First some background: I am an Indian and I am studying in Germany. I live in a student dorm. The first time I moved into the dorm I received a letter saying I have to pay the ARD ZDF contribution of 17.50 euros. Since my neighbour (a German resident) and I share a common entrance it was possible for me to simply give his number and share the payment with him. Now my neighbour left under some emergency conditions and a new person came in his place.

Now the question: My new neighbour and I both did not receive another letter from them asking for a contribution and neither of us has paid anything so far. I believe that my previous neighbour has forgotten to change his address or something like that. I have no way of contacting him since his disappearance was sort of mysterious. I would have expected them to send a letter to either of us to ask for the contribution after he left.

I have also lost the only letter they sent me (the first letter you get after registration at the Rathaus) which has the number on it. I am leaving Germany and returning to India permanently. I want to know how to take care of the deregistration so that they have nothing to trouble me with later on.

EDIT: Is there a way I can get my Beitragsnummer so that I can go through their website and cancel it?

2 Answers 2


I'm also an expat in Germany, but during last 2 years in this country I got some experience with Der Rundfunkbeitrag.

After changing the flat or changing the flatmates it is your obligation (or your flatmates) to contact the appropriate office of ARD/ZDF/Deutschlandradio.

So putting this simply- your old flatmate should have handled this. If he didn't then you need to contact the appropriate office yourself and explain them the situation.

If you're leaving the country permanently then you need to report that and do the check-out (Abmeldung). You can send the confirmation of "not having permanent place to stay" to Rundfunkbeitrag and they will release you from paying.

I'm not sure though what about the period from the moment you stopped paying (your flatmate/neighbour left the apartment) until leaving germany permanently. It is possible that you will have to pay for it.

Edit question:
I got my number after my friend that speaks german (I didn't by that time) called them and they have send it to my by mail, but if you don't live in Germany anymore than this is not possible.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, it is not a legal advice and so on..


Der Rundfunkbeitrag is based on the flat and the main resident of the flat. The other residents do not need to register or when asked, give the number of the main resident.

When that resident moved, they probably reported their new address and continued the payment.

At this point you should have registered yourself as the new main resident. If you did not and they find out, through the registry office, you will have to pay everythig since the last payment.

So get out while you can.

When you deregister from that flat, the likelihood of them learning about you is slime, since they only recieve lists of current residents. How often they check the registry is unkown.

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