Short-term rentals on Airbnb continue to be popular among travellers, especially as an alternative to hotels during the Covid-19 pandemic.
But while the home stay platform has dramatically changed travel and provided a new income stream for many property owners, it has also led to concerns of rising rents in city centres that are pushing out local residents.
As a result, governments and city councils across Austria and abroad have put in place regulations to try and control the short-term rental market.
Here’s what you need to know about the rules for Airbnb in Austria.
Is Airbnb legal in Austria – and what do I need to know?
Airbnb is legal in Austria but there are certain rules in place to protect cities and local communities from the effects of over-tourism.
For example, Airbnb has been sharing tax data with the Finance Ministry since January 2021 to ensure hosts are correctly informing the tax office about their income from rental properties.
Airbnb also has a direct telephone hotline where neighbours can report suspected illicit rentals, as well as other issues like loud parties.
However, there are some specific regional rules to be aware of, as detailed below.
Airbnb rules in Vienna
In Vienna, the commercial rental of properties in residential zones has been prohibited since 2018. Additionally, most subsidised housing lease agreements prohibit tenants from subletting the property.
Unfortunately, many people disregarded the rules prompting Vienna’s Commercial Court to rule that city-owned apartments could no longer be rented on platforms like Airbnb.
This led to the removal of all Viennese social housing rental apartments from the platform in October 2021, followed by a commitment from Airbnb to promote “responsible tourism” in Austria.
In a statement last year, the company said: “Airbnb shares the goal of the City of Vienna to protect living space – especially in municipal housing – and is therefore removing listings in municipal housing from the platform as part of a voluntary initiative.”
Airbnb has also since granted Viennese authorities access to the site to help ensure the rules are followed, and has agreed to remind Austrian users regularly of the rules.
Finally, there is the Vienna City Tax (Ortstaxe) that Airbnb hosts must register for and pay by the 15th of the month for any paid stays at their properties during the previous month.
Airbnb rules in Tyrol
The topic of Airbnb rentals in Innsbruck in Tyrol is currently being discussed by the municipal council. This is in relation to the protection of data collected during investigations into properties suspected of breaking the rules.
In 2019, a new law was brought in that allows the local authority to issue fines up to €5,000 to landlords that fail to register their property as a short-term rental with Innsbruck Tourismus.
Other rules in Tyrol that Airbnb hosts should be aware of are an overnight tax for tourists and the requirement to have a permit from the building authorities to legally host tourists.
Airbnb rules in Salzburg
The Land Use Planning Act in Salzburg states property owners must get permission from the local building authority to use a home for commercial rental purposes, including for Airbnb.
An exception to the rule is the short term rental of private rooms, defined as accommodation up to 10 people in guest rooms, as long as this is the host’s main residence.
However, all hosts (whether of private rooms or entire properties) must register with the tax authority to comply with the Overnight Accommodation Tax Act. All overnight stays in Salzburg are subject to the tax rules.
Airbnb rules in Styria
In Styria, property owners are entitled to rent out their homes on a short-term basis for tourism. But condominium rules might apply to properties in apartment buildings, which means landlords have to request permission before listing the home for rent.
There is also an overnight and holiday apartment tax law in Styria which means every overnight stay is subject to a tax. This is paid by guests to the host, who then pay the local authority.
Can I sublet my rented apartment in Austria via Airbnb?
Subletting a rental apartment or room is not illegal in Austria, but that doesn’t mean you can start listing your home on Airbnb straight away.
In most cases, permission is required by the landlord to sublet a property. It’s also important to check your rental agreement for any clauses specifically prohibiting subletting.
Then there are regional rules to consider, like Vienna’s ban on social housing being used as Airbnb rentals.
If in doubt, check with the owner of the property and the local authority before planning to become an Airbnb host.
I own my flat. Can I rent it out on Airbnb in Austria?
In theory, yes. However, there could be other rules to consider depending on where the property is located.
For example, you might need permission from neighbours or a homeowner’s association to rent out a flat to Airbnb guests in an apartment building.
Most short-term rental properties also have to be registered with a tourism association, and in most cases overnight stays are subject to a tourism tax.