Applying for rent allowance
You can receive rent allowance if you do not have sufficient income to pay for your place of residence.
Depends on the individual case. It is determined in accordance with the size of the household, your income and rent and other financial commitments.
Generally for 12 months.
In individual cases, this period of time can be longer or shorter. Should you wish to continue to receive housing benefit beyond this period of time, you need to reapply for it.
The rent allowance for tenants is called a rent subsidy. The housing benefit for home-owners who are owner occupiers is called a housing subsidy.
The authority with responsibility for the rent allowance.
Depending on where you live, the authority with responsibility for the rent allowance is
- the city council (Stadtverwaltung) or
- the rural district office (Landratsamt).
Note: For the residents of individual large district towns, the rural district office may be responsible. The administrations of communities which are not responsible for rent allowance will still accept your application and will then forward it on to the responsible body.
- Your total income must be below a certain threshold. The calculation of income is determined in accordance with income tax law, ie your individual, positive income which is subject to tax, together with a catalogue of tax-free income which is taken into account.
- You pay the costs of your place of residence yourself. Should these by paid by third parties, you are not eligible for rent allowance.
Recipients of the following transfer benefits are not eligible for rent allowance:
- Unemployment benefit II and social benefit
- Transitional benefit and injury benefit, both to the sum of unemployment benefit II, also in case of advance payments and downpayments on transitional benefit and injury benefit
- Subsidies towards the costs of accommodation for trainees and students which are not covered
- Basic old age coverage and in case of reduced income
- Maintenance assistance
- Supplementary maintenance assistance or other help in an in-patient institution which includes maintenance in accordance with the Federal Financial Support Act or in accordance with a law which declares this applicable
- Benefits in certain cases and basic support in accordance with the law relating to the provision of benefits to asylum seekers
- Support for children and young people if the household is occupied solely by persons who receive these benefits
- You receive the transfer benefit exclusively as a loan or the transfer benefit was rejected, withdrawn or refused.
- You start receiving rent allowance instead of the transfer benefit.
- Persons who are financially dependent on you and have therefore been taken into account when calculating the transfer benefit.
It is best to apply for the rent allowance in writing. Please use the form which is available on the Internet. You can also obtain this from the responsible body.
You need to use different forms, depending on whether you have rented the place of residence (rent subsidy) or whether you own it (housing subsidy).
You can also apply for the rent allowance informally. Special rules apply in this case. Your (informal) application is then deemed to have been made at this time. Should you submit the filled in form in full together with all necessary documents within a month, you will start receiving the rent allowance from the day on which the informal application was submitted, following a positive check of your application.
Should you not submit your application and the necessary documents until later, you will not receive the rent allowance until from this date.
You will receive the decision concerning your application in writing in the form of a notice.
In case of a positive notice, the responsible body will transfer the payments to you monthly in advance to the nominated bank account.
- Initial application: none
- Application for continuation of benefits: two months prior to the end of the current approval period. This will help you avoid payment disruptions.
- Proof concerning rent or financial commitments.
- Proof of total income of the household (income from employment, rent, child benefit etc).
Should your financial situation or life circumstances have improved or changed, this may lead to a reduction in the amount of rent allowance you receive. You are obliged to immediately inform the authority with responsibility for the rent allowance of all changes which could lead to this being reduced.
In order to prevent the rent allowance being claimed unlawfully or to uncover this, the authority with responsibility for the rent allowance may regularly check the members of the household by means of a so-called data comparison.
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Wirtschaftsministerium released it on 26.07.2019. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.