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Housing in Austria
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Renting a Property

The rental market is well developed in Austria; you will find a broad range of offers from very old buildings with a lot of ‘character’ up to brand-new, very comfortable flats. Try to get a feeling for where you would like to live first. City centres are crowded and expensive. Outside the centres, housing is cheaper; you are closer to nature and may still be able to reach the city in a short time by using public transport. Apartment prices vary greatly depending on the area in the respective city. For example, in the outer districts of Vienna you will easily spot the difference and be able to guess the appropriate price range. Walk around and try to get an impression of what the area is like. Then check the public transport (Metro, Bus, Train) and how long it will take you to reach your workplace, university or points of interest.

Austria has a relatively expensive cost of living. It is cheaper than Switzerland or Nordic countries, but more expensive than Spain or Italy. In the countryside everything is cheaper, but it is more likely you will live and work in Vienna or one of the other larger cities.

There are wide variations in rental prices in different parts of the country, with Burgenland having the lowest in 2003 at €3.45 per square metre, while Vorarlberg had the highest rents at this time at €5.88 per square metre. Monthly rents for unfurnished apartments in major cities range between €550 and €2,500 upwards for a two-bedroom apartment, excluding utilities costs.

As a single person you should calculate around €1400 as a monthly budget to have a comfortable life. Apartment prices start at around €400 per month for rent, excluding utilities.

Rental Contract

Once you have your apartment, you are legally well protected and your landlord will not be able to easily kick you out. You would not believe it, but if you do not have a rental contract, the situation is even better for you. Therefore, landlords carefully select potential candidates, and you better try to appear as a trustworthy person with sufficient financial power to pay your rent on time.

When you get accepted and have the rental contract on hand, get it checked by an Austrian friend who knows about the issues, or contact the appropriate institution called Mietervereinigung at www.mietervereinigung.at

For a small annual fee you get full support and consultation in all legal aspects concerning your rental contract.

A deposit in the range of one to three monthly rents is standard in Austria.

For getting large, mainly older apartments, landlords sometimes will ask you to pay an Abfindung – this is a one-time payment and it is generally not legal. One-time compensations can only be claimed for respective value added to the apartment, e.g. when new furniture has been added. If you pay such a fee, make sure that your payment is well documented. In case you find out that it was not appropriate, you may be able to claim it back. However, especially in Vienna, people sometimes prefer to pay the Abfindung in order to get a large apartment for a small monthly rent.

Period and Termination of Contract

There are three types of tenancy agreement:

  • Short-term contract up to six months: Unregulated as to rental, it is usually used for holiday lets.
  • Contract limited to a specified number of years (befristet): Introduced in 2001, landlord and tenant agree to a specific contract period, which must be at least three years. Precise contract terms are stated, e.g., periodicity of rental hikes and percentage thereof, details of the notice to quit on both sides (which must be at least three months), deposit details (usually 2-3 months in advance).
  • Unlimited contract (unbefristet): A type of contract used before 2001, and still surviving in many old tenancies, is designed to give the tenant security of tenure. Few details were spelt out in the tenancy agreement, although the amount of the deposit needed to be stated in the contract, and did not accumulate interest. The tenant had an unlimited tenancy.
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