Monday, September 10, 2012

Military Monday- Stairwell Housing in Germany

If you are moving to Germany you are probably aware of the fact that the majority of housing is "stairwell".  Of course there are some exceptions and some families are lucky enough to occupy brand new townhouses on post that include private yards and garages, but the vast majority of us are stuck in close quarter, stairwell housing.

Stairwell housing varies between 2 and 3 floors with 1 to 2 apartments on each floor.  What determines the number of apartments per stairwell is the size of each apartment.  Each building contains 2 to 3 stairwells.  In our stairwell, there are a total of 6 apartments (3 include 2 bedrooms, 3 include 3 bedrooms).  There are 2 stairwells in our building for a grand total of 12 apartments linked together.  This makes it even more essential for you to obtain renter's insurance as the apartments are essentially stacked on top of each other and one resident's fire or water pipe leak could easily effect your house.

If you are needing a larger 4 bedroom apartment look forward to the possibility of fewer neighbors.  As these larger apartments are sometimes known to have their own floor or to only have 2 levels.

Some bases include large basements in which storage units are incorporated.  It is a great addition considering the lack of garages and limited closet space. 

Each post has varying rules to determine whether you may or may not live on post.  At our particular post, ALL E-4 and below MUST live on post, in government housing.  You would think that with this rule, it means that all officers and the like would be required to live OFF-post, but that is not so.  At our post, it depends on availability of housing among other things. 

Also, I would like to mention that although some posts have beautiful brand new housing the chances of being put in that new housing is slim to none and you have very little, if any, say in where you get put.  Upon arriving at overcrowded posts they hardly ever even offer multiple choices in terms of houses for you to choose between.  My husband and I were offered a single apartment to look at an unless there was a substantial reason for us to turn down the housing, we were stuck with it.  Don't be naive and think that you will get the new housing, of course you can ask about it when you go see Housing upon arrival but there is such a limited availability that you shouldn't be surprised when they turn you down.
To give you a better idea of what stairwell housing, the Moving House for the Military Spouse facebook page has tons of pictures of the different posts and their housing.

Baumholder, Germany
Grafenwoehr, Germany
Stuttgart, Germany
Vilseck, Germany
Vogelweh, Germany
Wiesbaden, Germany 

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