Shared living in Mehrgenerationenhaus

Shared living in multi Generation House

The intergenerational approach should make it possible, for example, for younger people to help older people. At the same time, however, younger people can benefit from the experience of older roommates. All residents of a multi-generational house thus help each other, regardless of their age and their origin. In the multi-generation house, not only family members have to live together.

Mehrgenerationenhaus as a house of encounter


In addition to the conventional definition of multi-generation houses, there is another approach. This state-supported form of the multi-generation house is more of a meeting place or a meeting place for people of different generations, regardless of social status or origin. These meeting places are supported by volunteers. At the end of this article you will find more about the federal program Mehrgenerationenhaus.


This is how a multi-generation house works as a shared flat

 This is how a multi-generation house works as a shared flat

If several generations live together under one roof, large apartments or generously designed houses are usually used for this purpose. Each resident or family and each couple has their own space for personal use. Other rooms such as kitchens, living rooms, hobby rooms or studios will be used together according to agreed rules.

In Germany, there are already many construction projects that were planned from the ground up as Mehrgenerationshaus. In the planning phase, interested parties meet and build a house that meets their wishes for a fulfilling intergenerational living together. Such houses can be realized by public or private developers.

Find projects on the Internet


On the Internet there are many different contact points to find open projects for multigenerational housing for community living. On the website of the association FORUM Gemeinschaftsliches Wohnen eV, for example, there are current, planned housing projects that are still looking for roommates.


Many life forms in a house possible

In a multigenerational house people of different ages can live together without being related. In addition, residential communities can be organized across generations that belong to a particular religious community or share a particular philosophy of life. Likewise, it is possible to conceive a multi-generation home within the family or to realize such a household only for women. The primary goal of living together is that each generation can benefit from the other.

Anyone who decides to live in a multi-generational house can join public projects or even create such a household. Since the term “multigenerational house” is not protected, there are no special rules for how such a house is managed or planned.

Alternative housing projects for living together

Multi-generational houses are only a variant of alternative housing projects. For example, ecologically engaged citizens often come together to form so-called “eco-settlements” within which the inhabitants commit themselves to a particularly ecological lifestyle.

In rural areas there are country communes. For this, mostly old farms are converted for a common life of different families. In Israel, for example, the kibbutz has been used for many years to create a communal life. Similar projects are also available here in Germany.

Distribution of multi-generational houses in Germany

There are no official figures about how many people live in a multi-generation house and how many of these houses actually exist. But in principle, it can be assumed that every major community has such houses. Due to an increasingly modern way of life, intergenerational living is no longer up to date. But especially in rural areas often grandparents, parents and children live under one roof, and have done so for many generations.

With our neighbors in Switzerland, living in the multi-generation house is even more common. There is already the network “Intergeneration”, in which prospective customers can inform themselves in detail about the possibility of multi-generation houses and join projects.

What are the advantages of a multi-generation house?

If several generations live together under one roof, each roommate can benefit from it. Possible advantages are:

  • Younger residents can help elderly people with shopping or at home.
  • Older roommates can assist parents with childcare.
  • Rarely is anyone alone.
  • Most multigenerational homes are well equipped.
  • There are various potential contact persons for problems.

Conflict potentials in living together

 Conflict potentials in living together

If several people live together under one roof, the danger of conflict increases as well. In a generation house, for example, disputes can arise because roommates complain about too little privacy because they have too few opportunities to retreat. In addition, unfulfilled expectations can lead to disputes between the residents. Finally, financial aspects are often a trigger for discrepancies.

The big advantage of the multi-generational house can ultimately become a big disadvantage. Because the larger the age difference between individual people, the greater the different views, opinions or ideas can be. It is therefore important that all residents agree on central rules and agreements before moving in and at regular intervals during their coexistence.

You should bring that with you if you want to live in a multigenerational house

Those who live together with several people from different generations should have an interest in resolving conflicts and be open to constructive criticism. In addition, there is always a need for a degree of willingness to compromise in the Community. Only in this way can the basic idea of mutual support and the heterogeneous living and household community function.

If you are thinking of moving to a multi-generational home, remember your time at home: what were your parents’ conflicts with your grandparents? When you are ready to experience similar beautiful and critical moments with others, you also have a greater chance of being able to live together in a multi-generational home.

Use funding opportunities


If you want to build a multi-generational house and finance it through mortgages, for example, you can benefit to a great extent from funding opportunities. For example, KfW supports the construction of barrier-free living space. Similarly, churches often promote the realization of family-friendly homes. It is also worth asking in municipalities for funding opportunities for the development of certain land areas.


Save taxes with the multi-generation house

 Save taxes with the multi-generation house

Those who use and plan a multi-generational home can benefit from tax savings. The so-called “rental model” comes into play here. The parents buy the property and rent part of the property to their grandparents. As a landlord, the parents then have the opportunity to tax various costs related to the purchase and maintenance of the property.

The items are deducted as “advertising costs” as part of the income tax return. Which includes:

  • Lending rates for the financing of rented housing for the grandparents
  • Operating costs for the rented residential unit
  • Renovation costs and costs for repairs in the rented apartment
  • Tax consultancy fee

In addition, up to 2.5 percent of the acquisition costs for the part of the property “leased” to the grandparents can be tax-deductible.

If the rental model is used, the parents must also tax the rental income. However, it is possible that the cost of income is higher than the actual income from the rent, so that the losses can be deducted directly from the taxable income. In this way, there is another opportunity to save taxes.

Please note the recommended rental amount


So that the tax office also accepts the leasing model, the rent must not be set so low that a deliberately caused loss can be assumed. It is recommended to demand almost 70 percent of the local rent. Another requirement for the rental model is a proper lease, which is concluded between parents and grandparents. Similarly, the rent should be transferred so that the entrance to the tax office remains comprehensible.


Federal program multigenerational house (as day meeting point)

 Federal program multigenerational house (as day meeting point)

The federal program Mehrgenerationenhaus is now running in the second version. It was initiated by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The aim of the program is to create central and open places where people of different backgrounds and generations can meet. The public spaces should provide space for joint activities and promote social interaction.

Almost every district and every city with its own multi-generation house

The multi-generation house II action program was launched in 2012. There are now more than 450 multi-generation houses throughout Germany participating in this program. The program is based on four major topics:

  1. Age and care
  2. Integration and education
  3. Offering and arranging household services
  4. Volunteering

In multi-generational homes, for example, older people receive help in carrying out daily work by younger people who volunteer there. There are also special offers for migrants or young people in many houses. On the one hand, the goal is that the visitors of the houses get involved themselves and thereby their self-confidence is strengthened. On the other hand, cooperation should improve social cohesion and the coexistence of generations.

The offers of the generation houses are adapted to the regional characteristics of the municipality or the district in which the houses are maintained.

What is available for financial support within the framework of the federal program?

Between 2012 and 2014, all existing 450 multi-generation houses in Germany were subsidized with 40,000 euros each year. The federal family ministry took over 30,000 euros and the respective municipality 10,000 euros. In the 2015 budget, the state once again provided 16 million euros for the promotion of multi-generational housing.