Living in a shared flat – tips for finding, starting up and living together in a WG


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Rooms in shared flats, the so-called WGs, offer students and trainees in particular a perfect opportunity to live cheaply and gain cool experiences for life. Are you currently looking for a nice room and nice flatmates? Find out how to live in a WG

In Germany, if you cannot find a flat right away, you will always have the option of living in a shared flat or WG as they are referred to. Find out what you should know about the subject of room and flat sharing before you look at a potential home in Germany.

A shared flat in a nutshell

  • The first impression counts when looking for a flat share: eye contact, being friendly and smiling.
  • A cleaning schedule helps to easily distribute tasks and to always ensure a clean apartment without arguments .
  • Most of the time, residents of a shared apartment receive their own rental agreements. Depending on the rental agreement, you have different levels of responsibility.
shared flat

In love with a room? So you already score points with your application

Especially in the overcrowded cities, it is difficult these days to quickly get hold of a room in a shared apartment that meets your own needs. The competition never sleeps – landlords often receive hundreds of applications for a room or an apartment. Especially students, apprentices and young professionals moving to a new city have their sights set on the coveted rooms in shared apartments. 

Therefore, the following applies here: Preparation is everything! You should pimp the first impression of you as a potential roommate with a brisk cover letter. But there are also points that you should pay attention to during the search and inspection.

1. Set priorities!

In the first step, think about how you imagine your dream flat share. So what are your priorities when it comes to your own four walls? In the rental price, the room size, the location, with pleasant roommates? A list of pros and cons is helpful here. At you then have the option of filtering the search results based on your personal preferences. Determine in which area you are looking, which price and which room size you prefer.

2. Make an effort with your cover letter

As soon as you have fished out your favorites from the sea of ​​offers, you can write a cover letter that presents you in the best possible way. You are welcome to be a bit funny and creative when it comes to describing yourself. But be careful not to drift into exaggeration! 

Your roommates probably don’t want to learn about your foot fetish, but rather about exquisite cooking skills or the great coffee machine that you can contribute to living in a shared apartment. The focus is namely that you are on the same wavelength and that the residents have a sympathetic image of you from the start . Because that is the reason for an invitation to visit later.

shared flat


Confirmation for a viewing: This is how your dream flat share is guaranteed to fall in love with you

Congratulations, your dream shared apartment has actually invited you to visit and would like to get to know you better as a potential new roommate. All of this in just 30, maybe 45 minutes. In the aforementioned “WG Casting” you will be put through its paces and you have to collect as many sympathy points as possible in a short time . We’ll show you absolute must-haves and no-gos below.

1. Call instead of email

The first step to a successful WG casting is the invitation. This works best if you write individualized answers and also respond to the flat share advertisement. If a telephone number has been stored in the advertisement, it is advisable to call directly. E-mails can easily get lost in the abundance of inquiries; you can get to know each other a little over the phone in advance.

2. Make a great first impression

As is so often the case in life, the first impression counts when visiting a flat share . Here you can stick to these three simple rules: eye contact, a friendly demeanor and a smile. If you leave a good impression in the front door, you have a great chance of the next round. Please do not join the casting team! It might seem strange when you need mom or grandma for emotional support.

3. Bribe them with food

“I’ve prepared something”: Offer the flat share (WG – Wohngemeischaft) residents with small snacks, for example self-baked muffins or nibbles. Sometimes love goes through the stomach.

4. Be a good conversationalist

Also, try not to pretend. After all, future coexistence should work well. Little lies to increase the market value are fine, along the lines of “I’m totally the cleaning fanatic.” Be prepared for strange questions. Often the flat-dwellers with funny questions want to tease out from you whether your humor and your character’s Wish Flat share fit, but drop your tents as soon as it gets too crazy and uncomfortable.

