© Image by Niederösterreich Werbung / Andreas Hofer
If you are coming to Lower Austria as an expat for the first time,
we recommend you to rent an apartment in the beginning.
From finding a place to rent and signing a contract to setting up utilities –
we will guide you through the process.
RENT AND REGISTER:
Any EU/EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss citizen, or third-country national can rent a dwelling in Lower Austria. Please note that anyone who takes up accommodation in a dwelling is required to register at registration authority (Meldebehörde) within three days after moving in. Please do not forget to bring the registration form (signed by the landlord and yourself) as well as your personal ID (passport).
If you are in the beginning not sure where you want to live, we can recommend various platforms (e.g. Airbnb, or booking.com) for short-term rentals at the beginning.
TYPES OF TENANCY
In Austria tenancy law distinguishes between two types of tenancy, the main tenancy and the subtenancy. The main differences between those two types are the amount of rent and the protection against termination.
A main tenancy means that the tenancy agreement is concluded between the tenant and the owner of the house or flat. A subtenancy means that the tenancy agreement has been concluded between the main tenant and the flat applicant. In addition, there are fixed-term (befristet) or open-ended (unbefristet) tenancy agreements. Fixed-term agreements can be extended as often as desired for any duration of the agreement. Rental contracts in Austria usually have a term of at least three years.
DIY OR ESTATE AGENTS: FINDING
RENTAL PROPERTY IN LOWER AUSTRIA
There are two ways in order to find a suitable rental property – you either search actively yourself or place yourself in the hands of an estate agent.
Finding an apartment by yourself
If you want to obtain information on available apartments and other kinds of property yourself, there are various platforms that allow you to find accommodation directly through the owners. Try to look for properties that do not require you to pay commission (provisionsfrei), if possible.
Here are some platforms which we can recommend:
To make your search a little easier, we have created a glossary of the most important terms in German/English.
Finding a suitable rental property is time-consuming, so using an estate agent might be a good idea. An estate agent will help you through the process – from finding a property, completion of the contract to hand-over of the keys. However, you will be charged additional costs, a commission fee for the estate agent (Maklerprovision). This fee can be split between landlord and tenant. The amount is negotiable and there are upper limits. The fee is payable after the signing of the contract, so do not make any advance payments to the estate agent. It is common in Austria that an estate agent works for both the landlord and the tenant simultaneously (Doppelmakler). Estate agents are obliged to inform their clients in advance about such an arrangement. The amount of the fee depends on the duration of the tenancy agreement and is negotiable. The maximum fee is calculated as follows:
- Limited duration up to three years: 1 x gross rent + 20 per cent VAT
- Limited term over three years and unlimited tenancy agreements: 2 x gross rent + 20 per cent VAT
The Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer) provides a commission calculator. On the website oesterreich.gv.at, you can find additional information about hiring an estate agent. A list of all estate agents in Lower Austria can be found at firmen.wko.at.
Before you hire an estate agent, always check their website. It should be informative, clearly structured and contain legal information, as well as information on the agent’s career, references. A membership in an estate agent association such as the ÖVI (Austrian Association of the Real Estate Industry) or the IR (Immobilienring Österreich) also indicates reliability.
But not only tenants look for rental properties with the help of a real estate agent. It is a widespread practice that landlords also search for suitable tenants with the help of real estate agents. In principle, it is the case that the tenant must then pay the estate agent’s commission. From July 2023, this will change and the ‘Bestellerprinzip’ will apply. What’s that?’
The ‘Bestellerprinzip’ stipulates that the person who has engaged the real estate agent is also responsible for the agent’s commission. In particular, the ‘Bestellerprinzip’ is intended to prevent tenants from having to pay the real estate agent commissioned by the landlord when looking for an apartment.
The primary purpose of the ‘Bestellerprinzip’ is therefore to ease the financial burden on tenants in Austria’s already tight real estate market. Especially for young adults, students and families with low incomes, the broker’s commission (in addition to the rent deposit) represents a high additional expense. We will keep you up-to-date.
So, how exactly is the monthly rent made up? A tenant’s total rent liability is made up of three components: base rent (Hauptmiete, Nettomiete), operating costs (Betriebskosten) and VAT (Umsatzsteuer, or USt). All together, they comprise the gross rent (Bruttomiete). The monthly rent should be a maximum of 30-35% of your net income.
