The struggle with German vocab when it comes to relocating.
When you start looking at houses and apartments in Berlin, you might come across some strange vocabulary in the advertisement or in the rental agreement. A particularly confusing one is the difference between ‘Kaltmiete’ and ‘Warmmiete’. Here we explain the reason why you need to know both.
The price difference between Warm and Kaltmiete is Nebenkosten. The average Nebenkosten in Berlin is around €2.48/sqm (source: Berliner Zeitung). In case the landlord is offering something significantly higher or lower than this, it is important to find out why. If the Nebenkosten is set too low per month, you will have to cover the costs at the end of the year, which can end up being a high additional payment. It always pays to make sure you know the difference between these terms before you sign any rental agreements!
’Kaltmiete’ literally translates to cold rent and is the basic rent for the apartment with no additional costs included. Using Kaltmiete, you can calculate the price per sqm to compare the difference in rent in different areas.
’Warmmiete’ is warm rent, and is the Kaltmiete plus additional costs such as water, property tax, gas, electricity, and waste disposal services. These costs can vary depending on how many people live in the apartment, seasonal deviation, or the property market. These “side costs” are called Nebenkosten in German.