Certainly, you have concluded contracts during your stay in Germany which have to be cancelled before you return to your home country. The following topics should be an orientation on what needs to be done.
Cancel your rental contract in due time. Termination always requires a written letter. Normally, the period of notice is three months. If you want to leave earlier or you cancel a temporary rental contract before it expires, you have to find a new tenant which must be accepted by the landlord.
Come to an agreement with your landlord regarding the refurbishment of your flat. Normally, the refurbishment includes wall painting and wallpapering. Have the refurbishments you carried out taken down in a handover form, so the landlord confirms them and you will get your full security deposit back.
Basements, garages, and grounds have to be cleared out. Ask the municipality about the next date for bulky waste or order a transport yourself (www.bsr.de).
In case you cannot take all your furniture with you when moving, there might be a possibility that your landlord or next tenant take over your furniture for a reasonable price.
In case you have paid a security deposit, manage the repayment with your landlord. He/she has to pay back the deposit including interest but will generally only do so after a final check of the empty flat together with you.
If utilities were not included in your rent and you concluded separate contracts with the respective companies (in Berlin predominantly Vattenfall), you have to remember to cancel them. For electricity, gas, heating, and water, you read the meters on the last day of rent and forward the numbers to the companies. The meters are either situated in the flat or in the basement. Please also write the numbers down for yourself.
Radio / Television / Cable TV
Giving the Gebühreneinzugszentrale (GEZ) notice is only possible in written form. Forms can be downloaded at www.gez.de/online_service/abmelden/index_ger.html.
If cable TV, telephone, and internet were not included in the additional expenses, you have to cancel your contract with the respective companies as well.
You should not forget to cancel your landline. For termination, please consider the terms and conditions of your provider. You might need to present a proof that you are actually leaving the country before they let you cancel. The registration office of Freie Universität will hand out such a document when you give them notice of departure.
In your letter, state all personal data (name, your customer number, etc.). It is best to send it via registered mail, so you can prove that you sent the letter in time.
If your contract is set up for a limited period of time (24 or 12 months) and the expiry date coincides with your departure, you still have to cancel the contract at least three months before the expiry date, otherwise the contract is automatically extended to another twelve months. In case that no period of notice exists, the processing of cancellation takes six to eight days.
Your last telephone bill will be sent to the address stated on your written notice. It will not be mailed abroad though. Therefore, it is advisable to state an address of an acquaintance in Germany, who then forwards the last telephone bill abroad to you.
If you use a mail forwarding service (see below), you can state your old address when cancelling.
Normally, contracts with cell phone providers run 24 months and will automatically be extended to another 12 months if you do not cancel the contract three months in advance. Therefore, it is recommended to cancel the contract way in advance, so that you do not miss the period of notice. Cancellations can be revoked if necessary.
Again, please state all personal data (address, mobile phone number, and customer number) in your written notice and send it by registered mail. Only in this case, can you be sure that the cancellation will be processed.
If you are returning to your home country, you have the option to have your letters forwarded to your new address for a certain period of time. The forwarding service lasts for six (€ 15.20) or twelve months (€ 25.20) and can be ordered at all post offices or online: www.efiliale.de/nachsendeservice.
You have to pay the difference between the postage within Germany (e.g. for standard letter in Germany = € 0.55) and the postage to your home country (e.g. for standard letter world = € 1.70 difference to pay = € 1.15) when the letters arrive. Parcels will not be forwarded by the Deutsche Post.
You should not forget to close your account. There is no period of notice, you simply visit your local branch to notify your bank. Yet, it is recommended to keep the German bank account for about six months after you leave until all final payments like the security deposit refund are made.
The banks have special forms where you can enter a date when the account is to be closed and to which account the remaining money is to be transferred (i.e. the account in your home country).
The following documents have to be brought along when you go to the branch:
Direct debit authorizations have to be changed or cancelled at the responsible institutions like your insurance. Standing orders will be cancelled by the banks themselves.
Either you have internet banking and might be able to close your account from home after your last payments. The other option is to take the cancellation form (do not forget to pick up the form while still in Germany!) home with you and submit the completed form later. Do not forget to state to which account remaining money should be transferred.
Periods of notice have to be considered if you intend to terminate your insurances. In general, the period of notice is 3 months before the end of the insurance period.
An extraordinary termination of the insurance contract is possible if you can provide evidence that you leave Germany permanently. This has to be supported by an official document.
The cancellation requires the written form which should be mailed per registered mail.