Checklist for moving
tips and tricks when moving to a new apartment
So you’ve given notice on your old apartment, and rented or purchased a new one. If not before, this is the point where you realise that you are going to be moving in the near future. You need to plan in advance to avoid it all ending in chaos. It isn’t completely straightforward to avoid forgetting anything, and keep everything under control. Our checklist when moving will help you to make everything about your move happen without a problem.
Do you do it yourself, or get a removals firm?
First of all you need to decide whether you want to manage the move on your own (perhaps with the help of friends), or whether it would make more sense to get hold of a professional removals company. Here you need to bear the following three aspects in mind:
- How much stuff do you have to move?
- How great is the distance between the old and the new property?
- What is the size of the budget that you have available for the move?
The more stuff you have to shift, the more reason there is to call on the services of a removals company. But even a long distance between the old and the new location may be an argument in favour of resorting to professional help – for example, if you are moving from Munich to a freehold apartment in Berlin. Compare the costs of different companies, and ask them to give you a quotation. To do this, the removals company will inspect your old apartment in order to see how big the move is and plan accordingly. You should agree on a date for the move at an early stage, so that you can get things to happen at the most convenient time for you.If you decide to manage the move yourself, you should still take steps at an early stage to ensure that you have sufficient support, and let your friends and acquaintances know. If you need additional help, you can always put a small ad in the local paper, or see if you can find somebody to organise student helpers for you in your local area. A company of this kind in Berlin is Berliner Heinzelmännchen, for example.
You need to be aware that in a case of damage occurring, the liability cover of your private removals assistants will only be effective if these ‘damages incurred in the course of good offices’ [Gefälligkeitsschäden, to give the German technical term] are also insured. Removals firms will generally have liability insurance in place, based on statutory requirements, amounting to 620 euros for each cubic metre of goods moved. But you should definitely check the general terms and conditions of business of the company in question, and see whether there are any exclusions of liability, for instance in connection with electrical equipment.
Register or re-register as appropriate
So the move has taken place, your furniture and boxes are all unpacked in your new freehold apartment. And what happens next? Once you have moved, it is not enough just to notify your friends and acquaintances of your new address. Government offices, utilities and other service providers also need to be informed. So in the second part of our checklist for moving, we will remind you of things you must not on any account forget about in connection with the move:
- Residents’ registration office: you must register within two weeks of the move at the residents’ registration office of the new place where you are living. The office where you register will notify the office at your old place of residence that you have moved. If you are not moving to a new locality, you can simply amend your registration. You can register or amend your registration with any Citizens’ Registration Office [Bürgeramt] in Berlin. To save time, you can make an appointment online. The closest Citizens’ Registration Office to where you are may be found here.
- Tax office: when you move to a new locality, you should notify the responsible tax office in writing, quoting your tax reference. The tax office in Berlin responsible for you may be found here. If you are moving to a different part of the same locality, you do not need to do this, as the tax office will learn your new address from your next tax declaration.
- Employment Agency: if you need to call on the services of the Federal Employment Agency [Bundesagentur für Arbeit], it is important that you notify them of your change of address a week before the move.
- Electricity, gas and water companies: give your meter readings to the old and new supply companies. With many suppliers today, you can do this by filling in a form on the website.
- Post: Arrange in good time to have your mail forwarded. The post office recommends that you do this two or three weeks before the move – certainly at least five days in advance. You can easily submit the application from home – just click on the post office website.
- Vehicle licensing authority: in order to register your car in the new locality, you will need the old licence plate number, confirmation of your registration with the Residents’ Registration Office, your personal identity papers, the vehicle registration and vehicle ownership documents, the roadworthiness inspection and emission inspection reports and a note of confirmation from your insurance company. Armed with these documents, you can then re-register the vehicle with the registration authority responsible for your new place of residence. In Berlin there are 2 vehicle registration authorities. The most convenient for you may be found here.
- School / kindergarten: you should think in good time about registering your children with a new school or kindergarten. Find out about the school system of the German federal state you are moving to. Information about the Berlin school system may be found here.
- GEZ: you are also obliged to notify GEZ – the Gebühreneinzugszentrale [Radio / Television Licence Fee Collection Authority] – of your change of address. You can do this either in writing, by telephone, or on the GEZ website www.gez.de.
- Telephone and internet: to avoid being cut off from the outside world after you move, you should let your telephone company and internet service provider know about your change of residence in good time. You may also need to notify your provider of mobile phone services.
- Financial institutes: banks and building societies must also be notified of your change of address. Many such institutes offer a ‘removals service’‚ which will take the administrative load off your shoulders.
- Insurance: notify your health insurance provider and any other insurance companies of your new address. Think also of making the necessary changes to your house and property insurance, life insurance, car insurance, third party liability insurance, private health insurance and personal accident insurance cover.
- Daily papers, journals and catalogues: in order to continue having your daily paper delivered to your new residence, again you should let the paper know your new address. The same of course applies to any journals to which you subscribe and to catalogues you receive from mail order companies.
- Associations: notify any clubs and associations you belong to of your new address. Cancel your membership in good time if appropriate.
- Pets: based on the Dog Tax Ordinance, dog tax is levied by the locality where the dog owner has his or her principal residence. So when you move, you must take care to re-register your dog. In Berlin, your four-legged friend needs to be registered here.
Efficient preparation pays off
As is so often the case, moving house too goes more smoothly when you have planned everything carefully. Effective planning can take a lot of stress off your shoulders on the actual day of the move, and ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. In order to avoid working against the clock, the most important thing is to make an early start with planning your move.
- In order to avoid any problems with the date of the move, apply in good time for leave if necessary. Agree a definite date with the removals company, or rent a furniture van, so that everything can happen without difficulty at the most convenient time for you.
- Declutter your old apartment, and decide at an early stage what furniture you want to take with you. If you need any furnishings for the new apartment, like a new kitchen for instance, purchase them in good time.
- Make sure you have got all the packaging materials and tools that you need, so that you don’t find yourself in short supply on the day of the move.
- Don’t put off packing until the last day before the move – pack the things you don’t need on a daily basis about a week before the removal date.
- Pack your boxes as intelligently as possible. For example, be conscious of the weight of the boxes. You don’t want them to weigh a ton.
- Give you friends and helpers plenty of advance notice. Remind them of the removal date once again a week ahead of time.
- On the day of the move you should have refreshments available for all the helpers involved. If you are relying on a removals firm, remember to have some loose change available for tips.
Have you remembered everything? Then there’s nothing to stop you having a successful moving!