether there is insurance in their home country that covers against theft in furnished apartments. However, there is no need for fear and panic. So far there have been only been a handful of burglaries in furnished apartments mediated by us in Berlin. An overview of burglary statistics in the various districts in Berlin can be found here.

It is worthwhile for tenants of a temporary apartment to inform themselves on the issue at an early stage and to protect against burglary.

 

Read our three tips here:

 

1) Always double lock your temporary apartment.

With a furnished apartment that you have rented temporarily, it is always best to use a double lock. While it is true that thieves can theoretically crack any door, they generally don’t have the motivation.  If they do not succeed to break open the door in a couple of minutes, they will just move on to the next apartment.

You should also lock your door even if you only leave your place for a few minutes, especially during the day. Many burglaries take place during the day when the residents are working.

If you don’t lock your apartment properly and a burglary takes place, insurance companies regard this as gross negligence. The resulting damage, e.g. to the front door, could then be charged directly to you.

 

2) Always close windows and doors.

Watch out for tilted windows, skylights, open balconies, and patio doors. This rule applies especially to apartments on the ground and mezzanine floor. However, it is also applicable to all other apartments where windows and balconies are easily accessible; some thieves even come over rooftops. Even if you only have to go shopping for a few minutes you should not forget this. Burglars can easily open tilted windows and get into the apartment. You should also use the lock on the windows if they are equipped with this function.

 

3) Prevention:

You should regularly back up data.

It is annoying if your laptop is stolen. However the device is replaceable, the data is not. Therefore, it makes sense to back up your data on an external device, or cloud regularly. In the worst case scenario, your laptop is gone, but not the data.

 

What we recommend to tenants of temporary furnished apartments in Berlin:

  • Always double lock your apartment. – Even if you are just going to get bread rolls.
  • The same applies for windows: avoid leaving them in a tilted position.
  • Do not keep cash in your apartment.
  • Secure your laptop with a complicated password and back up your data regularly to an external hard drive.

Renting a Temporary Furnished Apartment: What Requirements Must the Tenant Fulfil?

Happy couple having break during moving to new house
Pixaby CC0 Creative Commons Fotograf: baranq/ Fotolia #126997752

What Requirements Must the Tenant Fulfil?

Renting a temporary furnished apartment is actually quite easy.

However, the tenant has to meet certain requirements in order to complete the contract. This often includes proof that they can pay the rent. This is fully understandable and logical on the part of the landlord.

In Berlin, it is also required that the future tenant confirm they are in Berlin for professional reasons, or otherwise here for training/further education. This can be done in the rental agreement itself, or separate one specifically for this reason.

For some prospective tenants, this can sometimes be confusing or even irritating. Therefore we have provided clarification as to why this rule is in place.

 

Misappropriate use of Temporary Furnished Apartments

In 2014 Berlin introduced a new law regulating the use and rent of housing/apartments. Landlords are now only allowed to rent their property for residential purposes, not as a holiday home or as an office – it doesn’t matter if the place is furnished or unfurnished.

The reason for this is simple. A few years ago there was an explosion of holiday homes in the city centre, thus leaving fewer and fewer vacant apartments for those who live and work in the city.

Now the law is clearly defined. The minimum rental period is two months, and the tenant(s) must either be coming to Berlin to work, study, complete training, or attend a language course.

This provision is intended to prevent landlords from renting to tourists or those in Berlin purely for private reasons.

Apartments that are rented to tourists etc. are seen as holiday homes and are subject to regulatory approval.

 

What alternatives are there if you do not work in Berlin?

1.) You’re not sure if these rules apply to you?

You’re moving to Berlin, but you don’t have an employment contract or want to work remotely from Berlin? Talk to your temporary apartment rental agency! Sometimes, it is possible to find a solution.

 

2.) Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartments are also temporary furnished apartments. In addition, they also offer other services, such as a weekly cleaning service etc.  They are not subject to the ban on the misuse of property (Zweckentfremdungsverbot), as serviced apartments are actually considered as hotels. They are mostly found in a serviced apartment complex and can be rented for any desired period of time.

The rental price always includes 7% VAT (MwSt.), and additionally, those who cannot prove they are Berlin for professional reasons are obliged to pay a City-Tax.

Much like hotels, Serviced Apartments are available in all price categories. Usually, they are smaller and much more expensive than temporary furnished apartments.

 

3) Holiday Homes

Holiday homes can also be rented for any desired period of time in Berlin. In addition to VAT (MwSt.), which is included in the rental price, the renter must also pay a City-Tax.

Holiday homes are usually furnished to a lower standard and are more expensive than temporary furnished apartments.

 

How much is the City-Tax for private stays in Berlin?

The City-Tax is 5% of the net price of the room/apartment per night. The collection of the tax is limited to 21 successive days.