Price shock for old building rents in Austria! The rent club hits hard again in April. The (Arbeiterkammer) AK sounds the alarm: “For many, it’s getting tighter!”
The subsequent burden is just around the corner: housing is already getting more expensive again! The AK calculated: Starting from April 1, the guideline value rents will rise around 8,6 percent – for rent are the average additional costs of approximately 490 euros in the year. “Everyone has to live, so in the best welfare state in the world, housing is affordable for everyone,” says Thomas Ritt, head of the AK Department of Municipal & Housing. The AK demands a one-time rent increase per year plus a rent cap of two percent and an end to time limits. That’s quick and gets the job done.
Based on the annual inflation published by Statistics Austria, the AK has calculated that rent will rise in April by a hefty 8.6 percent, affecting around 776,000 tenants in Austria. “They have additional costs of around 162 million euros due to this inflation,” says Ritt. For a tenant in an old private building, that’s an average additional cost of just under 490 euros a year across Austria (for an average apartment size of 65 square meters). A family in a 90-square-meter apartment will pay about 620 euros more annually in rent in Vienna and about 960 euros more in Vorarlberg (if surcharges are added to the benchmark, it becomes even more expensive).
“For many, it’s getting tighter and tighter with all the inflation – and now another hefty rent increase. Young people,, in particular,,, can hardly keep up. In the best welfare state in the world, housing is affordable for all,” says Ritt. “Therefore,,, we demand: Rents should not be increased more often than once a year, and the increase should be limited to two percent-until there is a major long overdue rent law reform. In addition, we want the fixed-term leases gone.”
And further: “This can be implemented quickly and relieves tenants enormously. Three out of four new leases in the private segment are now only fixed-term, quite apart from the unauthorized surcharges on new, fixed-term old rents, which make housing very expensive. And those who sue for their excessive rent, and thus their rights, must also fear that the contract will not be renewed. Many therefore do not do so. So law becomes an empty shell!”
Indicative rents in April
Usually, rents are adjusted for inflation every two years on April 1. In 2021, the government suspended the adjustment due to the urging of AK and Mietervereinigung to relieve tenants during the Corona pandemic and postponed it to 2022. Rents rose by almost six percent last year. The next rent increase is due (in April for new contracts, from May for current agreements). The Ministry of Justice will publish the rise in March.
Anyone who signed a lease in, say, an old private building – built before 1945 – after March 1, 1994, is subject to the guideline value system. The increase, therefore, affects all contracts signed in the past 27 years, as they (often) have corresponding adjustment clauses in the contract and new contracts. The guideline values vary depending on the federal state.
What to do if you owe rent and energy costs?
➤ Wohnschirm helps with rent and also energy cost debts: https://wohnschirm.at/
➤ Apply for housing assistance: In Vienna, you can apply at MA 50 if you have a certain minimum income: Tel.: +43 1 4000-74880, e-mail: email@example.com. In all other federal provinces, the respective office of the provincial government provides information on this.
➤ Private old building rent too high: Check your rent with the City of Vienna’s guideline rent calculator.
Are you paying too much? Apply to the housing law arbitration board MA 50: Tel.: +43 1 4000-744 98, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. In other federal provinces, tenant organizations and district courts provide information.
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