Changing accommodation? Or leaving Maastricht for good? This can be a tricky process, especially if you’ve never done it before, so here are the top seven things you should do before moving out!
Terminate your rental contract
Rental contracts have to be terminated by giving notice, meaning you have to send your landlord a formal letter informing them that you wish to terminate the rental agreement. You should notify your landlord that you’re leaving three months before your departure; the Huurteam Zuid-Limburg recommends that you do this through both a formal registered letter (in Dutch: aangetekende brief), as well as by email. Download a sample of a formal letter giving notice here, and find more information about terminating your rental contract here.
De-register from the municipality
Once your contract termination has been confirmed, you should de-register your address from the municipality. This is important because it will stop important letters and bills from arriving at your old address; and if it sounds like a good idea to ignore your fines / bills, it’s not! They will eventually reach you, and the amount you have to pay increases over time.
If you’re moving to a different accommodation within Maastricht (or within the Netherlands), you should let the municipality know about your new address as well (but only once you sign the new rental agreement). You can change your address online here.
Stop your subsidies
If you receive any financial help from the Dutch government (e.g. Huurtoeslag, Zorgtoeslag or student finance), you’ll have to inform them if you’re changing your address or leaving the Netherlands. If you’re simply moving to a different accommodation, this might affect your Huurtoeslag and you should definitely let the Dutch authorities know; if you continue receiving Huurtoeslag when you’re not supposed to, you’ll eventually have to pay the money back. If you’re moving away from the Netherlands, you’ll have to end all of your subsidies. Either way, you should always inform the Dutch authorities of a move, so that they can send any relevant letters to the right address. You can do this process online through mijn.toeslagen.nl.
Cancel or change the address of your Dutch bank account and any other administrative contracts
Do you receive letters from previous tenants at your current accommodation? This step is meant to ensure that the tenant that comes after you doesn’t have to deal with your letters after you leave!
First, if you opened a Dutch bank account for your stay in the Netherlands, you should inform the bank that you’re moving. If you’re staying in the Netherlands and want to keep the account, then they’ll need your new address; but if you’re moving to a different country, you may want to consider closing the account. Make sure you start these processes on time!
Also check for any other mailing subscriptions you may have; let them know of your move as well, so that the next tenant doesn’t have a pile of your letters accumulating in their post-box.
Other administrative contracts you may have to cancel could include those for utility bills; this is especially important if you leave your accommodation before receiving the bill for that month. Give them your new address so that they can reach you with any outstanding payments.
Cancel local subscriptions
Similar to the previous point, if you have any subscriptions to local gyms, clubs, magazines, Swapfiets, a mobile plan, or anything else, don’t forget to either unsubscribe or, if you wish to keep them, inform them of your new address. This will save you money and prevent unwanted letters from arriving at your old address.
Leave your accommodation in good condition and get back your deposit
Deposits can be tricky. In a city like Maastricht, where people often leave the country when they finish their studies, arranging to get back your deposit from abroad can turn sour if you’re not careful. Here are some tips for leaving an apartment in good condition, to ensure you get your money back!
Firstly, your original rental contract should contain information about your deposit, including when you can expect it to be transferred back to you. If the contract states that it will take anything over three months to return your deposit, be careful, as this is quite sketchy. If you have reason to believe you will not receive your deposit even though you should, contact the Huurteam Zuid-Limburg for legal advice.
Next, do your part; leave your accommodation in the condition it should be. Clean it properly and remove your personal belongings, including any furniture that is not being taken over/does not belong to the accommodation.
When your departure date is approaching, your landlord should reach out to you to set up a pre-inspection of the accommodation. This should happen around two weeks before you leave. After this inspection, the landlord will let you know if there are any changes or fixes that you should make to the room (e.g. re-painting a wall that got stained during your time as tenant). Ideally, you should make these changes before the final inspection, which will take place closer to your departure. The landlord will then draw up an inspection document.
Regardless of the inspections and meetings with your landlord, you should definitely take the time to get pictures showing the state of the accommodation; these will come in handy if there is any dispute about returning the deposit in the future, as you can prove that you left the room in adequate condition.
Finally, some additional small things: if the accommodation had a milieupas when you moved in, make sure to leave it behind in a place where the next tenant can easily find it. And if the next tenant is taking over any of your furniture, you may want to consider drawing up a simple contract stating what is being bought and for how much. Have the next tenant sign the contract to avoid future disputes.
Deal with your bike
If you’re leaving Maastricht, chances are you won’t be taking your bike with you. If this is the case, please don’t just leave it behind in your building, as this is very annoying for the other tenants. Instead, if your bike is in good condition, you can sell or donate it. Check out Kringloop, the Fietsbank, Marktplaats and Facebook groups, or you might even want to ask the next tenant if they are interested in buying it. If your bike is not in great condition, you can donate it to the Fietsbank, who’ll use it for parts. You can also throw away your bike at the milieuparken, but bear in mind that this will come with costs.
And you’re all set! If you’re moving on from the beautiful city of Maasstricht, we hate to see you go. We hope you take away great memories from a great place!