Base rent (Nettomiete) is the fixed monthly rental cost of an apartment. Depending on the type of apartment and its features or amenities, base rent (and its periodic increases) can be regulated by law or set according to market conditions. Usually, the owner of the flat sets the basic rent themself. Many landlords use their local rent index as a guideline. The rent index indicates the average price per square metre in the respective neighbourhood.
Operating costs (Betriebskosten) cover the general building maintenance, municipal fees (water, waste, sewerage), building insurance and improvements, and you pay a percentage of the total. Heating or even electricity costs depend on your usage and can only be calculated at the end of a year. However, the rent is due beforehand. It is important to know that in Austria, the majority of apartments are rented unfurnished and will only really come with the bare essentials such as hot water and heating.
Rental deposit (Kaution): In Austria, your rental deposit is usually 3 months’ rent but can be as high as 6 months’ rent depending on the price class of the properties you are looking at. After the termination of the tenancy, you will receive the deposit back from the landlord. It is typically paid in cash.
Please note: In Austria it is not common to negotiate the base rent for dwellings. The landlord’s listed price is usually what they will be expecting. Furthermore, the rental market in Austria is characterised by an extremely strong demand. This means that there are a lot of other potential renters. Please also have a look at our lease and rental agreement checklist.
What parameters influence the rent and what average rental costs can I expect in Lower Austria?
Various factors do have an impact on the rental prices, such as:
- rental segment (or type of main rent)
- length of tenancy
- time limit
- regional location: province and size of municipality
- surrounding (green area, infrastructure, pollution)
- fixtures and fittings: equipment category, lift
- flat size & condition
TIME TO MAKE A RENTAL OFFER
When you’ve fallen in love with an apartment, you will be asked by the landlord (or via an estate agent) to submit a rental offer (Mietanbot). Such an offer is a legally binding declaration that you want to rent the flat at a certain rent, once you have signed the agreement. You may withdraw a binding offer if you submitted the offer while seeing the apartment for the first time and if there was an immediate housing need, but you must do this within seven days.
Please note: under no circumstances should you pay a rental deposit (Kaution) before the actual rental agreement is signed. You should therefore set a time limit for your offer. From this point on, the landlord will decide whether to conclude a rental contract with you on the basis of your offer or to look for a “better candidate”.
Your rental offer must include:
- A description of the property and its address
- Names of the landlord and tenant
- Type of lease (main lease or sublease)
- Lease term (unlimited, limited, how many years, start of occupancy)
- Rent (itemised as base rent, operating expenses, heating costs and taxes)
- Usable area of the apartment (Nutzfläche), number of rooms and amenities (Ausstattung)
- How long the offer will be valid (14 days if not specifically stated otherwise).
CONCLUSION OF RENTAL AGREEMENT
Finally! The flat has been chosen and the offer signed. The next step is the conclusion of the rental agreement. Before you sign a rental agreement, you optionally can approach an appropriate advice service e.g., Tenants’ Association (Mietervereinigung), Association for the Protection of Tenants (Mieterschutzverband), Consumer Information Association (Verein für Konsumenteninformation), Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer) in order to have your rental agreement checked for legality, just to be on the safe side. Also check if the landlord informed you about all important elements and rights stated in our apartment checklist, if not already included in the rental agreement.
Good to know
INSURANCE, PARKING, TV
Accommodation in Austria is typically unfurnished. However, depending on the previous tenant or owner, the apartment may still be offered furnished or partly furnished. It is quite common to buy the previous owner’s kitchen or cupboards. Usually the apartment is equipped with sanitary appliances (bathtub, shower, toilet).
It depends on where you live (city or country side), but usually you will have to pay extra for a parking space – on top of the rent.
It is very advisable to take out household insurance. This covers damage within the home, for example a broken window or fire. In most cases, household insurance is compulsory in rental contracts, but this is mainly for your own protection.
Television and radio charges
There is the so-called GIS fee in Austria – which means you have to register your television or radio. They will normally contact you automatically after moving in.
Shhh – quiet please & house rules
Please respect the house rules which are stated in the rental contract – ensuring you do not disturb your neighbours, tips on garbage disposal, pets and noise.
Get in touch
Do you have further questions on this topic?
We will assist you and give you all the relevant information.