• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Top six things to know about renting in Austria

Staff reporter · 11 May 2014, 00:04

Published: 11 May 2014 00:04 GMT+02:00

1. A rental agreement in Austria is for a minimum of three years, if your apartment is under the jurisdiction of the 'Mietrechtsgesetz' (MRG - Austrian tenancy law). Yes, three years. So think twice if you're coming here for a good time, not a long time.

If so, perhaps search for a room in an established flat - newspapers Der Standard and Kurier have listings online, as do www.jobwohnen.at and www.airbnb.com.

In Austria, it is perfectly legal for a tenant to sublet their room, as long as the number of occupants in the apartment does not exceed that stated in the contract. (Your landlord may not like it, but the law overrides them. Prosit.) 

The three-year rental contract is mainly to safeguard the tenant, not to protect the interests of the landlord. For example, landlords cannot put the rent up whenever they choose (instead it increases every 12 months, indexed to inflation) and after one year a tenant may leave at any time, giving three months' notice.

2. Apartments are almost always rented empty in Austria; you must fill it with your own stuff. By law, an apartment must include functioning central heating, hot water, a kitchen sink, stove top and a shower/toilet, unless you've chosen to live in an extremely old, rundown 'category C' apartment, with shared bathroom facilities. In which case you are getting it SUPER cheap, so stop your whinging and find a friend with a Jacuzzi. Rubber ducky, you're the one...

3. Most landlords will require you to take out Contents Insurance. This is available as a standard product from insurance companies and your premium will depend on the size of your apartment and the number of Rembrandts, Chagalls and bottles of 1951 Penfolds Grange Hermitage you have tucked away.

4. In Austria, your rental bond/deposit (Kaution) is usually 3 months' rent (and can be up to 6 months' rent if the apartment is super swish, furnished, etc). Ouch. Quite a hefty chunk. However if you're under the Mietrechtsgesetz, you are then sitting on some pretty tight tenant protection laws, so all in all, worth the initial financial pain.

Story continues below…

5. Your estate agent may do next to nothing for their fee. They will show you a property, but the moment you indicate your intention to rent it, they will disappear in a cloud of smoke, invoicing you for one months' rent along the way (and up to two months' rent if your contract is for longer than three years). Cushiest job in the universe. If there are initial repairs required, don't bother talking to the agent, discuss it directly with the landlord before you sign the contract.

6. If your agreement comes under the jurisdiction of the Austrian Tenancy Law (you should really check this) it takes precedence over any rental contract. It includes rules that regulate the maximum rent that can be charged on a property and limit the length of tenancy agreements. So no matter what crazy stipulations your landlord may have slipped into your contract before you signed, if it is outside the law, it does not stand. Pretty good, huh. Break out the Penfolds.

Staff reporter (news@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Tenants in Vienna may be overpaying rent by €8 million
Wohnservice Wien

Tenants in Vienna are paying around €8 million too much for their homes, according to an organisation that monitors rent in the city.

Fireman dies in Austria on flooding call out
Photo: ORF screengrab

A fireman has died in Austria while out on an emergency call battling the fallout from severe storms in the Tyrol region over the weekend.

Batman takes on 'corrupt bureaucrats' in Austrian town
Michielverbeek/Wikimedia/Facebook

Residents of a small Austrian town get their own local superhero after 'Batman' announces his arrival to mayor.

Freedom Party claims election fraud rife
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: FPÖ

Austria's far-right is probing "countless" cases of fraud in last week's presidential election that saw its candidate lose by a narrow margin, the party chief was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Neo-Nazi arrested after asylum-seeker threats
Photo: BMI, Gregor Wenda

Austrian police commandos have arrested a suspected neo-Nazi who allegedly threatened to massacre asylum-seekers, recovering several weapons and ammunition at his home, police said Sunday.

Storms batter Upper and Lower Austria overnight
Photo: Fire brigade Bad Ischl

Violent storms in parts of Austria on Saturday night caused travel disruptions, flooding and several fires lit by lightning strikes, according to fire and rescue teams in Upper and Lower Austria.

Fresh attempt to seize Hitler's birth house
Austria's government submitted Friday a law to seize the house where Hitler was born, in a bid to stop the building becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Austria's government submitted Friday a law to seize the house where Hitler was born, in a bid to stop the building becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Murder-suicide in Braunau am Inn, birthplace of Hitler
Photo: Stadtamt Braunau am Inn

A small Upper Austrian town best known for being the birthplace of Adolf Hitler has apparently witnessed a murder-suicide on Friday afternoon.

Young Austrian millionaire dies after falling from window
Monaco, where the incident happened. Photo: Tobi 87/Wikimedia

The mysterious death of a 43-year-old Austrian millionaire is being investigated by authorities after he fell from a window of his luxury home in Monaco.

Weekend promises both hailstones and sunshine
Strandbad Alte Donau. Photo: Stadt Wien

Depending on where you are in Austria this weekend, expect either thunderstorms or 31 degree sunshine.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
Lifestyle
How a chance meeting on the slopes led to a new business
Lifestyle
What it means to be human
Technology
How a town became a green icon
Lifestyle
Why Austria has the world's best ski resort
Lifestyle
Let them eat cake!
Lifestyle
Top tips for partying like an Austrian
Culture
Five places to learn how to cook Viennese cuisine
Lifestyle
How living in Austria will improve your lifestyle
Lifestyle
Backstage at the World Beard and Moustache Championship
Gallery
Up to 60,000 people welcomed refugees in Vienna
Culture
Can you spot an Austrian?
Lifestyle
Our pick of Vienna's best vegetarian restaurants
Analysis & Opinion
Italy's South Tyrol: where an identity crisis lingers
2,479
jobs available