Unfortunately we don’t have any secret tips. The search for a flat in Berlin is very hard, but don’t lose courage, be patient and take a deep breath.
There are some organisations that provide help to find a flat. Use these organisations and make direct contact with the helpers. Bündnis Neukölln Wohn AG and many more would help you gladly. There’s a Facebook group called Place4refugees where you can find more information about the apartment search. You can join the group and also find an information book, it’s in German, but some words can also be found in Arabic.
My team and I give our best to help refugees in their search for accommodation. Unfortunately, the number of applicants is very high. That means it may take some months until we can provide a team that can offer assistance with the housing search.
I can confirm that it really makes sense to look for help. It is also good for the landlord to know that they can get in contact with someone if they need to. It’s very important to build up trust with the landlord, if this is possible. It is recommended to send a personal cover letter along with your documents in order to introduce yourself and show who you are.
It is particularly helpful for those who rent flats from private owners. I know that large housing associations have offered a lot of refugees housing and big contracts. But for the people who have not had the luxury of getting these flats, it is very hard to deal with large housing companies because there are just too many applications. Our experience is that you can make more progress with private landlords.
On this sheet you have some portals where apartments are offered. Also try on Ebay Kleinanzeigen because it will most likely be a private tenant. If you look on Immobilienscout and the offer is not from a company, then it’s most likely a private person. On the Bündnis Neukölln website (buendnis-neukoelln.de/fluc...) there is a relatively large list of websites and other organisations, where you can look for flats and find out more.
There are also many other projects that help refugees deal with everyday problems. They offer their help not only in the search for accommodation. These are integration programs that are currently being developed in many places.
I think two or three sentences from Stadt und Land that could be important. We represent a city, a local housing association. There are two million apartments in Berlin. We are one of six housing estates, which have three hundred thousand apartments in their housing stock. And because we are a local city housing association, we have a social mission and that makes it hard.
We mostly take care of those with a WBS, doesn’t matter if they are refugees, mentally ill or unemployed. There is so many people to provide for and that makes it difficult. Of course, we also provide apartments for refugees, which we direct to the EJF or LAF, but these are really only for those who are socially vulnerable and who really have special needs like traumatised people. Complete documents, the “Kostenübernahme” as well as the WBS is important to get an apartment at “Stadt und Land”.
WBS is one of the basic requirements so that we can classify them as apartment seekers with WBS. There are two different forms of the WBS,
- the normal WBS
- and the WBS with special housing needs.
WBS with special housing needs has priority. We don’t make that decision, the relevant authorities do that. There is criteria for that. The impression is important, so if you are a proper family, with children the impression is normally good. But our possibilities are very limited so we can’t provide apartments for everyone.