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How do I lower my rent if I pay too much in Vienna?

Julia Hjelm Jakobsson
Julia Hjelm Jakobsson - [email protected]
How do I lower my rent if I pay too much in Vienna?
There are ways to take down your rent in Vienna if you pay too much.

If you live in an older building, a so called "Altbau", the price per square meter is regulated. If you are paying too much rent, there are ways to lower it and claim your money back.

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Vienna is known for offering its residents affordable rents. However, if you live in one of the older apartments in Vienna (Altbau), you should know that there is a limit on how much rent can be charged per square meter.

Some landlords rent out their flats more expensively than they are actually allowed to. The City of Vienna's rent calculator can help you determine if you are paying too much.

If you believe that your rent is too high, there are three different options on how to bring it down and also get the money back from the time when you paid too much.

Hire a company to take on your case

In Vienna, several companies, known as Prozessfinanzierer in German, will take on your case individually and try to reduce your rent. This could not only result in a lower rent for the future but also in you receiving a refund for the period you overpaid. It is even possible to pursue this after you leave your apartment. 

However, the City of Vienna has warned against using these services. If you are successful, the companies could claim a great portion of the refunded money, ranging from 30 percent to even half. MeinBezirk also reported occasions when employees of these companies have gone door to door, pretending to be city officials to secure contracts with excessively high commission payments.

Tenant protection organisations argue, as cited in Der Standard, that the companies may prioritise their profits over the best interests of tenants, negatively impacting tenant-landlord relationships.

However, these companies typically operate on a 'no win-no fee' basis, which means that you do not have to pay anything if the reduction attempt is unsuccessful. 

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

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Get help from the Mietervereinigung

Another option is to get help from the Mietervereinigung. This is a tenants' association that supports tenants' rights and interests. A yearly membership costs around €69 in Vienna (it also operates in Austria's other federal states).

Once you are a member, you can go to them for help. They will assist you with claiming back your rent if you have been overpaying, and can also help with rental problems such as mould, contracts, painting, disputes with landlords and housing standards. 

The association also offer education and information to help you understand your rights and responsibilities under landlord-tenant laws. This includes workshops and seminars about topics related to housing rights and regulations.

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The association is also known for publishing guides, brochures, and online resources with practical tips for dealing with common rental issues.

The Mietervereinigung offers services and guidance for its members over the phone, online or through meetings in person. 

Altbau in Alsegrund, district 9 in Vienna. Photo by Melloo on Unsplash

Do it yourself

The third option you have as a tenant is to go to the arbitration board yourself.

The arbitration board is an independent entity established to help resolve conflicts between tenants and landlords outside of the court system. However, this can sometimes be complicated.

You often need certain legal expertise to be successful and the process can be complex and time consuming.

READ NEXT: How does urban gardening work in Vienna?

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