SCHUFA information: what it is and how to rent an apartment without it

When international transferees come to Germany, in addition to numerous administrative challenges, they face one obstacle in particular: finding an apartment. Although the housing market in this country is large and the apartment websites on the internet are full of offers, there are also a lot of interested parties who compete for good apartments. Foreign applicants find it difficult to prevail against the masses because, in addition to German language skills, the landlords usually also want to see a lot of documents. One of these documents is the SCHUFA information. In this article, you will find out what that is and how you can get your SCHUFA information.

What is SCHUFA?

The abbreviation SCHUFA stands for the “Protection Association for General Loan Protection”. It is the largest source of information about the creditworthiness of private individuals in Germany. Almost every person living in Germany is recorded by SCHUFA. Banks and companies can request Schufa information to check whether a customer meets their payment requests and whether their solvency is guaranteed in the future.

Landlords also use this opportunity to check the creditworthiness of their prospective tenants and to ensure that they are not in debt. Especially in cities and regions where the housing supply is limited, Schufa information is almost always required when looking for an apartment. The potential tenant is not obliged to give the landlord insight into his payment activities. But if he refuses to do so, his chances of getting the apartment are very poor.

What does the Schufa information say?

Since April 1of 2010, German consumers have been able to request an overview of their data stored by SCHUFA free of charge in accordance with §34 BDSG. This so-called Schufa self-assessment contains, in addition to personal data and an indication of who requested data about a person, also detailed information on all business transactions. This is partly sensitive data, which third parties should not be able to see.

In addition to the Schufa self-assessment, there is also the option of requesting a Schufa credit report. This is chargeable, with the price currently being around 30 euros. The Schufa credit report consists of a document for personal information and information for business partners. When applying for an apartment, you only have to provide the landlord with information for business partners, after all, they do not need to know whether you have taken out a loan or how you finance your car, but only that you are able and willing to meet your payment requests on time. You will also find your credit rating in the Schufa information. This is a value that is at best 100 percent. With a credit score of over 95%, one is considered to be very safe, with 90% as low risk and with less than 90% as risky. Especially in the highly competitive housing market in Bonn, it is very difficult to get an appealing apartment with a credit score below 90 percent.

Where can I get my SCHUFA information?

You can request the form for your Schufa information either online or by telephone from SCHUFA. You will receive it by post and then have to send it back to SCHUFA Holding AG. You can also fill out your Schufa information directly online. A copy of your passport and your registration certificate is required to verify your identity. You will then receive the completed Schufa information by post within a few days.

Tips for finding an apartment: This is how it works even without SCHUFA

Most other countries do not know anything like SCHUFA information. It is, therefore, a little more difficult for non-Germans to convince the landlord of their own solvency. International transferees usually only receive SCHUFA information if they have been living in Germany for a longer period of time and have opened a bank account in Germany.

Nevertheless, foreigners who do not receive Schufa information can also prove their solvency in another way. For example, you could bring a letter of reference from your foreign bank, or even better, from a German bank account. Another option is to voluntarily offer a guarantee. This is a declaration by a third party stating that he´s liable for you in the event of a delay in payment. You could, for example, ask your employer or a supporting organization to issue you a guarantee declaration for renting an apartment.

HereLocation can help you find accommodation in Bonn

HereLocation will not let you down when looking for an apartment in Bonn and will provide you with active support for all questions and problems that you will face when moving. We look for suitable apartment offers for you and accompany you to all apartment visits to overcome any language barriers. Of course, we will help you compile all the necessary documents, including the SCHUFA information. Feel free to contact us if you need help finding a flat or if you are interested in our other relocation services. We are happy to hear from you!