With around 210,000 inhabitants, Rostock is the most populous town in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and also the economic centre. Close to the Baltic Sea, its location on the Warnow and the green surroundings make the city an attractive place to work, have holidays and live.

City districts

Rostock is split into 31 districts that are grouped into 5 local authority areas. The centre is composed of the city centre and the adjacent districts. Warnemünde on the coast is a particular attraction for tourists.

The university, and most of the research institutions, are located in the south of the city (Mechanical Engineering and Natural Sciences), the Hanseatic District (Medicine), the Kröpeliner-Tor-Vorstadt (KTV) (Law, Economics and Social Sciences) and in the city centre (Faculty of Philosophy). These city districts are some of the most popular in Rostock on account of their central location.

Accommodation costs

The costs of accommodation are highest in the centrally-located districts, together with districts on the coast and in Gehlsdorf and Biestow. It is cheaper to live in the districts in between: Evershagen, Lütten Klein, Lichtenhagen, Groß Klein, Schmarl and Marienehe in the north west of the city and Dierkow and Toitenwinkel in the east of the city. The so-called “Plattenbauten" (prefabricated buildings) are typical in these districts.

Rent for an apartment is made up of two major concepts:

  • the net rent without heating ("Nettokaltmiete") and
  • the operating costs ("Betriebskosten").

The operating costs can be estimated at approximately € 2.20 per m² (Source: Deutscher Mieterbund, Rostock). You can use the “Rent Index” ("Mietspiegel") to assess the net rent without heating. This gives you information about the average net rent without heating per m2 in the various towns and districts in Germany. For Rostock you can see these details here, for example:

Further information about the breakdown of living costs is available below.

Transport connections

Rostock has a very well-structured public transport network. The faculties and institutes can be easily reached during the day by tram, bus, suburban railway and by ferry. Cycling is a popular option, depending on the distance. Further information about this is available under our heading Travel and Transport.

Districts and university sites in Rostock (Source:
Finding an apartment

So far, all of our visiting scientists, PhD students and postdocs have been able to find an apartment. However, the search can be difficult. Demand is particularly high at the start of a new semester, i.e. in March and April and in August, September and October. So you should start looking as soon as possible.

For longer stays
(several weeks/ months/ years)

  • Internationales Begenungszentrum (IBZ)
  • Apartments (privately rented)
  • Apartments (from housing associations)
  • Rooms in a shared flat

For short and medium-term stays
(a few weeks/ months)

  • Temporary rent of apartments or rooms in a shared flat
  • Furnished guest houses
  • Rooms for visiting scholars from the International Welcome Center
  • Hostels

Search options


Note: The following list is the (certainly incomplete) result of our own searches. We are not connected in any way with the quoted providers and the linked internet websites and groups.


Notes and tips

  • Residences of the Studierendenwerk: Accommodation in student residences is provided for students only: “[...] you CANNOT apply if you are... [...] a doctoral candidate, a scientific employee, PhD, postdoc, an employee of Likat e.V. or other affiliated institutes of the university [...]” (Source: Studierendenwerk Rostock-Wismar)
  • On the website of the University of Rostock there is also an overview with information about searching for accommodation:


Taking out a rent contract

There are four main documents required for renting an apartment or a room:

  • the rent contract
  • the house rules
  • the apartment handover report
  • the apartment provider confirmation ("Wohnungsgeberbestätigung")

The rent contract is the most important document. It regulates the mutual rights and obligations for both parties; landlord and tenant. Before signing the rent contract you should read it carefully and ask if any of the points are not clear.
Help with understanding is provided, for example, on the website of the Deutscher Mieterbund (German Tenant Association), in the form of a sample rent contract in German and English.

The house rules are a supplement to the rent contract for multi-occupancy houses. For example, it may contain regulations about cleaning the stairway or joint use of basement rooms or the garden.
You will find a sample House Rules document in German and English on the website of the German Tenant Association.

The apartment handover report records any existing flaws in the apartment/room. This allows you to prove that you are not responsible for these faults when you move out. Both parties (landlord and tenant) will receive a signed copy of the handover report.
Drawing up a handover report is not a legal requirement in Germany. If the landlord refuses to draw up a handover report, you can do so yourself without his/her presence for your own safety. To do this, you need a neutral witness who will inspect the flat with you, document any damage and sign the protocol.
On the website (rental law) you will find further information about this, together with a sample handover report.

The apartment provider confirmation ("Wohnungsgeberbestätigung"; commonly also called the “landlord certificate”; "Vermieterbescheinigung") is a mandatory document in accordance with §19 Bundesmeldegesetz (BMG) (Federal Registration Law) that confirms you moving in. It is required to subsequently register at the local registration authority. You will receive the document from your landlord (in other words, the apartment provider).
You will find a sample apartment provider confirmation on the Town Hall website.

