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RENTING

Renting in Austria: How much can the landlord ask for as a deposit?

There are a lot of upfront costs when renting in Austria, and one of them is the 'Kaution' or deposit. Even though you should get it back at the end of your tenancy, it's worth making sure you're not being overcharged.

Apartment
You might be happy for your apartment to be on the high side, but not the deposit. Photo: Dimitry Anikin/Unsplash

When you rent your Austrian apartment, there are a few costs to expect, including the rent itself, the estate agents’ commission or Provision, and the deposit or Kaution. Of these, the deposit is the one that should be returned to you at the end of the tenancy.

The deposit is the fee paid by the tenant to the landlord as security against any damages. This means the landlord can keep it if you fail to pay your rent, or if you cause any damage to the apartment. 

There is no law that says a tenant must pay a deposit, and if you do, it needs to be agreed in your rental contract — legally, the landlord is not able to ask you for a deposit after you’ve signed the contract. But it’s very rare that you won’t be asked for one upfront!

READ ALSO: How much can estate agents charge in commission?

There are legal limits on how much they can ask for, so don’t get ripped off.

The usual deposit is three months’ gross monthly rent.

That means three times the sum of your rent (Gesamtmiete) plus VAT (MwSt in German, 10 percent of the rent) plus operating costs (Betriebskosten). The latter covers things like waste disposal and maintenance of common areas.

Three months’ rent is by far the most common level of deposit you’ll see, but by law, the landlord is allowed to charge up to a maximum of six months’ rent. If you are charged more than three months’ rent as a deposit, it’s worth asking your landlord why, and seeing if you can negotiate a lower fee. It might help if you have documents to prove you’ll be able to pay the rent on time, such as a fixed employment contract or positive references from previous landlords.

READ ALSO: The vocab you need to understand apartment ads

To go higher than six months’ rent as a deposit, they need a special reason, for example if there is extremely valuable furniture in the apartment.

Even if your rent is increased during your tenancy, your landlord can’t demand extra money to ‘top up’ the deposit (making it equal to three months’ gross rent at the new figure) unless you agree to this in writing.

If you’re moving in somewhere that already has furniture and/or appliances like a washing machine, you may need to pay a one-time fee for these, called the Ablöse, which is not a deposit — it means that you then own the furniture.

READ ALSO: How to find out if you are paying too much rent in Vienna

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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

Got an unwanted mattress, fridge, or sofa? Here’s how you can legally get it off your hands in Vienna.

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

If you find yourself with a large piece of furniture or big household appliance that has seen its prime and is not bound to the trashcan, then you might be wondering where to dispose of them – legally, that is.

Even if it is not uncommon to see furniture or appliances next to the big trashcans often placed near households and apartment complexes, it is illegal to leave them there.

Different cities have different methods – some will even pick up trash at specific times and places. To know how your city deals with bulky waste (Sperrmüll), you can google “Sperrmüll + the name of your city”.

READ ALSO: Why does Vienna’s waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?

Vienna has several waste collection points where you can leave bulky waste, electrical appliances, hazardous waste (in household quantities) and other old goods for no charge.

The use of the Wiener Mistplätze is subject to certain quantity limits and requirements, but they are to avoid industrial use. Therefore, most households will have no problem with the limitations.

Here you can find several collection points in Vienna.

It is worth pointing out that delivery to those sites can only be made by cars with Viennese license plates, on foot or by bicycle. Furthermore, no trailers or company cars are allowed to leave trash at these collection points.

What can you bring to the collection centres?

This is the place to bring large sheets of plastic foil, bulky or large metal parts and electrical appliances, for example.

Additionally, you can bring small amounts of bulky waste, wood, styrofoam, large cardboard boxes, green waste and used tires to any waste collection centres.

Depending on what you are disposing of, you might need to go to the Rinter centre, one of the larger ones.

READ ALSO: Hasta la mista, baby? How to vote for your favourite Vienna trash can joke

The centres also have a separate division where it is possible to donate old items still in good condition, the so-called 48er-Tandler-Box.

Tableware, small furniture, electrical appliances, clothes, toys and other items can be reused and bought at a low price at the 48er-Tandler reuse shop.

Most centres are open only from Monday to Friday during business hours, but others are also available on Saturdays.

What to do if I don’t have a car?

If you don’t need a car but still need to dispose of a large appliance, the Viennese solution varies.

Some will take public transport with a couple of friends trying to help them carry an old sofa via the u-bahn, although that can get a little tough at peak hour. 

Alternatively, you can borrow or rent a vehicle to try and save costs.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

But Vienna City also has a service that will pick up the trash for a low fee – even if it is located in the attic, a basement or a courtyard.

It’s the Entrümpelungsdienst und Sperrmüllabfuhr der MA 48. You can also ask for the “dump service” when the city of Vienna brings a trough (the smallest can fit 12 cubic meters).

Once you fill it up, they will remove it and take it to the appropriate place.

Costs will depend on the amount of trash, the size of the appliance, and where in the household it is located.

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