Find a Place to Live in Austria – A Complicated Process

Find a place to live in Austria! It’s easier said than done,  is an expensive process – really expensive – and that’s before you even pay your first month’s rent.

Most houses and apartments are rented through real estate agents, and they For Rent Graphicknow how to charge. You may be lucky and find acommodation without a ‘Provision’ (Fee), but chances are you’ll probably deal with an estate agent.

So here’s the low down on some of the main points to know and consider when renting:

Most Places come Unfurnished

The vast majority of houses and apartments in Austria come unfurnished. That really means you get zero furniture and in many cases you don’t even get light fittings or curtains. Most places do come with a kitchen which includes you sink, fridge, oven / hob, cupboards and worktop space. Apart from that – nothing, nada, zilch.

Estate Agents Charge a Fortune

Estate agents charge between 1 and 2 months rent plus VAT at 20%, depending on how long you rent for.

  • Contract greater than 3 years – 2 months rent plus 20% VAT.
  • Contract less than 3 years – 1 month rent plus 20% VAT.
  • Contract greater than 3 years where the agent also manages the building – 1 month rent plus 20% VAT.
  • Contract extension – ½ month rent plus 20% VAT
  • Contract for the rental of a room – 1 month rent.

I can't believe it graphic

How do you calculate a month’s rent? In Austria, rent will often include water, heating and sometimes electricity. For the purposes of the estate agent fee – a month’s rent includes the basic rent plus all the additions. These include water, heating and any management charges – all excluding VAT. So if you pay €1,200 plus €200 for water and heating, the fee will be based on €1,400. You then need to add 20% VAT to this amount.

Minimum Rental Period

The minimum rental period seems to be 3 years. We asked about shorter but most agents just looked blankly at us. HOWEVER – there are usually two ways you can get out of the contract before the end of the 3 years.

  • Many contracts will allow you to find an ‘Untermieter’ (sub-tenant) to whom you can let the property. They will be subject to the same terms and conditions as you. Be careful to check the contract though as sometimes landlords won’t allow this.
  • The law says that you, the tenant, can terminate the lease agreement / contract, any time after the 1st year has elapsed. This, however is subject to providing 3 months notice. The catch is that you can’t give notice until the full 12 months have expired. Then it’s only from the end of the current month. So in effect you can terminate the agreement 16 months after the start date.
  • In the tenants favour however, is the fact that the landlord cannot terminate the contract early, so he / she can’t throw you out on the street.On the street graphic

What’s Included in the Rent?

As previously mentioned, most rents in Austria are ‘Warm’, which means that water and heating are included (although for the purposes of the contract, these elements will normally be itemised). As a result, the only additional bills you are likely to have to pay are electricity and whatever combination of broadband / phone / TV you opt for.

A Vergebuehrung Fee – What the hell is that?

So you’ve found your apartment or house, you’ve agreed the rent and are reluctantly ready to hand over a big wad of cash to the estate agent. But that’s not all. You will need to registerthe contract with the Department of Finance (this is for all rental contracts in Austria). And you guessed it, they have a fee for that – called the ‘Vergebuehrung’. And you have to pay it. They charge a fee equivalent to 1% of the total amount of rent you will pay over the lifetime of the contract, up to a maximum of 3 years. So, if you’re paying €1,200 in rent (excluding supplementary services), then they will calculate – roughly – ((1,200 * 36)*.01) – or in this case approx €432.

Last but not Least – The Kaution

In addition to the ‘Provision’ (Estate Agent Fee), and the ‘Vergebuehrung’, you will also have to pay a security deposit, called a ‘Kaution’. The Kaution is normally 3 months rent. You should make sure that the contract clearly states that you will receive your Kaution back once you move out, provided you hand the  property back in the condition in which you received it.

Summary

So, in summary, the following are the costs you need to be aware of when renting a property.

Table of Costs graphic

I think this is a reasonably comprehensive overview of the costs involved and it should certainly give you an idea of what you should expect. As with anything in life, you can of course negotiate on any of these points and depending on who you are dealing with and what the circumstances are, you may have some luck in reducing or eliminating some of these costs.

I’ve listed below some websites which you might find useful when looking for property.

https://www.immobilienscout24.at/
I found this site to be the definitive site for searching for property in Austria. It’s in German, but it’s pretty easy to follow and it gives you the option to search for property with no Provision. In the filters, just check the ‘Provisionsfrei’ check box.

www.willhaben.at
This is another good site and I’ve found that it can sometimes list property that you won’t find on Immobilien Scout.

www.salzburg.com/immo
This is the Property section of the local Salzburger Newspaper.

There are several other sites listed on an Internations thread which you might find useful at https://www.internations.org/forum/thread/1647209.

As always, please feel free to contact me should you have any specific questions or if you find something I’ve missed or incorrectly posted above.

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