Notes and tips

  • Rent security (rent deposit) In Germany you generally have to pay a deposit when you rent an apartment or room. This is one to three monthly rent payments. You will receive this back in full when you move out if you have not caused any damage in the apartment/room, and if you do not have any outstanding rent payments. Otherwise you will possibly only be reimbursed with part of it.
  • Do not transfer any money for rent and the rental deposit before you and the landlord have signed the rent contract - and, if possible, only after you have seen the apartment/the room. Unfortunately there have also been occasional cases of scams in Rostock. Talk to us if you have any doubts.
  • Agency fees: Both parties may consult an agency to put the landlord and the tenant in contact with each other. The costs involved are to be paid for only by the party who consulted the agency. For example, the landlord cannot ask you for a contribution to the costs if he placed the order.
Breakdown of the accommodation costs

Rent for an apartment is made up of two major concepts:

  • the net rent without heating ("Nettokaltmiete") and
  • the operating costs ("Betriebskosten").

There is also ...

  • Electricity costs
  • Internet (and telephone) costs
  • Broadcasting fee ("Rundfunkgebühren") and
  • possibly additional costs.

The net rent ("Nettokaltmiete") is the price for only using the accommodation area (m2) (without heating).

The operating costs ("Betriebskosten") are all the other costs that your landlord will charge you for. These include, for example, the costs for water, heating, refuse removal, stairway cleaning, caretaker and gardening.
Once a year you will receive a so-called "Betriebskostenabrechnung" (operating costs statement) from your landlord. This compares the operating costs that you have already paid with the actual figures, and you will either receive a reimbursement or you will need to pay the extra to cover the outstanding amount.
The operating costs statement differentiates between the consumption-dependent costs that are invoiced directly to you (e.g. for water, sewerage, heating), and the consumption-independent costs (e.g. for refuse removal, stairway cleaning, gardening etc.).

Electricity costs

If you rent a room, e.g. in a  flat-sharing community or guest house, the costs for electricity are often included in the operating costs of the rent. If you rent your own apartment, generally not the case, you will need to arrange your own electricity contract. The power provider will therefore need your meter number. This will be noted in the handover report, together with the current meter reading, when you move in.
It may take up to three weeks to be organised. In the meantime you will be automatically supplied by the Rostock municipal utility company (Stadtwerke Rostock).

Internet (and telephone) costs

If you rent a room, e.g. in a flat-sharing community or guest house, the costs for the internet are often included in the operating costs of the rent. If you rent your own apartment, generally not the case, you will need to arrange your own internet contract. This can often, if required, be combined with a phone option. It may take one to two weeks to be organised.

Broadcasting fee ("Rundfunkbeitrag")

An obligatory fee is charged in Germany for financing public broadcasters (including the TV channels ARD and ZDF, and Deutschlandradio). The Beitragsservice (broadcasting fee service) is responsible for this. They will contact you by post after your registration at the local office ("Ortsamt") and remind you of your obligation to register. You can register online.
The fee is € 18.36 per month per apartment. If you live in a flat-sharing community, you should ask the other occupants whether the flat has already been registered by them. Further information:

Other costs

... could be, for example, for the use of centrally-provided washing machines, the conclusion of a TV contract, renting a parking space etc.

Notes and tips

  • When looking for an apartment, ensure whether the rent figure quoted is without heating (without operating costs) or with heating (including operating costs). Find out which other costs are included and which need to be added on (electricity, internet, phone, etc.).
  • A synonym for "Betriebskosten" (operating costs”) is often “Nebenkosten" (incidental costs).To be precise, the operating costs are just a part of the incidental costs, namely the part that is allowed to be charged to the tenant. Costs that cannot be charged to the tenant are, for example, management costs for the house or the maintenance costs.
  • Find out whether the apartment or the room is furnished or whether it would be possible to make use of any pieces of furniture from the previous tenant.
  • When renting an apartment you should find out whether it has a kitchen (including a cooker, sink and fridge). This is not always the case.
  • Under certain circumstances it may be possible for you to apply for housing benefit. You will find information about this on the Town Hall website.
General information about living in Germany
  • There is a legally enforceable night-time quiet period between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., during which you must not disturb your neighbours with loud music or your washing machine, for example.
  • The tap water in Germany has a particularly high quality. Normally, you can drink it without any problems.
  • In Germany, we place great emphasis on rubbish separation. If your rubbish is not properly separated, you may find that your rubbish bins will not be emptied. Further information about this is available here, for example.

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View of the city centre (Photo: Julia Boldt)

Please feel free to contact us so that we can support you in finding an apartment. However, we would ask for your understanding that our capabilities in this field are limited and that we cannot, for example, undertake apartment viewings for you.

Learning German I

Abbreviations are sometimes used in apartment ads. This website provides a good overview with English translations:

Learning German II

Here you will find illustrated dictionaries covering the subject of living (in residences):