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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: What are the rules for mowing your lawn in Austria?

As the weather gets warmer and the outdoors seems inviting once again, those who are lucky enough to have a garden should be mindful of the surprisingly large amount of rules for noise and lawn mowing in your own backyard.

lawn mower and grass
Austria has very strict rules regarding when you can do some (noisy) garden work. (Photo by Andres Siimon on Unsplash)

Mowing the garden might seem like an easy routine activity for many people who own a garden or land. Still, Austria wouldn’t be Austria if there weren’t many rules and regulations regarding lawn mowing.

As with any other activities associated with noises, lawn mowing is regulated by the municipalities and is a matter for the local police. Unfortunately, that means you could be getting a visit from the police if you don’t follow the rules. Or worse: a passive-aggressive note from an anonymous neighbour.

Laws vary depending on the municipality, and you can find a list of them divided by state here. Don’t forget to check your own Gemeinde rules.

It is not uncommon for specific areas, for example, condominiums and kleingärten, to have their own (often stricter) rules. So you need to be mindful of your landlord rules, building rules, municipal and state rules.

Specific rules

In Vienna, for example, it is forbidden to use any internal combustion equipment (petrol lawnmowers) at all. It is also not permitted to mow your lawn on Saturdays from 12pm to 12am and all day during Sundays and holidays.

Electric lawnmowers could technically still be used during these times, but the general quiet times (Ruhezeiten) apply.

In Innsbruck, there is a regulation forbidding any “noise-inspiring” house of garden work during weekdays (Monday to Saturday) from 12pm to 3pm and 8pm to 6am, and all day for Sunday and public holidays.

Graz has even stricter rules, including an all-year ban on leaf blowers and leaf vacuum cleaners. For lawn mowing and any other work that makes noises, the ban is from Monday to Friday from 7pm to 7am, on Saturdays from 12pm to 3pm, and 7pm to 7am and all day on Sunday and public holidays.

READ MORE: Can I have a barbecue on my balcony in Austria?

In Salzburg, garden tools powered by combustion are also forbidden, like leaf blowers. In addition, in general, lawn mowing is only allowed from Monday to Saturday from 8am to 12pm and from 2pm to 7pm and on Sundays and public holidays from 10am to 12pm.

Austria’s third-largest city Linz is one of the few where there are no specific regulations on lawn mowing – though the Ruhezeiten rules still apply just like any building and Verein regulations that might rule the particular area where you live.

There are no specific regulations in many smaller cities that might get you in trouble with law enforcement.

However, especially where the communities are tighter, it is important to keep in mind how much Austrians value their “quiet times”, the contact with peace and quiet in nature, especially as spring makes it possible to enjoy some sun in their balconies and backyards again.

In doubt, it doesn’t hurt to ask for any unwritten rules that might exist.

What are The Local’s reader questions? 

As part of our service to our readers and members, we often answer questions on life in Austria via email when people get in touch with us. 

When these have value to the greater Local Austria community, we put them together as an article, with ‘reader question’ in the headline. 

All readers of The Local Austria can ask a reader question, i.e. you do not need to be a member. If you do find our reporting valuable however, then please consider signing up

Useful vocabulary

Rasenmähen – lawn mowing
Ruhezeiten – quiet periods
Gemeinden – municipalities
Verordnungen – ordinances
Verbrennungsmotoren – internal combustion engines

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TRAVEL NEWS

Reader question: How to write an invitation letter for visitors to Austria

While anyone coming from the Schengen area will be exempt from any border controls, visitors entering Austria from outside might have to show some documents, including proof of stay. Here's what you need to know.

Reader question: How to write an invitation letter for visitors to Austria

If you have friends or family visiting you in Austria from outside of the Schengen area, then you might be familiar with the “invitation letter” that a host should write, and the traveller may be asked to present at border control.

The actual documents necessary for entry into Austria will mainly depend on the traveller’s citizenship. If they come from a visa-required country, such as India, South Africa, or Bolivia, for example, they might need to show proof of sufficient travel means, including health insurance, proof of stay, and even a return ticket.

The letter of invitation is what would be accepted as proof of a place to stay for cases when the person is staying with friends and family – and cannot show a hotel reservation.

It will need to be presented to Austrian authorities in the country of residence before the travel to issue a visa.

READ ALSO: One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

However, even people coming from visa-free countries, including the United States, Brazil, the UK, and Australia, are advised to travel with documents showing their stay’s purpose and duration.

This is because even if you come with a visa or come from a visa-free country, the border control officer is the person to make a final decision on whether or not you are allowed in. On the European Commission’s website, the recommendation is that even those with an approved visa take supporting documents with them.

“At the border or during other controls, you may, for instance, have to provide information on your means of support, how long you intend to stay in the Schengen States, and why you are visiting the Schengen State.”, the website states.

“In some cases, such checks may result in a refusal for the visa holder to enter the Schengen State or the Schengen area.”

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Which Schengen area countries have border controls in place and why?

Carrying documents such as the invitation letter can help “make the border control procedure easier and avoid delays at the border”.

What is the letter of invitation?

There is no official model from the European Union for the invitation letter. Still, it should be written by the host, dated, and signed.

It should state information such as the host’s name, address, relationship to the traveller, reason and purpose of the invitation, dates and duration of stay, and any financial arrangements, such as if you are funding their trip.

The letter could be written in German or English. It is also helpful to attach copies of documents such as the Austrian resident’s Meldezettel (proof of residence) and passport.

It may be that at the border, nobody asks the visitor to show any documents, and more often than not, this is what happens, especially to citizens of visa-free countries.

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

However, the border officer is entitled to question any person trying to enter the country – in that case, a document such as a letter of the invitation could save your mom or dad a big headache when they are visiting you in Austria.

Is there a model of a letter?

Officially, no. However, there are several models that can be found online. The important thing is for the letter to have the basic information on who is visiting whom, how long, the purpose of stay, and financial means. For example, your letter could look something like this:

Location and date

Re: Invitation Letter for NAME OF TRAVELLER with Passport No. XXX

Dear Sir/Madam,

I, YOUR NAME, currently residing at YOUR ADDRESS, and a citizen of YOUR CITIZENSHIP with residence in Austria, am writing this letter to support the entry application of my RELATIONSHIP (mother/friend/etc.), NAME.

The purpose of the entry of my NAME is to visit me and spend time with me in Austria. She will be visiting me for DURATION OF STAY and then return to COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE, where she/he resides.

NAME will be visiting during the following dates: DATES.

During the specified trip dates above, we will be staying in LOCATION. In addition, NAME will be staying at my house, YOUR ADDRESS. The trip will be funded through their own means/ I will be paying for her/his trip, and she/he won’t pay for accommodation in my house.

If you require any information, please do not hesitate to contact me at PHONE NUMBER or EMAIL.

Kind regards,

NAME
PASSPORT NUMBER
ADDRESS
PHONE NUMBER
EMAIL

READ ALSO: UPDATED: The latest coronavirus restrictions in Austria

With the letter, it is recommended to carry documents such as travel confirmations, other documents stating the purpose of stay, and even the travel insurance.

Again, none of this is mandatory for those who already have a visa or come from visa-free countries. Still, they can save time and avoid complications in case of questions at the border. Especially if mom and dad don’t speak any German – or English.

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