Moving House in Germany

The essential facts you need and things to be remembered when moving house (around the corner or across the country) in Germany...

Moving house always requires planning and preparation, but there are some specifics to remember when making a move in Germany. Here are some tips and points on all that must be done, and when.

Residence Permits

The local registration authority (Meldeamt or Meldestelle) must be informed of any change of address.

  • If moving within Germany contact the new local Meldeamt and register the change of address (ummelden). This will automatically cancel the existing police registration (polizeiliche Anmeldung) and record the new one

To register or de-register:

  • Go to the local Meldestelle and ask for an Abmeldungsformulare. To avoid having a long wait at the Meldestelle ask if it is possible for the forms to be completed and returned by post
  • In some cities forms can be completed online
    • To find out, select the appropriate town or city and download the Abmeldungsformulare: Click here (in German)

Rented Accommodation

Check the terms of the rental contract (Mietvertrag) for the required period of notice (Kuendigungsfrist) and inform the landlord in writing. If the tenancy is less than two years then the normal period of notice is three months. For between two and five years it is six months and over ten years requires a twelve-month notice period.

  • For more information on giving notice (Kuendigung): Click here (in German)

If the required notice period cannot be, or is not, adhered to, the landlord has the right to charge a fee (Weitervermietungsaufwand) to cover costs (such as advertising for a replacement tenant). However, most landlords will agree to waive this if a suitable new tenant (Nachmieter) can be found to take on the contract.

In order to ensure that the deposit (Kaution), usually between one and three months' rent, paid on the accommodation is returned in full (normally with interest accrued), the accommodation must be left in the same state as it was when it was first rented. This often means redecorating throughout or incurring a reduced deposit return.

  • For more information on local tenants' associations and legal rights: Click here (in German)

Cars and Vehicles

Car registration documents must be returned to the authorities (KFZ Zulassungstelle) with a proof of address so that the addresses can be changed.

The following documents are required:

  • The vehicle registration document and certificate (Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil l und ll, formerly known as the Fahrzeugbrief and the Fahrzeugschein)
  • Proof of vehicle roadworthiness (TÜV, DEKRA, GTÜ)

Post

Deutsche Post offers several options for forwarding mail depending on the duration and level of service required.

  • Requests for forwarding mail can be made online
    • Private individuals click on Nachsenderservice Privat, check the Umzug box
    • In the section Termin und Dauer where it says: Beginn der Nachsendung type in the date the post forwarding should begin
    • Under Dauer der Nachsendung choose either 6 or 12 months depending on how long the service is required
    • Zusatzleistung only applies within Germany to the forwarding of parcels and packages. On the second page enter details of the current (bisherige Adresse) and new address (neue Adresse)
  • For information on redirecting mail: Click here

Insurance

Check the terms of insurance contracts for the required notice period and inform the insurance company in writing. Some insurance policies can only be cancelled within a specified period.

Schools

Teaching staff and school authorities must be informed well in advance of the move so that they have enough time to prepare the necessary reports and transfer pupil records.

Bank and Subscriptions

Notify the bank of any change of address and remember to cancel or supply change of address details for any subscriptions services.

Further Information

  • See Ummelden.de (moving website in German) has links to many service companies offering an online service for those moving house that deal with the utilities, telephones and insurance and gives lots of general advice (Umzugsratgeber)
  • Umzug provides similar information: Click here (in German)