Tips on how to apply for an apartment

Apartment owners want the best tenants and are spoilt for choice. Source: iStock / shironosov

As if it were not already difficult enough to find a suitable apartment of the right size and location (and price), once you have found it, the competition begins. When applying for an apartment, it is advisable to respect certain principles and, if possible, to stand out from your fellow applicants. has summarized the most important tips.

Make a good impression during the viewing

A potential tenant who arrives on time for the viewing appointment, brings all required documents and appears pleasant is already one step closer to signing a tenancy agreement. It is easy to appear convincing when following these simple rules:

  • Arrive on time for the viewing
  • Ask questions, show interest without being obtrusive
  • If possible, or requested, bring complete application documents

Which documents are part of an apartment application?

It is often possible to answer some questions during the viewing, which gives both parties a good feeling. After that, a proper application dossier will convince the landlord for good. Even more important, however, are the application documents if the viewing did not run smoothly or if there are many applicants competing for the same apartment. Depending on whether the apartment is offered by a private landlord or a real estate management company, the following documents are required or recommended:

  • Correctly completed application form from the landlord or management
  • Record of debt collection 
  • Personal cover letter, possibly with a photo

A cover letter is not required, but it might give the future landlord a better, more personal impression. If it is included in the application, it may well contain personal information. It is often recommended to also include the employment contract or a salary statement, but this is generally not necessary. Usually, there is a section in the application form asking for the income or the income level. This should be sufficient. By the way, the Federal Data Protection Commission has issued guidelines for apartment application forms which can be viewed here (not available in English).

The dos and don'ts

There are some no-gos to avoid if you are really interested in an apartment. Other things, however, are extremely useful to set the bar as high as possible for one's fellow applicants. 


  • Make a good impression during the viewing, a smart, pleasant appearance is an advantage
  • Be quick and present complete documents; this shows genuine interest and sincerity
  • Be polite, attentive and interested: the landlord is looking for a good and uncomplicated tenancy


  • Missing an appointment without cancelling; this is impolite
  • Unfriendly or frivolous behaviour
  • Offering small bribes to the real estate manager: they are not accepted and give a dubious impression
  • Aggressive haggling for a lower rent and criticizing the property too much

Further information on apartment applications can be found in the Comparis glossary. And if the application was successful, the Comparis moving checklist might come in handy.

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