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Germany offers a variety of landscapes from the coast in the north to the Bavarian Alps in the south.  The country boasts a multitude of historical towns and cities, romantic castles, and excellent museums.  The tourism infrastructure is well developed and most of the people speak English. 

To learn more about German cities, castles, and festivals, take a look at our Germany map and travelogues.

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PCSing or going on TDY to Germany?
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OFF POST HOUSING

Eligibility and authorization
Military personnel are generally required to live on-post.  If on-post housing is not available within 60 days of arrival, authorization may be given to reside off post.  Single officers and senior enlisted personnel may also be authorized to live off post. 

Please not that the housing office is the only entity authorized to approve off-post housing and be aware if you decide to live off post, you will be required to remain off post for a minimum of one year before you can be considered for Government Housing. 



housing allowances/entitlements

Once permission to reside off-post is given, Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) will be authorized.  OHA includes a Basic Allowance for Housing plus additional money to assist with utilities and recurring maintenance expenses.  Note that OHA is only for the amount required to fulfill the rental contract approved by housing, i.e., if your rental costs are less than the total amount authorized for your grade, you are not paid the difference.  If your rental costs are more than the total amount authorized for your grade you are responsible for paying the difference.  The OHA rates are based on grade and are subject to change.  For current rate information, visit our OHA Rate Webpage.

Service members who are authorized a government funded move and who are eligible for OHA are normally entitled to the Move-In Housing Allowance (MIHA).  The MIHA is a one-time payment intended to offset some of the expenses incurred when initially setting-up a household off-post such as security deposits and utility hook-ups.


What to expect from community housing
The majority of available rental property in Germany is apartments.  Single-family homes can also be found but are rare.  Houses and apartments in Germany are built a little differently than those in the US.  First, the average dwelling size is much smaller than most Americans are used to and German houses rarely have built-in closets, resulting in limited storage space.  Kitchens are small and are typically not equipped with cabinets, sinks, stoves, and most light fixtures.  Many times, new occupants must purchase kitchen cabinets, light fixtures and appliances from the former tenant or must purchase new items to furnish the kitchen.  The Furnishings Management Office can provide kitchen cabinets, appliances, and closets for free of charge.  Like on-post housing, homes on the economy typically do not have air conditioning or forced air heat.  Yards are small and garages, if available, will cost extra. 

security deposits

A security deposit (Kaution) is required on most dwellings; normally it equates to two months rent.  The deposit is the landlord's safeguard in the event that the tenant moves out and leaves unpaid bills.  Using the AE Form 210-50J, available at the Housing Office, can help to negotiate and pro-rate deposits with the landlord. 

utility costs
Utilities are averaged using a formula based on the living space of the house or apartment and the number of people in the family.  The same amount is paid every month for electricity, heat, water, sewage, garbage disposal, etc.  At the end of the year, a final bill is calculated and the tenant either receives a refund or pays an additional amount.  The next year's payment will be adjusted accordingly.  Some utility companies require a deposit.  This is usually 125-250 Euros.  Credit is then given for deposits when the final bill is settled.  The total cost of utilities average 125-200 Euros per month. 

Finding off-post housing
The Community Homefinding Relocation and Referral Services (CHRRS) office, most commonly referred to as "the Housing Office" has counselors that can provide limited assistance with the location of off-post rentals as well as explain lease and inspection requirements. 

If you do not find what you want among the Housing Office listings, it may be a good idea to place an ad in the local German paper.  You will be surprised at how many German landlords will call you offering an apartment for rent.  One of our writers did just this and received over 20 phone calls from German landlords the morning the ad came out. 

If you are interested in this, simply pick up the local paper's real estate section and call the listed number.  If you don't speak German, ask for someone who speaks English.  Explain what you want to advertise, and understand that they typically charge ads by the letter.  You will want to advertise the fact that you are an American servicemember, what area of town you are looking for, what size apartment, and (most importantly) what you are willing to pay (your full OHA rate).  Understand that OHA rates are typically much more than you will need for a suitable apartment or house, and that Germans will jump at the opportunity to get a high paying American renter.

If the assistance of a real estate agent (Immobilien) is used, be aware that there is a charge for this service, usually the equivalent of two months rent.  Immobilien services usually consist of providing listings and arranging for site visits to avaiable apartments and homes.

If an apartment is found without the assistance of the Housing Office, then the Housing office must be contacted before the rental contact is signed.  That way, the Housing Office counselor can inspect the dwelling, make certain the contract is in order, and that the service member's rights are protected. 

DAMAGED SHIPMENT?

SEE OUR GUIDE TO CLAIMS FOR LOSS/DAMAGE TO HOUSEHOLD GOODS/BAGGAGE

 

European Sights

TribergBlack Forest
Venture into the heart of the forest where the trees grow so close together they block out the light from above.  Enjoy this fantasyland of chocolate cakes and cuckoo clacks.

Venice's Grand CanalVenice
Take a stroll along Venice's world famous canals and view the magnificent works of art in the city's many art museums and historic cathedrals.

MunichMunich
Munich (München) is well known for its Oktoberfest festivities and for its delicious yeast-wheat beers (Hefeweizen).  But the capital of Bavaria has much to offer tourists not just in October, but all year round.

Appenzell
This area in Eastern Switzerland is a hiking wonderland.  The extensive network or trails and alpine huts make this village and its amazing scenery a must-see for any traveler. 


bruges
Visit this picturesque Belgian city and delight in the perfectly preserved medieval maze of canals, open plazas, and row houses.

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