The majority of apartment rental contracts in Austria are managed by estate agents, which means that there is a commission to be paid. This is even the case if you found the apartment using an online service or through word of mouth, as long as an estate agent has been given the job of that apartment rental.
This commission is called Provision or Maklerprovision.
- READ ALSO: How to navigate the Austrian rental market
A standard amount is two months’ rent, plus an extra 20 percent in VAT.
For the purposes of the commission, the ‘rent’ means the net rent (Nettomiete) plus any service costs (Betriebskosten) that are included, but not the VAT that makes up part of your gross rent, and not extra costs you pay individually as the tenant, like electricity and gas in most cases.
If your contract is limited to three years or less however, the maximum an estate agent is allowed to charge in commission is one months’ rent plus VAT. The same is generally true if the estate agent is also the property manager of the landlord; you should only be charged one months’ rent plus VAT (or half a months’ rent if it’s limited to less than three years).
These fees apply whether you’re renting an apartment or a house. If you are renting a single room as a lodger, you can only be charged one months’ rent plus VAT, regardless of the length of contract.
What’s more, if the estate agent owns the apartment and is representing themselves, they should not be charging any commission to the tenant. They’re obliged to disclose any economic or personal relationship between the agent and landlord.
If your contract is extended after you reach the end of the initial time period, whether it’s extended to another set term or changed to an unlimited contract, the estate agent can again take a commission, but this time the limit is half one month’s rent.
A few things to note about the Provision that may not be immediately obvious are that the amount must be listed in the apartment ad, and that this is not a refundable fee like the deposit (Kaution).
Check the Provision amount carefully; these are legal upper limits, so you can’t be charged extra — and if you are, you can claim the money back. Since they are upper limits and not fixed prices, it may even be possible to negotiate a lower fee, especially if it’s an apartment that hasn’t been easy to rent.
You should also make sure that VAT has only been counted once, so that the two months’ rent calculation wasn’t made on the basis of the gross rent.
Lastly and crucially, you should only need to pay the commission after the conclusion of a valid rental agreement, so be very wary of any agents that ask for fees upfront.
Do you have questions about renting, or another aspect of life in Austria? Email our editorial team at [email protected] with your question and we will do our best to help you.