An Okay Guide to Moving Out of a Dormitory

A former dormitory Tutor shares his experiences and advice about moving out of the dorm

During my studies in Wuppertal and in Berlin, I lived in a dormitory by the studierendenWERK for most of the time. In Wuppertal, I spent two semesters in my room (not literally of course), and in Berlin I switched apartments at some point but in the same dormitory Sewanstrasse. This means that I’ve moved out of a dormitory apartment three times in total. Whew! I can still remember how exhausting it was. Not to scare you though! I’ve gathered some experience which I’d like to share with you. This, I hope, will help you and make your moving out process easier.

If you want to leave your apartment before your contract is due, you can contact the main office in your dormitory and ask them when the next possible date is for you to move out. But how often does this happen really? Don’t forget that you can also ask them to prolong your contract three months before its due! Now that sounds like a more likely scenario. J

A month before your move out date, the main office will contact you and start sending you information, either per email or post, which more or less contains the following. I mean, you can also read it yourself in the documents, but here it’s summarised in a few sentences by me, an experienced dormitory move-outer, so that you can be ahead of things.

During the last month of your stay in the dormitory, you will be required to clean the apartment (the common rooms like kitchen, bathroom, and hallway together with your flatmates!) and your room. At some point the caretaker will inspect the whole place – you will be notified about it of course – and give you a list with an overview of what needs to be taken care of before you leave. The most usual cases are cleaning (kind of obvious), clearing away furniture which was not originally in the room when you moved it, and painting the walls (or at least the “dirty” spots) white.

Here’s an advice how to clear away furniture from your room which you don’t want or need anymore. If you want to save yourself some work, offer your furniture for sale or for free in a Facebook or WhatsApp group in your dormitory – these are used by students to communicate about common issues and very often to sell or buy furniture. In most cases, depending on the size of the furniture piece, you can transport it together; it’s not so difficult if it’s in the same dormitory. Another option is to use websites such as eBay Kleinanzeigen – there you can offer your furniture and use an option self pickup. This will save you the trouble of having to transport it yourself. You can also give your furniture as Sperrmüll. Please google this for more information, I don’t know everything. Wish I did.

If you need to paint the walls in your room or apartment, then you can receive some white paint for free from the caretaker. Contact them in advance for an appointment. It’s easy to do AND you save some money from your deposit.

It’s also very important for you to make sure that you “return” the room in the exact same condition in which you received it. No missing furniture, no broken stuff, etc. Also, if you had gotten a special card for the laundry room, key for the gym, or anything else that was given to you by the main office/caretaker/SSV team, then return it in time so that you’re not charged an extra fee.

Apart from intern responsibilities regarding the moving out process, you’ll also have to take care of a few more tasks.

It’s very important that if you change your address in Berlin/Germany, then you need to share your new one with your bank, otherwise it might cause a problem in case they want to send you important documentation. This is quite obvious as well but such things can be easily forgotten. Make sure that you share your new address with everybody who might need to contact you.

If you’re an international and you’re leaving Berlin or Germany and if you have an open German bank account, then you’ll need to close it. Obviously. You can find online forms which you fill out and send per post; the address of the bank will be ideally added in the online form. You’ll also have to provide them with another bank account to which they can transfer the rest of your money. And then they’ll send you a confirmation of the closing. That’s it, done.

If you’re moving into another address in Berlin or into another city in Germany, then don’t forget to change your address at the respective Bürgeramt. Or if you’re leaving Germany, make sure to deregister your apartment.

The Rundfunkbeitrag is one of the biggest pains for students in Germany because everybody has to pay for it. If you meet the requirements though, you might be able to get a “free pass” – you can inform yourself about that on their website. There’s also information regarding leaving the city/country or moving somewhere else in Berlin.

More or less, that’s it. If I missed anything, sorry!

From personal experience, I can confirm that all of these steps are very annoying. But they are also important. The sooner you start taking care of them, the easier it will be for you. And most importantly, you will avoid having to pay for extra fees.

Remember, you pay a deposit before you move into a dormitory and the way you leave your room and apartment will be reflected into the amount of money you receive back. J

And don’t forget to say goodbye to your flatmates! Good luck!


Halil Gagam