Finding accomodation

When you are looking for accomodiations, it is a good idea to think about your wishes as far as location, size and costs. A few things to consider when searching:

  • What finances are available to you now and in the future?
  • What will your fixed monthly costs (such as one-off payments, rent, monthly utilities, heating, electricity, internet) be?
  • Are you entitled to financial subventions >>?
  • How long will you need the apartment for?
  • How many people will reside in the residence?
  • Will your family grow within the next few years?
  • Which rooms are essential?
  • Do you want a fixed term rental agreement or an indefinite rental agreement?
  • What should be in the immediate neighbourhood (job, supermarket, kindergarten, school, public transport, leisure facilities, etc.)?
Reminder...

In addition to rental and owner-occupied apartments, there is a combined form (Mietkaufwohnung), in which you first rent an apartment and then buy it later. There is also the possibility of renting or buying a house or staying at a hostel or dormitory for the first time.

  • Housing companies or cooperative housing societies (see "Wohnungsgenossenschaften" >>)
  • Private property developer
  • Real estate agents or real estate offices
  • Private market (newspaper advertisements, internet, colleagues, friends & acquaintances)

 

 

Useful websites

Tips on how to search for an apartment/house

  • read the advertisements regularly (in newspapers, online)
  • check billboards in supermarkets, municipality offices, universities, etc.
  • arrange an appointment to see the apartment as quickly as possible, since low-cost apartments are in high demand
  • think of the fee that real estate agents charge for their service

 

If you plan to stay permanently it is a good idea to sign up for an apartment with one of the housing associations. Generally you have to wait for a number of years to get an apartment. Therefore, it is possible to simultaneously register at different housing associations. If there are any registration fees, they will be refunded when you pay your first rent or withdraw from the registration list. Typically you cannot choose the size of the apartment that is assigned to you since it depends largely on the numer of  people who are going to live in it.

For persons who urgently need an apartment the private housing market is the place to turn to. Generally the prices for apartments are higher there and the rental contracts are for a limited period of time only.

If you rent or buy an apartment or house, you have to pay a number of one-time costs:

  • Deposit (Kaution)
    The amount of the deposit is usually a matter of agreement and amounts to two or three monthly rental payments. It has to be paid by the tenant and covers the costs in case the tenant does not pay his monthly rent or damages the apartment. If the apartment is given back to the owner in the condition agreed to in the rental contract, the owner has to return the deposit. To save disputes over deductions from the deposit, you should record the condition of the apartment/house accurately (e.g. through photos) at the move-in and move-out.
  • Agent's fee (Vermittulungsprovision)
    Often a real estate agent finds an apartment for a tenant and is paid a fee for his/her services. Always ask beforehand whether a fee will be charged and, if so, how high it will be.
  • Fee-Charging (Vergebührung)
    A fee must be paid to your local tax office for a rental agreement. The amount generally depends on the cost of the rent. It is usually paid by the tenant.


Every month
the following costs have to be paid for a rental apartment:

  • Rent and operating costs
    The operating expenses are for sewage, water, garbage collection, etc. The rent and operating expenses always have to be paid for the following month at the beginning of the month.
  • Costs of electricity and heating
    The expenses for electricity and heating depend on how much you use. They are paid in installments, where once a year the customer receives an annual invoice on which the charges for the following year are determined. A price comparison from different providers would be worthwile.


Additional costs:

  • Television and radio
    Every houshold has to register their television and radio at the "Gebühren Info Service / GIS >>" and pay a fee for it (monthly, quarterly or yearly). If the income of the household is low, an exemption from this fee can be obtained. Extra costs can incur for cable TV access.
  • Internet
    Additional costs incur for access to the internet. Check the offers of the different providers before signing a contract.
  • Household insurance
    It is important to take out household insurance for an apartment. If the apartment is damaged by water or fire, the insurance covers the costs. If you do not have household insurance, you are responsible for the expenses of repairs. Consult an insurance broker about household insurance that suits your needs, or check www.durchblicker.at >>
  • Parking
    Sometimes you have to pay extra for a parking place. Some cities also offer resident parking cards (Bewohnerparkkarte). You can park your car in the short term parking zones in your immediate residential area for an annual fee.


Budget - how much should you expect to pay:

Prices depend on locaton and on conditions of the apartment.

  • Student home >>
    About € 300 to € 400 per month including electricity, water, heating, TV and internet
  • Apartments for rent
    About € 12 per m², depending whether it is a new or old building, the location, number of rooms and if a balcony or a lift are available. Most of the time you have to pay extra for electricity, water, heating, TV and internet. Apartments are usually unfurnished, but often you can purchase existing furniture (especially kitchen appliances) from the previous tenant.
  • Houses for rent
    About € 12 to € 20 per m², depending on whether it is a new or old building, the location and the size of the house.

Rental contract

You should obtain your rental agreement in written form. Only then are you legally protected and can among other things apply for financial assistance, for example housing benefits (Wohnbeihilfe >>). Rental agreements can be limited (e.g. for three years) or unlimited. If  the rental agreement is for a certain period of time, make sure that you, the renter, have the possibility of giving notice if you decide to vacate the apartment/house.

Please read the rental contract carefully before signing. Some things to consider:

  • Ask if a condition is unclear
  • Keep a written record of all oral agreements
  • Name and address of the landlord should be mentioned in the contract
  • A description of the rental property in detail, including any extras (e.g. storage, car parking space)
  • Be sure there is a list of any previous damage to the property
  • Define clearly the start date of rent, duration and amount of rent
  • Confirm all costs (deposit, transfer, etc.) in writing
  • Ask for a copy of the rental agreement

Termination of rent

You should terminate your rental contract in written form in accordance with the cancellation period. When you handover the apartment/house in proper condition, you get your deposit back.


Housing benefits

EEA citizens and Austrian citizens can apply for housing benefits from the Province of  Upper Austria under certain conditions. Citizens of third countries can apply for housing benefits if:

  • they have had their primary residence in Austria for more than five years legally and without interruption
  • their earnings are subject to Austrian income tax or they have paid money into the compulsory social insurance in Austria as the result of a previous employment and are now deriving benefits from it.

Further information about housing benefits can be found on the website of the Province of  Upper Austria >>.


Estate agents

Estate agents have a good overview of apartments and houses on the market and can help you to find suitable accomodations quickly. In general, estate agents charge two months rent for unlimited rental contracts and limited contracts with a duration of over three years. If your rental contract is limited to a maximum of three years, they are only allowed to charge one months rent.
You can get a list of English speaking estate agents at the Welcome2Upper Austria Service Center.


Mieterschutzverband Oberösterreich >>

The Mieterschutzverband provides paid professional support to tenants with difficulties regarding renting. Please do not hesitate to contact come2upperaustria@biz-up.at if you need contact information.

The Welcome2Upper Austria Service Center is happy to assist you with further questions!