So I recently moved house and it was a nightmare so I decided to share all the tips for moving out of your apartment. There are also some useful tips if you are just changing address.
1. You must give a quit notice to the landlord (Kundigung)
This is a big must. Most landlords or property management company require at least 2 to 3 months' notice before you leave. It will be in your contract you signed when you moved in. Almost all the time you are required to do this in writing. If you don't and just move out you are still contractually obligated to pay the rent for that notice period.
It is also really important that Landlord or the representative can inspect the property and clarify what needs to be done to get your security deposit (Kaution) back.
Find a sample kundigung letter here
2. Clean the apartment and restore it to factory setting
You are required to give the apartment a thorough cleaning or the landlord would have this done and deduct it from your security deposit.
You also need to restore the apartment to exactly how it was when you first got it. So that may entail removing the flooring ie laminate, ripping out the kitchen, removing wall paper if there were none. Or repainting the wall paper to the original colour etc it is a lot of work but for the sake of getting back your security deposit it is wise to do so.
3. Notice to Utility providers and Sorting out final bills
You have to let your Utility providers ie electricity, or water providers know that you are leaving the apartment.. Find a sample letter for change of address here
You should take meter readings and provide these to the respective companies. Also inform the telephone, Internet providers etc. that you are terminating the contracts and settle any remaining balances. It is advisable to contact companies at least one month before your leaving date.
Bear in mind that if you are tied into a contract you may have to continue paying for the remainder of this.
Confirm the condition of the apartment at the time of leaving, in consultation with the inventory and the list of defects that you agreed with the landlord or property management agent when you moved in.
I would advise that you take a picture of your apartment when you first move in. I learnt this the hard way.
5. Redirect your mail
The German Post Office can forward your mail for 6,12 or even 24 months in case of relocation and even an extension of this order is possible. This is called Nachsenderservice and it ranges from 19,90 € to 35 depending on the period.
This is very important incase post comes to the apartment after you have left. and the great thing about it is that you can do this online! Here is the link
6. Keep your bank account open
This will allow you to receive your deposit from the landlord or property company, although some letting companies may be able to arrange an international bank transfer. Keeping your bank account open is also advisable in case there are any remaining utility bills to settle. You can then ask your bank to close the account on a certain date after your departure. When doing this it is sensible to provide them with a contact address and your new banking information.
If you have lived in your municipality for more than 3 months you will originally have registered (Anmeldung) with the residence bureau (Einwohnermeldeamt). Upon leaving if you are exiting Germany you will need to deregister (Abmeldung). However, this is not necessary if you are staying in the country as the authorities in your new municipality will advise their counterparts of your arrival
.8. Turn off everything
Make sure that all appliances have been switched off and plugged out, including gas, fridge and freezer.
9. Return the key
Give this back to the landlord or the property management company.
10. Ensure your deposit is returned.
Your deposit will have been held in a third party account for the duration of your tenancy. The amount (normally 2 – 3 times your rent) will be refunded to you minus any deductions to make good any damage caused by you due to negligence, improper heating or ventilation during your stay. Then you’re done!