Austrian students move back in with parents amid rising rent costs

Julia Hjelm Jakobsson
Julia Hjelm Jakobsson - [email protected]
Austrian students move back in with parents amid rising rent costs
Austrian students move back in with parents over rising rent costs. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

Rising rents are hitting students hard in Austria, and some of them need to move back home to afford their living expenses, according to a new study.

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Austria offers high-quality education through its many universities and other educational institutions, which are famous for their generally low tuition fees. However, inflation has significantly affected many of the country's around 400,000 students.

According to a recent survey conducted by the social research institute on behalf of the Chamber of Labour (AK), the increase in rent has forced many of the students to move back home with their parents.

Almost half of the student's income goes to rent

A total of 1,644 students participated in the survey carried out in January, which revealed that students have to spend an average of 43 percent of their income on their housing costs, which is more than double the amount spent by the rest of the population.

In student dormitories, students spend even more, with over half of their income going towards housing. This is because students in halls of residence often come from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and have more limited resources.

"We have seen that many students have had to move or look for a roommate due to inflation," Dora Jandl, consultant for higher education policy at the Vienna Chamber of Labour, told the Kurier.

Many depend financially on their parents

A huge 59 percent of Austrian students financially depend on their parents, which can be psychologically challenging and create pressure for them to complete their studies as early as possible. At the same time, almost two-thirds of Austrian students are employed while studying.

"If you're tired of working all the time and have money worries, you can't fully concentrate on education,"  Austrian student Katharina told Austrian newspaper, der Standard.

READ ALSO: What kind of discounts can you get as a student in Austria?


Sometimes students pay more than they should

Another point is that Austrian students sometimes have to pay more rent than they should. The majority of students participating in the survey did not know that landlords in old buildings have to deduct certain costs from fixed-term contracts as per the Tenancy Act. Some landlords do not amend the charges on their own, and instead need prompining.

With this background, the Chamber of Labour now wants to see more transparency in the calculation of surcharges and discounts. Additionally, they want to limit the use of fixed-term contracts and suggest that larger apartment owners, like real estate or insurance companies, should only be allowed to rent out their properties on an unlimited basis. 

Measures to improve the current situation

Rents in Austria increased sharply during 2023, mainly because of the high inflation that skyrocketed in the country during that year. The average monthly rent (excluding running costs) was 7.1 euros per square meter in the third quarter of 2023, an increase of 9.2 percent compared with the same quarter of the previous year.

To help students, the Chamber of Labour and the Austrian Student Union (ÖH) want the government to bring back the subsidy for student dorms, which was stopped in 2010. They would also like to see rent controls, more affordable dorms being built, greater government support for affordable housing, and an end to fixed-term leases.

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