In Germany, given the ownership of similarly subsidized and controlled properties by housing associations and private landlords, a watertight distinction between private and public rented housing is impossible. There are estimates of privately owned rented housing but some of this housing is more like social housing given the conditions under which it has been supplied. Some sources relating to West Germany define the 'private rented sector' as:

1. Rented stock built before 1948. 2. Non-social housing built since 1948.