I’ll soon return to Europe and want my deposit back. What do I do?

It goes without saying that when you’re leaving China (or at least your Beijing apartment) you’ll have to handover your keys to the landlord. Always inform your landlord in advance of the date you leave so that he/she can plan the handover. By the time of check-out all open debts need to be settled (ask for receipts), i.e. utilities. If utilities are handled by the landlord, these will be deducted from your rent deposit.
Please bear in mind that it is also in your own interest to inform the landlord a good time in advance, as the deposit will be given back to you in cash and its not so easy to spend x-thousand RMB on your way to the airport. It is possible to change RMB to US Dollars at any larger bank with a maximum individual rate of 500 US$ per day. In this case, bring your passport with you!
Also keep in mind that when you move out earlier than your flat-mate(s), that the landlord might want to keep the deposit until the last one of the tenants (who co-signed the rent lease together) moves out. In this case you have to make arrangements so that your flat mate(s) transfer your share of the deposit to you.    


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