House & Rentals

House rentals

Renting a property in Austria is relatively straightforward. This is mainly because the rental market is processed through real estate agents. The cost for using estate agents can be between one and two months’ rent, but they make the property searching process much easier. Other options are property websites or local newspaper advertisements. It is important to know that, in Austria, it is better to search for property in some seasons than others. For example, the beginning of the academic year (September) can be really frustrating, due to the high influx of foreign students. 

The typical length for a tenancy lease is three years, with a month’s rent charged for each year, to be held as a security deposit. For tenancies of this duration, a three-month notice period is also common.

Utility bills are often paid separately to rent. However, in some cases, you can request to pay the estate agent a flat fee to cover your monthly bills.

House in Vienna

Renting in Austria as a foreigner

It’s legal throughout Austria to sublet an already-leased room, and often those types of listings don’t go through brokers. Because leases in Austria are typically long-term it’s not uncommon to find an apartment with one to two years left on its lease. In this case, you can deal directly with the current renter. 

Furnished or unfurnished apartments?

It’s very uncommon to find a furnished apartment in Austria, even in sublet situations. Unfurnished apartments in Vienna are ideal for those that plan to stay longer. Tenants can equip their apartments with furniture just the way they like it. Very often apartments are already equipped with a kitchen and a bathroom as well as a toilet.

Long-term contracts in furnished apartments range from three to five or ten years. There is also the possibility of indefinite contracts. Long-term tenants need to stay twelve months plus a cancellation period of three months.

Requirements and documents to rent

Renting only requires a signed lease and proof of identity. However, landlords have the right to ask for proof of employment, your visa, or references (in German).

Rental process and rules

Most of the rented flats in Vienna are subject to the Austrian Landlord and Tenant Act MRG. The tenancy law specifies the maximum amount of rent you can be charged for a flat. It also contains regulations concerning fixed-term contracts.

Rental contract and deposit

The security deposit is usually the equivalent of three months’ rent. However, it can be up to the equivalent of six months’ rent. If before you sign your rental contract and move in you know there is a chance you will have to move out due to work before the three years is up, you can ask to have a Diplomatic or Repatriate Clause inserted in the contract. This allows you to leave the property before the three years are up by giving two months’ notice to your landlord. In this case, you would still get your security deposit returned.

Buying a property as a foreigner

For people coming from the European Union, the requirements to buy a property in Austria are very straightforward. There are virtually no restrictions on buying property. However, some Austrian provinces prohibit purchasing real estate in certain areas if someone is not using the property as their permanent residence.

Requirements to buy a property in Austria

Only those possessing an EU residence permit can buy a property in Austria. Citizens of developing countries intending to buy real estate first should apply for approval of the Land Commission. 

House prices in Austria

In Austria, house prices vary throughout the city’s twenty-three districts. The lowest average property price is in the 10th district. The highest average property price is in the expensive 1st district.

Other average house prices in Austria:

  • Graz 165,000 ($182,000)
  • Vienna198,000 EUR ($218,400)
  • Salzburg 269,750 ($297,600)

Get a mortgage in Austria

A mortgage can be obtained regardless of your citizenship status. Loan durations are flexible, and interest rates typically sit between 2.5% and 3.5%. An example of a mortgage offered in Austria is a loan of 70% of a property’s value, with a repayment term of twenty to thirty years.

Process and steps to buy a house in Austria

Once you have found the ideal property for you, the process is as follows:

Make a Formal Offer

Once you find a property that you like, your first step towards purchasing it is to make a formal offer via a real estate agent. 

Sale Contract

Once the seller has agreed to your offer, it’s time to draw up a purchase agreement or sale contract. For this action, you usually need an Austrian solicitor.

Deposit

Once the contract is signed by all parties, the buyer might have to pay 10% of the purchase price as a deposit. This amount is put in a safe account until the property sale goes through.

Register Ownership

When the sale is final, your lawyer should register the transfer of ownership with the local registry office. Transfer and registration duties will also need to be paid.

Registration Period

Property registration costs approximately 4.5% of the property’s value. It takes between nine and 32 days for the property to be registered.

Guide to additional expenses when buying a home in Austria

  • relevant transaction costs (9.4 to 13%), 
  • legal fees, any property transfer tax (at 3.5%), 
  • registration duty (1.1% of the sale price), 
  • the notary fee ( 20% VAT), 
  • real estate agent fees (3 to 4% plus 20% VAT).

Utility companies: Electricity and gas

Before moving into your new place, check if electricity and gas have already been switched off. You need to get meter readings before you start living in your new property to ensure you only pay for the energy you use. Also, propane gas tanks may need to be refilled. In the case of a new property, your utilities may also need to be connected to certain power services for the first time.

Be aware that you might need to have an Austrian bank account to pay for your new utilities. Here are some service providers for electricity and gas:

  • Vienna: Wien Energie
  • Graz: Energie Steiermarkt
  • Linz: Energie AG
  • Salzburg: Salzburg AG

Utilities: Water

Each province has its own water suppliers. For example, Vienna Waterworks is a water supplier in Vienna. You will need to look into the correct water provider depending on the province to which you are moving.

What you need to know

  • To open a new electricity account, you must contact a supplier and provide them with your personal and property details.
  • Unlike many other countries, Austria is able to cover its entire drinking water demand using water from protected groundwater deposits. The water usually comes to consumers in its natural state and with consistently excellent quality levels.
  • Austria’s new government has announced it will equip one million homes with photovoltaic solar panels by 2030, as part of its bid to source all of its electricity from renewable sources by this time.
  • Now, Austria has a target to meet 100% of the electricity needs of its 8.95 million inhabitants in 2030 and neutral carbon emissions by 2040.

expat housing in Austria