Searching a flat - The worst thing that can happen to you in Berlin right now

Do you know what is the worst thing that can happen to you in Berlin? I will tell you before my question opens the door to a room full of endless answers and speculation. According to my experience, the worst thing that could happen to you in Berlin is to find yourself forced to leave your flat and having to look for another one. Looking for a flat is more like entering a labyrinth, you do not know how and when you will ever get out of it.

Everyone knows that finding a flat in Berlin is like winning a lotto price. It only happens to the lucky people. It's not just about the lack of flats, but also because of a corruption circle that takes bribes to provide flats to those who otherwise can’t land a flat through “vitamin B” but are fortunate enough to have money.I have been trying for nine months to find a flat for my family now. Every day I feel like it is a mission impossible. I'm afraid that I have two options: First, I could abandon my life in Berlin in favor of living in a small village. Secondly, we’d have to go back to live in a camp. Life in a village is not bad at all. Personally, I wish to live in a quiet atmosphere, far away from any noise and pollution, but I cannot force my children to abandon their friends and schools in Berlin again. On the other hand, life in a camp is a real catastrophe. Every time I apply for a flat, I face many obstacles. Some flat owners do not want a family with children and others do not deal with people relying on the social welfare system. I do not exaggerate if I say that there are those who make a very discriminatory classification by prioritizing the German, then the European tenants such as Brits or Scandinavians, while the rest of the people, including Muslim refugees, are at the end of the line. Doesn't this arrangement remind you of something?

The housing crisis in Berlin has not only opened up the door to brokers who charge big commissions under the table, but also opened up opportunities for scammers, who exploit people's need for a home and try to get them into fake rent, most of them through fake e-mails. Personally I received a number of these false emails but I was lucky enough to have friends who warned me about the fake messages before I got involved although I have heard many stories about inexperienced refugees who became victims to these scammers. The lack of flats makes people accept any flat regardless of its location, area or level. One of my friends succeeded in getting his family a flat on the outskirts of Berlin. The flat is located on the sixth floor in an old building with no elevator. Since then, we no longer see them much, only sporty friends who are able to reach the sixth floor are still in contact with the family. But it is strange that so many people consider them lucky, because they found this flat!

Photo by Flo Karr on Unsplash

About the author

Yahya Alaous, ein syrischer Journalist, arbeitete für viele arabische Zeitungen. Er wurde für zwei Jahre in Syrien verhaftet, nachdem er einen kritischen Artikel über Menschenrechte und Korruption geschrieben hatte. Er kam 2015 mit seiner Familie nach Berlin und schreibt seit August 2015 eine regelmäßige Kolumne für die Süddeutscche Zeitung.

Yahya Alaous, A Syrian journalist, worked for many Arabic newspapers, he was arrested for two years in Syria after writing a critical articles on Human rights and corruption. He came to Berlin with his family in 2015 and he writes a regular column for Süddeutscche Zeitung since August 2015.


  • Lebanon: Time for changing the system

    Beirut, Lebanon - The smoke can be seen from afar. The usual blanket of smog over Beirut thickened to a massive black cloud. Since the evening of...

    Read More ...

  • Seven Nights

    First Night In the middle of the road under the midnight street lamp you will howl, barefoot in your bedgown.A mosquito suddenly stings you. Afraid,...

    Read More ...

  • Vows Wide Open

    We never would have tried it back home, but when we came to Berlin, everything was differentHere anything was possible and we now had a child. We...

    Read More ...


Back to Top
Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.