5. The farewell

You have mastered sightseeing and conversation. Now, as you say goodbye, you can emphasize once again how incredibly happy you would be if you were accepted (but don’t sound too desperate, that could backfire). From here you have to wait and keep your fingers crossed for yourself.

shared flat

Tips for founding a flat share and a harmonious coexistence

You have finally found dreamy roommates, but you are still looking for the right place to stay. When looking for an apartment, you should not forget that the division of the apartment necessarily includes enough free space for all of its residents . 

So make sure that …

  • the apartment has no connecting rooms . Because no matter how well you get on, every now and then everyone wants to close the door behind them and enjoy the peace and quiet. Nobody wants someone else to sit on their lap when the date is over!
  • the rooms are more or less the same size so that nobody is disadvantaged. Unless the budgets are different.
  • If there are more than three roommates , it makes sense to look for an apartment with two bathrooms or at least a separate toilet . This will help you avoid arguments during the morning shower, especially if you have to get out of the house at the same time.

The cleaning plan for the peace of the house

While it is a matter of course for some to clear up their own mess, there are also people whose tolerance level for dirt and grime is exceptionally high. A cleaning plan is a great way to organize the distribution of the tasks at hand and to ensure a permanently clean apartment without quarrels.

1. The point system

Every activity in the household is assigned a certain number of points (roughly taking down garbage = 1 point, vacuuming the hallway = 3 points, cleaning the bathroom = 5 points). Write the names of the residents on a magnetic board. Then, after each cleaning service, enter the corresponding number of points under the respective name. 

Now you should figure out how many points each resident has to achieve per week – and that’s it! Tip: It is best to write a legend next to the plan and leave several lines blank for the coming weeks. This is how you keep track of things.

2. The cleaning clock

For the hobbyists among you. Simply cut out a circle from a piece of cardboard and stick a picture of you on each of the edges at regular intervals. Then make a pointer out of the remaining cardboard for each cleaning task (for example a bathroom pointer or a kitchen pointer) and fasten it in the middle of the cardboard. Make sure that the hands can be moved. Each plaster pointer now points to a resident; when they have done their job, they simply slide the pointer clockwise over the photo of the nearest roommate.

3. The annual plan

A third possibility is to assign all activities to the flat share residents in an annual calendar. This works best with different colored pencils. Simply assign all tasks to specific colors and alternately write the names over the colored lines in the calendar. If you check off the completed activities in the calendar, all roommates keep an overview.

shared flat

Rental types and rental agreements

In most cases, the residents of a shared apartment receive their own rental agreements. Depending on the rental contract, if a different level of responsibility falls into your lap, there are always advantages and disadvantages. Below you will find a table with important information about the different rental types.

1. One main tenant and (several) subtenants


For the main tenant: He chooses his roommates himself and is the contact person for the landlord.
For the sub-tenant: If there are problems, the landlord can only raise a claim against the main tenant. Furthermore, there is hardly any bureaucratic effort for him.


For the main tenant: He is liable for the rent and is responsible for the punctual payment of the entire rent.

For the sub-tenant: If the main tenant terminates the tenancy, the sub-tenants have no right to remain in the rented apartment.

2. All residents are main tenants


All tenants have the same rights. If the landlord wants to terminate the apartment, he must give notice to all tenants.


Everyone is responsible for paying rent. If one tenant gets into arrears, the others have to make up for it.

3. Individual rental agreements


Each roommate has their own rental agreement for the room they rent and the landlord can only be held liable for this.


The tenant has no influence on the choice of other flat share residents. In this case, the landlord has the assignment of his rooms in hand.

Special case sublease

Are you going abroad for a few months or for an internship in another city and would like to sublet your room in a shared apartment during this time ? This happens regularly in shared apartments. At the same time, there are always people looking for accommodation who need a place to stay for a limited period of time.

  • If you sublet your room for a certain period of time, you should always inform your landlord of your plans and have the agreement confirmed in writing
  • If your landlord is not informed, you run the risk of dismissal, unless the rental agreement already states that subletting is okay
  • In order to protect yourself, it is advisable to conclude a standardized sublease agreement with your intermediate tenant
  • Ask for a deposit so that you are covered in the event that something in your room is damaged by your intermediate tenant.
Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany


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