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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

December 27, 2007

A moving experience (2)

Filed under Life in Europe

Moving into your new apartment in Germany is half the battle. Cleaning up the old apartment is the other half.

In most cases, when you move into an apartment in Germany, it is bare. No kitchen, no old apartment walk-in closets, not even light bulbs in most cases. You bring everything yourself. And when you move out, you take it all with you, too – unless the owner or the next tenant agrees to you leaving something behind. Rent contracts stipulate that you have to leave your apartment in the condition in which it was turned over to you. If it was newly renovated for the move-in, you have to renovate it when you leave. In our case our old apartment was not renovated when we moved in, so we did not have to renovate it. We just had to clean it. We returned the kitchen to its original state – a dripping pipe or two sticking out of the wall.

We also took down the lights and left the wiring in its original condition for the next tenant. old apartment Then the fun part started. The previous "tenant" was the German Worldwide Church of God office. Several singles ladies had lived in the apartment in succession, and at one point one of them decided to glue a rug or two to the linoleum floor. But not with something like wallpaper glue, which would have been fairly easy to get off the linoleum. Instead, some regular glue was used, which gave Monica and me fits for two days as we worked for hours to get all that glue off the floor. Since the owner did not check the condition of the apartment when we took over the contract in 1995, it fell our lot to clean the glue off the floor. Several days of scrubbing and cleaning did the job, though, and we were able to turn over the apartment in satisfactory condition, as verified by the administrator. Now the utility costs (heating, water) for 2007 have to be calculated, and then we should get a large portion of our $1300 security deposit back. At 13.5 years, this was the longest stretch I had lived anywhere in my entire life. Downsizing to a smaller apartment – with lower rent – was a good "move" for us.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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