Housing and accommodation for students in Cologne

You are coming to Cologne to study and there is so much on your to-do list – choose the right university, apply for a visa, refresh your language skills, get travel insurance and so on. To top it all off, as if you don’t already have enough on your plate, you have to find a place to live. But, don’t worry, we can help you with that.

Bare in mind that finding accommodation in Cologne can be very demanding and stressful for international students, especially if you are first-year student. Therefore, it is best to begin the search for housing as early as possible. Looking for accommodation after your arrival is not recommendable.  

Choose your accommodation wisely and timely

When travelling abroad, especially to a country you’ve never been to, choosing the type of housing that would best suit your needs can be very hard. Affordable costs as well as communication and integration possibilities are decisive factors for international students. You have several options for arranging accommodation while studying in the Cologne:

Student dormitories

Dormitory life is an incredibly beneficial and positive experience for students. You can take part in student activities or make friends in residence halls or apartments. Also, there is no need worry about your trip to school. If you are looking the most convenient and affordable housing option in Cologne, a dormitory is definitely the right choice.

The Kölner Studierendenwerk (Cologne Student Services) operates 89 student dormitories with 4600 places for students from all of Cologne’s universities. Besides classic rooms with shared kitchen and bathroom, they offer apartments, family apartments for students with children as well as rooms for handicapped students. Rent includes costs of central heating, water and electricity, thus guaranteeing no extra payments during the whole period of the student’s tenancy. Please note that the dormitories are are in extremely high demand. Make sure to apply for a dorm room as early as possible. The more dorms you indicate in your online application, the higher your chances for getting a room.

There is a vast choice of very good private student dormitories available in Cologne as well. They mostly offer furnished rooms, single or double apartments. Some of the best known private dormitories are: Ascanenhaus, Corps Franco-Guestphalia, Germanenhaus, Hanseatenhaus, International College im Campus Muengersdorf, SMARTments Köln, Kölner Alemannenheim e.V.(Nur für Männer), Rheinpfalz Haus, Studentenwohnheim Rheinstein e.V., Schmittmann-Kolleg, Silinghaus e.V., Villa777, Internationales Studentenwohnheim Schweidt, Unitas Köln e.V., Burschenschaft Wartburg

Private accommodation

Private accommodation offers many benefits for students, such as increased independence, more space and privacy. Whether living alone or with friends, some students find it better to leave the campus and unwind from school obligations.

Fierce competition on the housing market in Cologne has caused above-market price rents, especially in the city center. So, if you are searching for private accommodation, be encouraged to look for apartments outside the city center, as there is less competition and lower rents.

Cologne has nine districts (Innenstadt, Rodenkirchen, Lindenthal, Ehrenfeld, Nippes, Chorweiler, Porz, Kalk, Mülheim) and every one of them offers a vide variety of private accommodation options. Ehrenfeld and Nippes are the most popular Cologne districts among students.

There are a lot of websites where you can search for apartments in Cologne from abroad. Some of them are: www.wg-gesucht.de or www.wohngemeinschaft.de, www.wg-welt.de, www.immoscout24.de, www.immowelt.de, www.zwischenmiete.de, www.stadtrevue.de, www.monteurzimmer-koeln.de

While doing the search, please beware of scammers lurking online.There is a huge number of deceptive and harmful people out there who will try to take advantage of young and inexperienced international students, especially at the beginning of the semester. So, never let your guard down when looking for an apartment.

These are some of the most common red flags that can help you avoid rental scams while searching for the accommodation:

  • An apartment is at a below average market price (If it seems too good to be true, it probably is)
  • The landlord refuses to meet you on Skype or any other video chat
  • The landlord seems too eager to lease the apartment to you, saying that he has some other people interested
  • You need to pay an unusually high security deposit or too many upfront fees.

In short, choose wisely – look for reviews by former users, ask for a live chat and never send money upfront.  

Temporary housing

As we already mentioned, finding an affordable accommodation in Cologne can be very difficult. You may have to settle for a temporary accommodation before you can move into your own room/apartment. For the first couple of nights you can stay at a hotel, youth hostel, AirBnB, Bed and Breakfast and so on. Available rooms are in different price ranges depending on quality and distance to the center of the city.