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Moving House in Turkey

Ken Grubb

A moving truck moves furniture from one house to another.Moving from one house to another requires some planning and coordination, from terminating your rental contract and disconnecting the utilities, to moving your furniture, to registering at the foreigner's office at your new place of residence.

Before You Move

Notify Your Landlord

Long-term rental contracts are typically issued for one year. They automatically renew unless you notify the landlord no less than 15 days before the expiration date of the contract. You must do this in writing. Have the letter translated into Turkish by a qualified translator and make a copy. Both you and the landlord should sign both copies. Keep one copy as proof of notification.

Landlord's Inspection

The landlord will likely want to inspect the property for damages. If there are none, you should get your deposit back within one week. Unfortunately, many landlords will find any excuse to keep your deposit. If you gave your landlord a cash deposit, in hand, this may be a problem. But according to the Turkish Code of Obligations, the proper way to handle a deposit is to put it in a time deposit account with both you and your landlord present. Neither of you can withdraw the money until the end of the contract. After three months of contract expiration, you can withdraw the money without condition, unless the landlord notifies the bank that a lawsuit has been filed for damages.

Dis-enroll Your Children from School

Contact your child's school as early as possible and let them know that your child will be leaving. They will prepare any necessary documents for his or her new school. Take those documents to the new school, along with proof of your new address, and fill out the new enrollment form.

Disconnect the Utilities

For electricity, gas, and water, Go do the local utility company office within three days of your move with your residence permit, the meter readings, and your customer number and they will disconnect it on the date you specify. Water services are provided by the municipality, so their office will be within the belediye, or municipality building. For the water service, your deposit will also be refunded.

Disconnect the Telephone

Go to the local Türk Telekom office within three days of your move with your identification and telephone number. They will disconnect your telephone service on the date you specify. Any use of the telephone, as well as a disconnect fee, will be added to your final bill.

Update Your Insurance Policy

Contact your insurance company in advance of your move, to make sure your policy remains valid. Some types of insurance policies, like home and car insurance, may need to have the premiums re-calculated based on your new circumstances and surroundings.

Forward Your Mail

Unfortunately, PTT, the Turkish post office, has no mail forwarding services. You will have to have a friend or neighbor pick up any mail which arrives after your departure and forward it to you, or return and pick it up yourself.

Moving Your Furniture and Household Goods

Get a Professional Moving Company to Move You

Get a few estimates from various companies on the cost of your move. The routine is the same for all of them. While performing the estimate, a manager will visit your house with a clipboard and walk around your house asking questions and taking notes. When he's finished, he'll quote a ridiculously high price. You will be shocked, and you should be. Express astonishment, refuse immediately, and thank him for his time. He will tell you about how great his company is and how they will individually wrap each item with loving care, and how you will not have to lift a finger during the moving process. Don't budge. Say that there is no way you can or will pay that much. This will result on an instant 20-25% discount, owing to the fact that he likes people of your nationality and has a relative living in your country.

Refuse the second price, too. Say that, while you would like to employ his company, the price is still too high. Go on with the haggling until he contacts someone at the office, probably by going outside and talking on his mobile phone, or going to the office and calling you back. The price he will give you then will be best price. You can either take this price, or find another alternative, like getting a few Turkish guys to move you.

Professional moving companies can be well worth the price, since they take most, if not all, of the headaches away. If you live on an upper floor apartment, their furniture elevator can be attached to your balcony, and used to raise and lower your furniture.

Get a Friend with a Truck to Move You

Turkey is famous for its informal networks. Just about anything you need, you can get, by just asking around. Eventually you will find someone who can do what you need done or knows someone who can do it. If someone like this moves you, there are some things you should know about.

What you'll typically get is a man who owns a big truck, who knows other men who will work cheaply. Before the final agreement, verify the following:

  • The size of the truck, since they may give you an overly-optimistic opinion that everything will fit. When money is involved, Turks may volunteer to do things which are actually beyond their capabilities.
  • That they have the proper straps to secure the load.
  • The number of workers, since they will have to move heavy objects, like your refrigerator, possibly down several flights of stairs.
  • That you can use the elevator. Some apartment complexes prohibit the use of the passenger elevator for moving furniture. Typically the kapıcı (building superintendent), will turn blind eye to this, but if the movers have to use the stairs, they will charge more, and rightly so.
  • That tips will not be included. Tell your Turkish friend to make sure the workers know this, otherwise they will shake you down for tips later (see below).

They will probably not bring packing materials or padding to protect objects like mirrors or the screen of your television set, so you will need to plan for time to find boxes and padding, buy packing tape, and pack everything yourself.

The price will be far lower than any moving company, probably in the neighborhood of five or six hundred Turkish Lira for a two-bedroom apartment. It is customary that you buy lunch and provide drinks for the workers. You can call a local restaurant and have lunch delivered when they take their lunch break.

Paying the Movers

Never pay in advance. Pay only when the job is completed. You should have made it clear that the price included everything, without tips. But since they will never see you again and have nothing to lose, the workers will try to shake you down for tips anyway. You are likely to be tired and mentally exhausted, simply wanting to get the whole ordeal over with, and they are likely to be persistent. So have only the exact amount of cash on you that you agreed to pay, and no more.

Report Your Address Change

You must report your change of address within 20 business days of your move, or pay a fine:

For All Moves

Take your passport, residence permit, and a copy or your rental contract or tapu (property title deed) to the local Nüfus ve Vatandaşlık İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü (Population and Citizenship General Directorate, or nüfus). After they enter your new address into their system, the clerk will give you a Yerleşim Yeri ve Diğer Adres Belgesi (Place of Residence and Other Addresses Document) showing your new address.

For Province-to-province Moves

If you move from one province to another, besides registering your new address with the nüfus, you also need to go to the local immigration office. Take your passport, current residence permit, rental contract or tapu, and the address registration form you got from the nüfus, and apply for a new residence permit card.

Change Your Tax Address

Send your change of address, in writing, to the local Revenue Administration Office. Or, you can change your address online. See the "External Links" section for a link to the change of address form.

See Also

Reporting Your Address and Changes of Address
Moving In or To Turkey Forum: We have an entire forum devoted to moving to, or within Turkey. If you have questions about that topic, please ask them in the forum.

Ken Grubb, author.

As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He now lives in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.


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