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Renting For Members

READERS REVEAL: What is it like to rent a home in Austria?

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
READERS REVEAL: What is it like to rent a home in Austria?
As rents are forecast to rise across Austria, the government is putting in a three-year rent brake. Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash

Many readers of The Local say their experience of renting in Austria is generally good – or at least mixed – but price is becoming an ever greater challenge.

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Landlords that a generally responsive (even if not overly helpful or friendly), good protections in rental contracts, and flats that are of a good standard. These are some of the things you can expect if you rent in Austria, according to readers of The Local.

But expect to shell out more than you feel like you should.

With benchmark rental rates having increased alongside grocery and utility bills due to rocketing cost of living, affordability is perhaps the worst hit bit of renting in Austria recently.

Nearly all of our respondents complained about how expensive renting in Austria is, especially with recent increases – and buying is out of reach for many. Certain rent controls also aren’t sufficient according to some readers.

“When searching for an apartment, I found a huge variation in the quality and condition of apartments within a narrow band of rent,” says one reader renting in Austria for just about seven months. “It made me wonder how much rent is decided simply based on a formula of the area by rate, regardless of any renovations, quality of finishes, equipment or condition. Many apartments are overpriced.”

READ ALSO: Renting in Austria: When can my landlord increase the rent, and by how much?

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Despite price pressures, our readers say once you have a place in Austria, you can often expect a decent level of protection and service. That’s especially true for those who were able to find a landlord to rent from directly, rather than through an agent or letting company.

“I avoided the extortionate commission fees,” says Helen, a recent arrival in Vienna. “My landlord lives in the apartment above and is a great support. He responds fast to issues as they arise and assisted with the initial admin.”

Salzburg has plenty to offer the right international resident, but is experiencing a particularly acute housing shortage. (Photo by Zhang Xiaoyu / Unsplash)

Helen acknowledges she was lucky and found the apartment through a colleague. Many of our readers though report a much testier relationship with their landlords. While requested work typically gets done to a good standard, the process of asking for it can feel soul-crushing.

“Unless there is a legal requirement for the landlord to do something, there is a lack of care,” says Johnny in Vienna. “They don't want to hear anything from you.”

“The management company doesn’t answer questions and they ignore emails,” says Tyler, who has been living in Vienna for two years. He says getting contact information for the Hausmeister – or superintendent – can help. But management companies often don’t want to give that information out.

READ ALSO: How to navigate the Austrian rental market

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Other readers say it’s necessary to translate everything into German and that finding English-speaking support is very hard. Even when the landlord does speak English very well though, support is not always forthcoming.

“Landlords are not translators,” Johnny says. “But when they do speak perfect English, you would expect them to try to help you understand some of the details. They don’t.”

Some readers also complained about the lack of furnished apartments in Austria.

READ ALSO: Renting in Austria: How to find a furnished apartment

A big disconnect in our survey though, appears when talking about the issue of what places accept pets and which ones don’t.

Oskar from Poland, who has been living in Innsbruck for two years, says it’s very hard to find places that accept pets. At the same time, many Vienna-based readers say most apartments allow pets at no extra cost – so there may be some regional differences when it comes to pets.

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