Where to get help about life in Berlin?

If I can’t answer your questions, these resources can help.

General questions

In English

You can get help from these communities and services.

Immigration questions

Free help

Apartment questions

  • Tenant associations (Mieterverein)
    A Mieterverein protects tenants from landlords. When you are a member of a Mieterverein, you can get help from their lawyers. They can check your lease, help you with a bad landlord, get your rent reduced, and help you sublet an apartment. The membership costs 40€ to 120€ per year.2 If you have a low income, it can be cheaper.3 Some unions have a waiting period before they help you.4 Berliner Mieterverein and Mieterschutzbund Berlin are the two biggest associations in Berlin. Berliner Mieterverein can help you in English.
  • Tenant counsel (Mieterberatung)
    There are dozens of locations in Berlin. You can contact them and ask questions. This is a free service from the city of Berlin. They might not speak English.
  • Lawyers
    Use my list of English-speaking lawyers. If you have legal insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung), you can get their advice for free. If not, a lawyer costs around 200€ per hour.
    • Conny
      A legal service that helps people lower their rent. They speak English.
  • Tenant counsel by Die Linke
    The political party Die Linke offers free legal advice for tenants (Mieterberatung) and help clinics (Mietensprechstunde). The sessions are in different neighbourhoods.

If you get housing benefits, contact your local Sozialamt. They can help with apartment problems.

If you are an asylum seeker, contact the housing section of the Landesamt für Flüchtlingsangelegenheiten. Call +49 30 90225 1261 or write to Unterkuenfte@LAF.Berlin.de.

Don’t be afraid to defend your rights. Your landlord can’t kick you out or stop helping you because of it.

Medical questions

  • Lawyers
    Use my list of English-speaking lawyers in Berlin. If you have legal insurance can help you find a lawyer, and it might pay for it. Some legal insurances have a legal hotline.
    • Business and immigration lawyer hotline – 0900 1 5293 6611
      Use this number to ask quick legal questions. You will talk to Alexander von Engelhardt, a business and immigration lawyer in Berlin. It costs 2€ per minute.
  • Legaltech (Rechtsdienstleister)
    Legal services can help you with specific legal problems. For example, Conny specialises in tenant law. They can lower your rent and many other things. I reviewed them here. Usually, their services cost nothing if you lose. If you win, they keep a part of the money you get.

If you have a low income, you can apply for legal help (Beratungshilfe) at the local Amtsgericht.6 You will get a certificate (Beratungshilfeschein) that pays for your legal costs. If you get Bürgergeld or Sozialhilfe, or if you are an asylum seeker, you are eligible.7 You will probably need to speak German.

If you have legal insurance, it covers talking to a lawyer. They usually have a legal hotline that you can call for free.

Financial questions

Work questions

  • BEMA
    Free help for immigrants and asylum seekers. They speak English and many other languages.
  • BMAS Bürgertelefon
    Free help for immigrants and asylum seekers. They speak English and many other languages.
  • Your works council (Betriebsrat)
    If your company has a Betriebsrat, they can advise you for free. They work for you, not your employer.
  • Workers union (Gewerkschaft)
    If you are in a union, you can usually get free legal help, but only for work-related problems.5
  • Lawyer (Fachanwalt für Arbeitsrecht)
    Hire a lawyer who specialises in employment law (Arbeitsrecht). They cost around 200€ per hour. Use my list of English-speaking lawyers in Berlin. Your legal insurance might pay for it.

Don’t be afraid to use a lawyer. Your employer can’t fire you or blacklist you because you defend your rights. It will not affect your job search.8

Business questions

People who can help you

Helpful websites

Ask me

Write to contact@allaboutberlin.com. I can’t answer every question, but I can point you in the right direction. Please do some research first.

Sources and footnotes
  1. joinimagine.com 

  2. Finanztip, augsburger-allgemeine.de 

  3. Finanztip 

  4. augsburger-allgemeine.de 

  5. Finanztip 

  6. gesetze-im-internet.de 

  7. beratungshilfe-berlin.de 

  8. Rotwang Law (June 2023)