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Moving house? Start planning now

Many families relocate within the country. It pays to think ahead

Moving home is a big upheaval at the best of times, but the right know-how and forward planning will help. Getting ready should start months beforehand to make sure everything goes without a hitch. Some of the first things to consider are:

Removals: Look in the pages jaunes (or under déménagement for removals firms and ask for quotes. Connexion’s Directory also contains details of English-speaking removals firms, many of which make regular trips between the UK and France. If your removal needs are simple, consider hiring a van.

If you own a flat, ask your syndic for an arrêté de comptes, a break-down of outstanding fees related to the common areas. If you rent, give notice to your landlord by recorded-delivery letter in the period stated in your contract and agree with on the departure date. He or she will want to check the property and will arrange return of the deposit (less anything for damage).

If you have children, make sure they are registered to start in new schools and that you look into childcare provision.

About a week before you leave, arrange for La Poste to redirect mail. Réexpédition définitive nationale is €23 for six months (renewable at the same price) or €41 for 12. The international version is €55 for six months or €100 for a year. You will need to show identity documents (ie. a passport) for each person who will need mail redirecting, and each will also need to be mentioned on the application and to sign it.

Inform banks of your move and find out where your new branches will be.

Cancelling subscriptions: talk to customer services departments to find out the firm/body’s procedures and let them know if you want to cancel outright or if you will be transferring.

Utilities: inform your gas or electricity supplier of your moving date, so they can take final readings. Contact the branches where you will be moving to ensure connection. The same goes for water if you have an individual contract for this.

Landline and mobile telephone and internet: ask about services to put a message on your old landline informing callers of your move (France Télécom offers it free for two months) and/or check if you can take your old number with you (for France Telecom this is only possible if you are moving to somewhere in the same locality).

Other people to inform include: your car, health and home insurers, your employer, the tax office, the Caf (family allowance office), the Cpam (state health body) the Pôle Emploi if you claim unemployment benefit, the national service office (for people aged 16-25) and retirement pension bodies.

NOTE: You can save time by creating an account on government site and then visiting which allows you to inform many official bodies in one go.

After moving, contact the prefecture to change your address on your car’s carte grise (within a month) and on your driving licence (if you have a French one). Consider signing on your new mairie’s electoral register before December 31 if local or European elections are coming up (or others, if you are French).

TIP: If you have three children or more, ask for a bonus from the Caf called prime de déménagement. Also some towns and departments have schemes to help new arrivals financially and some allow free parking for 15 days.

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