Live-in help is certainly available, however it is quite rare in Berlin and the majority of people use a cleaner on a part-time basis. The best source of referrals are through friends and co-workers. However, you can also find postings at your local supermarket and in publications such as Zitty and Tipp (in German) and Exberliner (in English) and the online classified Craigslist http://berlin.en.craigslist.org/. When looking through the papers it is not uncommon to find maids offering sexual services as well. To avoid any unwelcome surprises, be sure to find someone advertising “kein sex” (no sex).
If you find someone outside of an agency, you need to ensure that everything is legal and above board as you may face a fine if the proper procedures are not followed. If your cleaner is not set up as a freelancer or business, he/she will be considered to be an employee. You are then required to pay a salary and health insurance. The standard rate is between €5 – €10 per hour.
The safest and most convenient way to employ a part-time housekeeper is through an agency. While you may pay a slightly higher rate per hour, you are guaranteed that your cleaner is being paid their health insurance and pension.
Some agencies that will be able to assist you include: