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I'm looking for an apartment to rent in Germany about four months from now - that is, starting January or February - as the period of notice on the current rental agreement is three months.

As it turns out, virtually all apartments available via familiar sites such as ImmoScout are offered for rental starting immediately, in October or perhaps November. I don't see how I could find an apartment so that I would be able to sign the new contract before cancelling the current agreement.

In my view, landlords will always prefer a tenant who would be able to move in immediately, so the apartment doesn't remain untenanted for too long, which puts me in a not so good position to negotiate.

I would like to move out of my current apartment ASAP as it's impossibly expensive for just one person (roommate moved out unexpectedly). Also, my job situation changed recently - it's quite a hassle commuting, so I'm looking for an apartment closer to work.

What can I do about this situation? Would it be wise to terminate the current contract in the hopes of finding a suitable offer eventually?

I suspect that winter season might have something to do with things - probably nobody likes moving on New Year's Eve, so hardly any apartments are available for January. Am I just forced to wait for another one or two months?

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    I have not changed apartments for quite some time, but it used to be the case that if you presented acceptable new tenants (“Nachmieter”) to your landlord, you would be left out of the contract earlier than the three month period. – Carsten S Sep 15 '16 at 7:49
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    However, the landlord is under no legal obligation whatsoever to let you out of the contract even if you present new possible tenants. It may work but there is no guarantee. – Jan Jun 13 '17 at 23:17
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Unfortunately, there is no really easy way out. Most appartments offered on these sites are only offered after the previous tenant has declared they are terminating the contract. So if they terminate three months ahead, the landlord will probably need two weeks to a month to get the administrative stuff going and then wants to take pictures of the flat for the offer. In the best case, this means that a flat can be offered something like ten weeks before it is available — in practice, it will be much later though.

However, fret not. It is entirely worth the trouble of asking. Be upfront about it, explain your situation. Worst that can happen is that they say ‘no’.

And keep checking the sites as new offers will come in all the time.

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Three ways I can think of (not by order of significance necessarily):

  1. Reply to ads indicating they want immediate entry into the apartment, as though you're willing to move in immediately. Don't immediately state you're interested in late entry. When you visit the apartment or as part of the initial conversation, Say when you expect to be able to get in. While it's not what the ad asked for - that's what the land-lord got. They might accept, and they might not accept. Remember that a landlord willing to take in a tenant a few weeks ealier or later will publish the earlier rather than the later date.
  2. Avail yoursafe of a realtor (real-estate agent). Their contacts may include additional information on the apartments they're working with, specifically with regard to date of entry.
  3. Try looking for other venues where apartments are published. For example, many people use social media to offer apartments which they're renting at the moment for the future.

PS - I know this answer is given a long time after OP has had to face his/her problem; it's for the benefit of others of course.

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