Rental contracts all over the world:
You agree on the monthly rent, the landlord gives you the key, you move in and pay the rent every month. If there is an issue, you call each other and talk about it.
Rental contracts in Germany:
Even for a small apartment, you need to apply with a CV, with references, with bank account statements, with your employment contract, with a credit check and a criminal background check. The landlord will still want two other people, preferably your rich parents, to co-sign as guarantors.
The landlord will only give you the key after you have paid a deposit of three months’ rent, the rent for the first month, a down payment for water, gas, electricity, garbage collection, road-cleaning fees, and will additionally request a power of attorney for your bank account.
There won’t be any furniture in the apartment, probably not even light bulbs. (If there is already a toilet, you hit the jackpot.)
The rental contract will govern every step of your life. You think I am over-dramatizing? Trust me, I am legal translator for German and English and I often translate lease agreements. Today, I came across a section, in which the landlord gives unambiguous instructions about how often, how long and how far the windows should be opened.
And you can count on the landlord walking past the house every day to check on you. If you don’t meet the schedule, you’ll find a letter in your mailbox the next day, probably from an attorney at law, sent by registered mail.
Seriously, even if I could afford to rent something in Germany, I wouldn’t want to.
But I am curious to hear about your experience!