One of the first challenges that almost all KLU students face is finding accommodation in Hamburg. Only a few have their family in the city that they can live with. We are not going to lie: finding accommodation in Hamburg, as in almost any other big populated city, is hard and very often will get on your nerves. But hopefully reading this article will serve you as a machete to venture into the fierce jungle of Hamburg’s housing.
(Reading time: 5 minutes 42 seconds)
Let’s start with the basics! If there’s something we have learned from all our past years of students coming from all over the world, it is that young people are very resourceful and, one way or another, the right spot always comes around. So, first, get yourself into the right mindset to succeed in your search:
- Don’t freak out! To this day, there has not been a single student who has found themself “living on the streets”. So even if the moving date is coming closer, don’t panic and stay consistent in your search. Something will turn up ;)
- Be prepared. The more, the better. Gather all kinds of information that make you look like a reliable and uncomplicated tenant, such as: recommendation letters, financial statements of your savings or your family’s finances (in EUR or USD!), blocked bank account statements, guarantors, etc. And, of course, add your KLU acceptance letter. Make a nice folder with all of this and be ready to hand it off to any potential landlord. Germans loooove their papers. Everything in paper - always best; and every document must be in English or, even better, in German!
- Be fast. Good options disappear in a matter of hours, so you better be hooked on those apartment apps. Have a text prepared to introduce yourself (best in German! Ask a friend for help or use a translator like DeepL) and your papers ready to be sent as soon as a good opportunity comes along. Same goes for our dorm spots, which are offered on a first come first served basis.
- Be careful! Sadly, many scammers will want to take advantage of your lack of knowledge of the city and your situation of moving abroad and having to look for a flat remotely. Beware of suspicious offers and weird types of transactions (Western Union, Money Gramm) and stories (“This house belonged to my aunt but I live in UK, and I’m offering it really cheap, so someone reliable takes care of it…”). Do not share your personal information or send your passport and other documents if something doesn’t look legit. Follow your gut. Normally, if it looks too good to be true, well, it’s because it is.
- And NETWORK! By far the most effective way of finding the right place for you is to network. Ask our students; attend our “get-together” events to get in touch with the students who will be starting out, just like you; join our Moodle platform; post in our students’ Facebook group; follow other students on Instagram, etc. One of the strategies that has worked for many in the past is to come to Hamburg and live in a short-term dorm or even a hostel and, once you set foot on campus, get connected with all of those who have “been there, done that” and can give you the best tips.
Pulling out the calculator
Surely you are wondering now what you should expect from your accommodation in Hamburg. Obviously, this will depend on your budget and your lifestyle. Both can differ enormously from one student to another. So, check which of the following types fits you best, based on your habits and monthly budget for rent:
- The roomie – Living in a dorm (350-450€): KLU has some reserved spots from the Studierendenwerk in two dorms: Gustav-Radbruch Haus and Kiwittsmoor. The spots are offered by our Student Services department in June and are assigned following a draw system. At the dorms, you’ll have your own furnished room and share a kitchen and bathroom with several roommates (up to 8!). This of course means more human interaction, for better or worse. You will be surrounded by other German and international students and have more options to make friends (also from outside of KLU). But you may also need to handle some disagreements in your daily life. The facilities usually have common laundries, BBQ, and social areas.
- The selective social – Shared flat (450-750€): Maybe you like that kind of social interaction but with not so many people and not randomly chosen, but with classmates or friends of yours. Then a shared flat is a good solution to save some money. Depending on the area and the included services, the price can vary substantially (see map of prices above). The deposit (Kaution) is often 2 or 3 times the monthly rent. Be aware that apartments in Hamburg are often unfurnished, so you have to account for spending some extra money (or having good skills in second-hand buy & sell apps) to make them livable.
- The solitary – Living on your own (750-1200€): If you have a more comfortable budget, you may want to invest it in having your own temple of peace. Living alone is a great choice to focus on your studies and have some place to call “home”. However, finding an apartment (and beating other reliable applicants) is a tough game. Knowing some German can give you an advantage with private landlords. Otherwise, finding a flat that belongs to a big real estate company (“immobilien”) can be a good move. Be aware that nicer areas like Eppendorf, Winterhude, Harvestehude or HafenCity can be very competitive and pricy.
- The Luxurious – (€€€): if you are one of those lucky ones for whom money is no problem, then Hamburg can become not only a great home for your time as a student, but also a highly valuable investment for the future. In this case, you can check out the real estate and get professional advice to select where to live. If you want to be close to KLU, it doesn’t get any closer than living in the HafenCity!
At this point, knowing who you are and what you can afford, it’s time to start the search. We’ve provided some resources here, but there are others, too. And do you remember? Network! Also, do not forget that our colleagues in the student services team are super friendly and are there to help you. So be proactive and have no shame in asking questions. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to you! Good luck!
Dorms and hotels:
- Studierendenwerk Hamburg
- Stuart apartments
- The Fizz
- Youth hostel Hamburg Auf dem Stintfang
- Motel One
- Hotel Wagner (*** Hotel)
- Yo-Ho Hamburg (*** Hotel)
Shared flats and whole flat rental:
Whole apartment rentals and for sale (*used by former students, no publicity purpose):
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Student Services (accommodation topic): firstname.lastname@example.org