Moving House in Colombia

Essential tasks to carry out before moving house in Colombia, from letting relevant authorities know of your change of address to arranging mail forwarding…

Moving house always requires planning and preparation; here are some tips and points about what must be done when moving in Colombia. If renting property, take note of the rental notice period in the agreement made with the landlord - the notice period is usually three months.

Contact the building management office and/or the landlord at the new and old address, as moving can only take place between specific times, usually between 05:00 and 18:00. Care should be taken within the common areas of buildings or gated communities when handling heavy or large furniture, as any damages to community property will incur further costs.

Utilities

The procedure for transferring utility contracts when moving house depends on the specific contract, as well as on the company that provides the services.

It is common for utility contracts to stay in the property owner’s name when renting a home in Colombia, and a transfer to the tenant’s name is less frequent. If the utility bills were transferred to the tenant’s name upon arrival, they will need to be transferred back and all bills must be paid before transferring the contract to the new tenant’s name or the owner’s name. If necessary, the agency or landlord can provide guidance on cancelling or transferring contracts.

When selling or buying a home, the previous owner must transfer the utility contract to the name of the new owner, and the procedure varies from company to company. However, there are some common characteristics, in that the transfer can either be done by the person whose name is on the contract, or by the person who is taking over the contract. The documents generally required include:

  • Photocopy of the ID of the owner or previous owner of the property
  • Photocopy of the ID of the tenant or new owner of the property
  • Bank account number
  • Certificado de Tradición y Libertad: Certificate  to be obtained at the Notariado y Registro website (in Spanish) or from one of their offices, or at a CADEs or SuperCADEs if in Bogotá
    email
  • Form or letter requesting the change of name and transfer of contract

Telephone, Internet and TV providers

Services such as telephone, Internet and cable services are contracted directly by the tenant and the provider should be contacted well in advance of the moving date. Telephone, Internet and TV services are often provided by the same company and when moving home the contract is usually moved to the new address, although this will depend on the service provider, the technical installations in the new house or building and the reach of the service. The procedure when moving house depends on the company who holds the contract; however, notice by telephone or in writing at least one month in advance is usual. Contact the customer service line of the provider directly and ask for specific instructions.

Banks

Contact the bank, either in person or by telephone to inform them of the change of address.

Schools

In Colombia, school enrolment is not determined by residency, therefore moving house within the same city does not require a change of school for the child. However, it is recommended to contact the school, via telephone or in person to inform them of the new address and any other contact details that have changed, to facilitate communications between the school and the family.

If moving to a different region within Colombia, schools should be given a reasonable amount of notice of a child's departure; the process may vary from school to school. In general the school should be notified in writing, by telephone or in person. School should provide the latest results and a summary of the child's progress and up-to-date test results upon request.

Tax Authorities

The Colombian tax authorities should be advised of a change of address. This can be done at a local DIAN (Taxes and Customs) office. In general, proof of identity, bank account details and sometimes a copy of a utility bill is required.

Post

Mail forwarding is not common in Colombia, it is therefore advisable to contact all relevant parties of a change of address, and occasionally collect mail from the previous place of residence if possible.