The Advantages and Disadvantages of Sharing a Flat in Germany

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Sharing a Flat in Germany

Many university students in Germany don’t live on their own or with their family. They mostly live together with at least one roommate in a flat-share, or a “Wohngemeinschaft”, a WG.

Living together with others, especially when you didn’t know them before, can be nice, but also exhausting. If you haven’t decided whether you want to move into a flat-share or not, we have a list of some of the benefits and limitations when it comes to sharing your living space with new people. 

Privacy and Peace

The most obvious disadvantage of a shared flat or house is the fact that you have to do without parts of your privacy. Having other people around you can quickly get stressful. You need to use the bathroom after you woke up in the morning? Sorry, your flat mate is taking a shower.

Do you want to cook a nice meal after you’ve returned from work? Sorry, he is making a chili. Do you want to go to bed soon? Sorry, he is having a party or friends over to grab a few beers. But you must be able to handle certain things like these, or you are going to have a bad time.

Having Your Own Space

Another very natural thing about a WG is the fact that you won’t have much of your own space compared to having your own flat. You might have a room and most of the time, that’s all of your personal space.

You will be lucky if you have a big kitchen or even a living room in your flat-share where you can sit together. But in this case, you have to think about point 1: You will have to share it with the other guys.

sharing a flat

© Wikipedia


Cleaning might be one of the biggest disadvantages of a WG: You do not only have to clean the mess your flat mates produce, but you have to also clean much more and more often than you would have to if you lived alone.

Speaking of the bathroom, cleaning can quickly become something like a horror movie. But of course, there are also some advantages!

New Friends

Which US City Saves Roommates Most vs Renting Alone?

When you are moving to a new city for the first time, it can get a bit lonely when you are living in your own place. When living with roommates, you have the chance to make new friends and you will never be lonely. You’ll have someone to talk to, cook a meal with and explore a new city together.

Some people are drawn to the idea of solo relocation to a different country as it offers a wonderful opportunity to venture beyond one’s comfort zone and enthusiastically embrace new life experiences and different people and cultures. Your flat mates can also show you the coolest spots in your new hometown and make you feel welcomed from the first day, so you might end up having a more fun lifestyle than when living alone.


A very pragmatic reason most people have for living in shared flats is, of course, the money. When you share a flat with others, paying a month’s rent becomes much cheaper for every single one. It is not only the rent itself but also the bills and many additional costs. It’s just much easier if you can share the bills for electricity, water, the internet and, especially in Germany, the notorious Rundfunkbeitrag. 

Chart: The cost of a WG room in Germany | Statista

Moving In and Out

It is not only cheaper but also much easier to find a room in a WG than renting your own flat. It is also possible to move in just for a few months without making long-term commitments. It is also easier to move out if you decide that flat sharing is not for you and you’d rather live alone again.

Keep in mind that before you’ve rented an apartment or short-term accommodation, you ask the landlord or service provider to sign a “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung.” This document is essential for your registration in Germany (“Anmeldung”), a compulsory prerequisite before you can proceed with tasks such as opening a bank account, applying for a tax ID, and obtaining your residence permit.

Types of Private and Shared Accommodation

Here are some of the popular options you can choose from when looking for a place to stay in Germany:

Students Halls of Residence

Students Halls of Residence are the most cost-effective housing option for students, particularly favored by first-year international students. These accommodations, provided by state-run organizations in university towns, offer various living spaces, including single rooms, shared apartments, rooms for single parents, and facilities for disabled individuals.

Rent is typically paid on a monthly basis. However, only 40% of international students secure a room in these halls, so the majority need to arrange their own accommodation, as on-campus options are limited.

Allocations are based on a first-come, first-served basis. Once accepted to the university, an online application must be submitted on the city student union webpage. If accommodation is available, an email with an offer, along with a deadline for response and lease agreement, will be sent.

Some universities manage international student residence applications through their International Office. The cost of Students Halls of Residence is approximately €220 – €250 per month.

Private Accommodation

While finding private accommodation is typically the student’s responsibility, some International Offices may assist. Rent prices vary by location. For example, major cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich generally have higher costs. You can expect to spend on private accommodation around €280 per month for shared spaces and approximately €400 per month for individual units.

Temporary Accommodation

Given the difficulty of renting permanent accommodation in advance and the preference of many students to inspect places personally, temporary accommodation becomes crucial. Options include youth hostels, guest houses, and online listings and ads for short-term stays. Prices vary depending on location, accommodation type, and the inclusion of utilities.

For those interested in more info on living in Germany, how to find work in Germany, or how to find a flat in Hamburg, these are some articles to check out on the SmarterGerman blog.

FAQs about flat sharing in Germany

Here are some of the questions people ask about flat sharing in Germany.

How much does a shared apartment cost in Germany?

The cost of a shared apartment in Germany depends on factors such as the city, neighborhood, and the facilities provided. On average, monthly expenses can range from €300 to €600 per person. Keep in mind that prices may be higher in popular urban areas.

Where can I find a flat mate in Germany?

In Germany, there are frequently dedicated groups for international students, providing an opportunity to connect with fellow students for flat searches, initiating shared living arrangements, or exchanging helpful advice. Additionally, on platforms like Facebook, you can discover local flat-hunting groups in your city, facilitating the search for shared accommodations and the process of renting a flat in Germany.

Summing Up: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Sharing a Flat

In conclusion, the decision to embrace flat sharing in Germany presents both advantages and disadvantages for university students, particularly those who consider living in a new town. While sacrificing some privacy and contending with shared spaces and new responsibilities may be drawbacks, the opportunity to make friends, pay lower rent, and ease into a more social lifestyle can outweigh these challenges.

Ultimately, the experience builds self-confidence and resilience, preparing individuals for life’s challenges. So, whether you choose to live alone or share, each experience, mistake, and success becomes a stepping stone in your personal and professional journey.

If you’d like to learn more about living in Germany, come join us at SmarterGerman! Our blog is full of fun posts about life and culture in Germany!