The pros and cons of short-term and long-term rental leases in Germany
If you’re new to Germany and searching for somewhere to live, you might be weighing up the pros and cons of a short-term rental versus a long-term let. In this article, Marlene Moser from Roomless, the online rental service, explains what prospective tenants should consider before signing a contract.
In Europe, the real estate contracting of leases has changed over time. Whereas previously short-term contracts were the norm, increasingly landlords are also offering medium- and long-term contracts. All three types of contracts differ in duration and lease terms and offer different options to suit different kinds of tenants’ needs.
The duration of leases and the rules and regulations in Europe vary widely from country to country. For example, in some European countries, such as Germany, long-term leases are widespread, while in other countries, such as Italy, short-term leases are the most common. In general, however, the trend is to offer greater flexibility to tenants, particularly in the more competitive real estate markets.
Certainly, the medium- to long-term lease is an innovation that has only had a chance to grow in recent years and is, to date, the most popular and sought-after for particular clients' needs. In this article, we will explain the contract types in more detail.
Short-term rental contracts
Short term contracts are generally those with a duration of fewer than 30 nights. This type of contract is usually used for temporary leases, such as tourist accommodation.
Generally, these leases have fewer restrictions than long-term contracts and offer more flexibility to the tenant. Other advantages of a short term lease include the fact that you will have an apartment that is serviced and equipped like a hotel and suitable for stays of a few days or weeks.
A con of such types of rents is that the continuous turnover of clients may mean that you end up with a well-used, sometimes damaged apartment. Some short-stay rentals also do not allow tenants to register their address there, which can cause issues for people relocating to the country who need a permanent address for various administrative processes like opening a bank account or taking out health insurance.
Long-term contracts, on the other hand, are those with a duration of more than one year. These contracts offer more stability and security for tenants, but may come with more restrictions than a short- or medium-term contract.
For instance, these contracts typically have more detailed terms that might require the tenant to carry out repairs. Long-term leases are also less flexible when it comes to termination. This works both ways: while the landlord needs to give a good amount of notice should they wish to evict you, you as tenant will also need to provide at least a few months’ notice should you wish to terminate your contract and vacate the apartment.
An obvious pro with a long-term let is that it gives you a good degree of stability and lets you set up a secure base in your new country. Cons include the possibility that the home may be unfurnished (in Germany, sometimes even basic components like kitchens, flooring and light fittings are not included in long-term lets). This makes securing a long-term let a bigger financial commitment, at least initially.
Medium-term contracts, however, are the type of rents with a duration between one month and 18 months. These contracts offer more stability than short-term contracts, but at the same time retain some flexibility for tenants.
Typically, these contracts have some restrictions, such as limitations on subletting, but still offer the tenant the option to terminate the contract before the scheduled end date. This might be the perfect solution for someone who intends to stay for a fixed period, of at least a year.
Usually in the medium term you will find the option of serviced apartments: ready-to-live-in apartments that come with the option of having weekly or monthly cleaning and linen changes. Cons of medium-term lets include the possibility that, in a small percentage of cases, you may not be able to renew the lease after 12 months.
Roomless offers an innovative medium- to long-term rental service throughout Europe, suitable for any type of client: from the student, to the manager, to the family, to the employee on a secondment. Discover all the benefits of this service.