How to get access to cheap rents in Berlin as a foreigner using a WBS document

Some subsidized flats in Berlin can only be rented with a document called Wohnungsberechtigungsschein (WBS). We explain the requirements and how to get a WBS if you earn less than 1800.- Euro as a single or 2700.- per month for couples.

This post was last updated on September 5, 2023

In this guide

Image with WBS acronym

A WBS, short for Wohnungsberechtigungsschein, is a document that enables access to subsidized flats in Berlin for people with less income. The flats have a below-market average rental fee. The tenant pays less rent and the landlord gets some money on top of the rent from the Berlin city. The goal is to give people with less income easier access to the Berlin rental market.

Who can apply for a WBS?

These are the income criteria source:

  • 1 person can apply for a WBS if the yearly income is less than 16.800.- Euro
  • 2 persons can apply for a WBS for one shared flat if the accumulated yearly income is less than 25.200.- Euro
  • Every other person which lives in the flat adds 5.740 Euro to that sum
  • Every child adds 700.- to the sum

You need to be a member of the European Union or have a residence permit valid for at least a year. A WBS is only valid in the state (Bundesland) where it is issued: A WBS from Berlin cannot be used in Brandenburg source.

You must declare that you live in a relationship with the other person who moves in.

How big is a WBS flat?

  • 1 or 2 persons usually only get a WBS for a one-room flat plus kitchen and bathroom
  • 3 person: 2 rooms
  • 4 to 6 persons: 3 rooms

Where can I apply for a WBS?

You can apply at the Bezirksamt with the following documents:

  1. Application form (PDF "Antrag auf einen Wohnberechtigungsschein WBS").
  2. Income statement form (PDF "Einkommenserklärung").
  3. Income proof form to be filled out by your employer (PDF "Einkommensbescheinigung").
  4. A declaration that you live in a partnership with if your partner is moving in (PDF "Partnerschaftserklärung").
  5. In case of children: a statement about parental custody (PDF "Erklärung über die gemeinsame kindliche Betreuung").
  6. Registration documents of your current flat or place where you live.
  7. Copies of your IDs or passports.
  8. Birth certificates of children.
  9. Marriage certificate in case you are married.
  10. Study certificate if you are a student.
  11. Copy of your residence permit in case you are not a member of the EU.

The list of documents is compiled from this Berlin service website. We recommend bringing all official documents about your family, income or living situation which might be helpful.

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