For members


Renting in Austria: How much can estate agents charge in commission?

The size of the estate agent's commission, called 'Provision', comes as a shock to a lot of foreign renters in Austria. There are legal limits on what they can charge, depending on the type of contract you have.

Couple and estate agent looking at an apartment
If your estate agent overcharges you for commission, you have a right to claim it back, so it's worth knowing your rights. Photo: Alena Darmel/Pexels

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.

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.

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For members


EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Camping in Austria can be a lot of fun, but what are the rules? Here’s everything you need to know about setting up camp in the Alpine republic.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Waking up beside a lake or surrounded by mountains is a dream Austrian holiday for many, but it’s important to know the rules about camping before heading off with a tent or campervan.

As the summer season approaches, here’s everything you need to know about camping in Austria.

Is wild camping legal in Austria?

Wild camping – setting up camp outside of a designated campsite – is generally illegal in Austria. This applies to both camping in a tent or sleeping in a van on the side of the road.

Exceptions to this rule do exist but usually only if the municipal authority grants a temporary exception, for example for a school trip or a youth club activity.

A bivouac (temporary camp without cover) is allowed in the event of bad weather or injury, but planned wild camping in the mountains is illegal. 

FOR MEMBERS: What are the rules for wild camping in Austria?

There are some regional differences though.

In the states of Salzburg, Vorarlberg and Styria there are no laws strictly forbidding camping outside of campsites, but local authorities can prohibit it and take action if necessary.

The strictest rules apply in national parks, nature reserves and special protection areas across Austria, so check before you plan your camping trip that your spot is not located in one of these areas.  

In most cases, if someone is caught camping illegally in Austria it is considered as an administrative offence and a fine can be issued, ranging from €5 to €500, depending on the location.

Camping in the forest

Camping in the forest is prohibited everywhere in Austria by law (specifically Section 33 of the Forest Act). The only exception is when you have the consent of the landowner.

Camping above the tree line

In Upper Austria and Styria you are allowed to camp in the mountains above the tree line, as long as you are outside of pasture areas.

In Vorarlberg this is also permitted, although the mayor of a municipality can prohibit the setting up of tents outside approved campsites if the interests of safety, health, agriculture or the protection of the natural balance as well as the landscape and townscape are “grossly violated”.

In Salzburg, camping above the tree line is in theory permitted, but the Alpine Association recommends groups wishing to camp should contact the nature conservation department of the responsible district administration before setting up. 

READ ALSO: How to explore the Austrian mountains in the summer like a local

Camping in a tent

Camping in a tent is the most common way of camping in the summer and most people pitch up on a dedicated campsite.

Many campgrounds have water and electricity facilities, as well as showers, cooking areas, recreation spaces and even kids clubs. Others have luxury elements like year-round heated pools, saunas, beach volleyball and restaurants.

Campsites are also often located near a lake or at the base of mountains, which means you can wake up to beautiful scenery every morning .

Some of Austria’s top camping associations include Camping Wien, Camping Steiermark and Top Camping Austria.

Camping in a van

Camping in a motorhome is only allowed at campsites in Austria and if someone is caught sleeping in a van in a prohibited area they can be fined.

The only exception is if a driver has to stop and recuperate before continuing driving.

Top camping tips

Austria is packed with stunning natural landscapes, so camping during the summer months is a popular activity – both for Austrian residents and tourists.

For this reason, it’s recommended to book ahead during the peak summer holiday months of July and August, whether planning to camp in a motorhome or tent.

Camping in motorhomes is also becoming more popular at some winter campsites during the ski season, so it’s always a good idea to book in advance.

Additionally, it’s advised to take bug spray when camping in Austria in the summer as insects like mosquitoes and ticks are common in countryside areas.

In fact, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) – a viral infection transmitted by the bite of infected ticks – is endemic in Austria and it’s recommended to get vaccinated before going on a hiking or camping trip in the country.

The main affected areas for TBE are Tyrol and Upper Austria.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s ‘tick vaccine’ and should you take it

Useful vocabulary

Campsite – Campingplätze

Tent – Zelt

Campervan – Reisemobil

Electricity – Strom