Renting For Members

What happens when my rental contract expires in Austria?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
What happens when my rental contract expires in Austria?
The Tenancy Act contains rules that govern both the landlord's and tenant's rights and obligations regarding termination. Photo by Emily Wang on Unsplash

Many rental contracts for Austrian homes come with a fixed-term, meaning they will eventually expire. What happens when it does, especially if you continue paying rent and living in the residence?

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In Austria, "fixed-term" contracts for renting homes are not unusual, even if they tend to last ten years or more. But what happens once the contract expires?

According to Mieterhilfe, a Vienna-backed organisation that provides assistance to renters, there is a myth that the agreement is "tacitly extended".

"Tenants very often assume that a tenancy agreement becomes permanent if landlords continue to accept the rent even though the fixed-term tenancy agreement has already expired", the organisation wrote.

However, that is not precisely what happens. 

If landlords continue to accept the rent and do not bring an action for eviction or restitution against tenants within 14 days of the (actual) termination of the fixed-term tenancy agreement, then the tenancy agreement is (tacitly) extended by exactly three years. 

So, even though there is an extension, it is limited by three years - the contract does not become a "permanent" one, Mieterhilfe warns. 

READ ALSO: How do you qualify for a social housing flat in Vienna?

What are the advantages for tenants?

The advantage for tenants in this case is that they can terminate the contract prematurely at any time within the notice period agreed upon in the tenancy agreement.

However, this only applies to the first "silent extension," as the association called it. If the tenancy agreement is renewed in this way, again by the landlord's "tacit" acceptance of the rent after these extended three years, then it is unlimited.

You should then have the landlord confirm the changes in the rental contract (the extension for three years or the conversion to an open-ended agreement) in writing. This is not mandatory, but Mieterhilfe recommends it as it creates clarity "and may save you from legal disputes later on."

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What happens when the contract expires and is not extended?

If the renter does not choose to extend the contract, you will need to vacate the apartment. You can check your specific rental agreement (Mietvertrag) to see if they have an obligation to give you a notice period - a warning that they will not extend the contract and you will need to look for a new place to live.

Usually, there is a notice period of three months.


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