• Austria's news in English
 
Renting in Austria
Top six things to know about renting in Austria
Photo: James Pilgrim

Top six things to know about renting in Austria

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.

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
Austrian skier Hirscher dominates downhill
Photo: APA

Austrian skier Hirscher dominates downhill

Austria's triple overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher claimed Sunday's giant slalom in Alta Badia to overtake his legendary compatriot Franz Klammer in number of World Cup wins. READ  

Obituary for Udo Jürgens
Photo: APA (EPA/STEFFEN SCHMIDT)

Obituary for Udo Jürgens

The German-speaking world was in mourning Monday for Austrian crooner and composer Udo Juergens who died suddenly in his adopted Swiss homeland -- in the middle of a tour -- aged 80. READ  

Japanese robbery victim stabbed after chase
Photo: APA

Japanese robbery victim stabbed after chase

A 22-year-old Japanese man stopped for a coffee from a vending machine in the lobby of a hostel in Mariahilferstrasse on Saturday night, when two men stole his backpack. READ  

Drunk driver impersonates cop
What a real policeman looks like. Photo: APA

Drunk driver impersonates cop

A 23-year-old man from Burgenland had a great idea to raise a little money on Saturday night, by impersonating a police officer. READ  

Masked thieves get away with millions
Still image from security camera showing the thieves at work. Photo: Police

Masked thieves get away with millions

A pair of masked thieves broke into an armored car security transport company in Innsbruck on Saturday evening, getting away with millions of euros in cash. READ  

Third building evacuated as collapse feared
Photo: APA

Third building evacuated as collapse feared

For a third time in as many weeks, an apartment building in Vienna has had to be evacuated by rescue services due to fears of its imminent collapse, according to a report from the Austrian Press Agency (APA). READ  

Austrian entertainer Udo Jürgens dead at 80
Photo: DPA FILE

Austrian entertainer Udo Jürgens dead at 80

The 80-year-old Austrian entertainer Udo Jürgens died on Sunday from heart failure while walking in Switzerland. READ  

German skier dies on Salzburg mountain
Obertauern North. Photo: Robert Burwood

German skier dies on Salzburg mountain

A 24-year-old German man from Bavaria died on Saturday morning while skiing the slopes of Schönalmbahn, in the Untertauern valley near Salzburg. READ  

Special streetcar operating this weekend
Photo: Wiener Linien

Special streetcar operating this weekend

The special Ströck Christmas Tram is operating this weekend around the Ring in Vienna, and will donate all proceeds to a charity for children with heart disease. READ  

Couple intercepted at airport with machine gun
Photo: APA

Couple intercepted at airport with machine gun

An Austrian man and a Turkish woman were arrested on a plane about to take off from Vienna for Istanbul after a machine gun was found in their checked-in luggage, authorities said Saturday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
Top 12 German language idioms
Travel & Tourism
Top mistakes tourists make in Austria
Society
Afghan refugees get integration help
Society
Waiting to be smuggled into Austria after a tortuous journey
Culture
Facing up to death over coffee and cake
Gallery
What foods did Austrians search the most in 2014?
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Culture
Our pick of Austria's best Christmas markets
Society
Vienna's Ring is about to celebrate its 150th birthday
Travel & Tourism
A slice of Austria in northern California
International
An Austrian surgeon is working to repair broken bodies in Ukraine
Travel & Tourism
Tales of Couchsurfing in Vienna
International
Nuclear incidents show dangers of weapons
Gallery
Ten things to know before you party with an Austrian
Society
The Congress of Vienna revisited
Society
New museum houses memories of Kindertransport children
International
Is Vienna at the heart of a possible new European war?
Gallery
Images from the ice storm which hit Lower Austria on the weekend
National
Returning home after 20 years away and starting a business
National
It's the most wonderful time of the year, but can be hazardous for kids
Gallery
Get ready for Christmas like an Austrian. Here's how.
National
Holocaust survivors' family retrace grandparents' steps in Vienna
International
An alpine village welcomes asylum seekers
Culture
Painting is a journey of discovery for Russian artist in Vienna
Gallery
Top 10 mistakes Austrians make in English
Culture
Guide to Austrian coffee
Gallery
Ten of the most delicious Austrian desserts you shouldn't miss
Features
No picnic with Italian bears
Features
Building a new life in Austria
National
12 etiquette tips to help you make friends in Austria
Features
The Austrian ski school churning out champions
Features
Expat life: Learning German and making music in Vienna
Society
Radical Islam in Austria is active and growing
National
The Austrian female priest who is defying Catholicism
Gallery
Top ten photo winners from the World Bodypainting Festival
Culture
Austria celebrates a film icon and brilliant inventor
Features
Why Austrians believe they are at the centre of a new Europe
National
Ideas for where to source unique children's gifts in Vienna
Culture
Funeral museum rises from the dead for Halloween
Business & Money
Advertising value with The Local
Culture
The Lowdown on Austria's goose eating season
Society
Left behind in 1939 - a tale of loss
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

251
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply