Guide to Austrian tenancy law and tenant rights

Discover your rights and obligations as a tenant and ensure a fair and secure tenancy in Austria.


5 minute read
Updated on 19 Oct 2023

Booking your dream rental in one of Austria’s best cities can be thrilling, but navigating the rental contract and understanding your rights as a tenant is crucial. Knowing Austrian tenancy law, ensures a stress-free living experience as an expat.

This article will guide you through various rental contracts, subletting options, contract termination, and tenant rights, empowering you for a confident stay. So let's dive into it!

Rental contracts in Austria

The first step in securing your rental is signing the rental contract. Rental agreements in Austria vary, so it's vital to grasp the different types and their implications. These agreements specify the type of tenancy (e.g., residential or commercial), the duration of the tenancy period, and the agreed-upon rent (referred to as Miete or Mietzins in German).

You’ll come across 2 types of tenancy agreements (Mietvertrag)in Austria:

1. Open-ended tenancy agreement (unbefristeter Mietvertrag):

  • No specific time limit; valid until terminated by you or the landlord.
  • Minimum legal notice period is 1 month, but the contract may require a longer notice.
  • If you inform your landlord on, for example, the 15th of May, you can move out by the end of the following month (June).
  • Landlords can terminate this agreement only with a valid reason, such as non-payment of rent.

2. Fixed-term tenancy agreement (befristeter Mietvertrag):

  • Minimum duration is 3 years, extendable with subsequent extensions lasting at least 3 years.
  • You have the legal right to terminate before the 3 years are up, but only after the first year ends.
  • Providing a 3-month notice is mandatory for termination, starting from the end of the month you inform your landlord.
  • Early termination allows you to move out at the earliest by the end of the 16th month.

Your rights as a tenant in Austria

Austria's tenancy law offers robust protection for tenants, outlining their rights and responsibilities during the rental period. As a tenant in Austria, you have the right to:

  • Equal status in tenant selection: Discrimination based on nationality or being an unmarried partner is strictly prohibited. However, under certain circumstances, discrimination related to being a student or having a short-term work contract may be allowed.

  • Privacy of personal details: You have the right to decline sharing personal details, and questions about sexual orientation or plans to have children are strictly prohibited.

  • No fees for tenant assessment: Charging a "reservation fee" is illegal in Austria.

  • Peaceful enjoyment of the property: You have the right to enjoy the property without undue interference or disruption. If disturbances from third parties persist and the landlord takes no action, it can be considered a defect.

  • Rent reduction for excessive noise: In case of excessive noise, you should try to resolve the issue with your landlord. If unresolved, you have the option to request a reduction in rent. To substantiate a legal complaint successfully, you must show that the noise departs from area norms and significantly affects your quality of life.

  • Requesting repairs: The landlord must fix any unusable appliances or perform necessary maintenance work on the property as agreed in the contract. If your requests are overlooked, you can seek advice from the Austrian tenant association.

  • Making minor changes: You can make minor alterations or improvements to the property without the landlord's approval.

  • Keeping small animals: You can keep small animals like goldfish, hamsters, or turtles without the landlord's consent. For medium-sized animals like cats or dogs, you need permission from your landlord.

  • Having guests: While generally landlords do not limit guests, we advise you to review your rental contract and house rules before hand. At the least, you should ensure that you do not cause too much disturbance to roommates or neighbours.

Your responsibilities as a tenant in Austria

Together with the tenancy rights, you’ll also have certain responsibilities when renting a property in Austria, such as:

  • Pay rent on time: Timely payment of the agreed-upon rent is your responsibility per the rental contract. To make sure you don’t forget, set up a direct debit from your Austrian bank account.

  • Maintain the property: You’re responsible for keeping the property clean, livable and handling minor repairs that aren't the landlord's responsibility.

  • Report defects Promptly inform the landlord or property management company about any defects or damages that require attention.

  • Use the property responsibly: Use the property in a manner that doesn't cause damage, disturbance or violate any legal or contractual obligations, such as adhering to pet, noise, or smoking restrictions.

  • Update contact information: Inform the landlord of any changes to your contact information for effective communication.

  • Allow property access: Allow reasonable access to the property for inspection, maintenance, and repairs, with proper notice, except in emergencies.

  • Cover damages: If any damage occurs to the property during your stay, you’re responsible for covering the costs of repairs or restoration.

  • Return the apartment to its original state: When moving out, ensure the apartment is in the same condition it was in when you moved in.

Taking good care of the property during your tenancy will spare you additional charges at the end of your lease.

Termination of your rental contract procedure

Terminating a rental contract in Austria requires a proper procedure to ensure a smooth process. Follow these steps:

  1. Review the terms and conditions of your rental agreement and take note of the correct notice period and any other requirements for terminating your tenancy is crucial.

  2. Compose a termination letter addressed to your landlord. Clearly state your intention to terminate the rental agreement and include the date you wish the tenancy to end.

  3. Deliver the termination letter to your landlord either in person or through a reliable means of delivery, such as registered mail. This ensures that there is proper documentation of the termination communication.

  4. Make sure to keep a copy of the termination letter for your own records. A copy will be useful for reference and avoid any potential misunderstandings later on.

Can my landlord evict me?

The legal concept in Austria, known as Kündigungsschutz, protects tenants against unjustified eviction initiated by landlords. According to the law, landlords can only terminate an existing tenancy agreement with a legally recognized valid reason, such as non-payment of rent, severe damage to the property, or any other breach of rental terms.

Moreover, landlords are required to provide proper notice to the tenants, giving them sufficient time to find alternative accommodation. This notice period may vary based on the terms of the rental agreement and Austrian tenancy laws.

So as soon as you sign the rental agreement, you can be sure that you’re protected from sudden and unfair evictions.

Is subletting legal in Austria?

Yes, you can sublet your rental property in Austria if you get approval from your landlord. Luckily, the landlord can’t reject your request for sublease without a valid reason. So, remember to communicate openly and responsibly with your landlord to facilitate a smooth and compliant subletting process.

As soon as you get permission from the landlord to sublease the property, there’re some rules that you need to follow:

  • You can sublease the property for a maximum of 6 months.
  • You must occupy the property after the sublease period is over.
  • You can't charge a subtenant more than you pay yourself.
  • You must sign a contract between you and the subtenant.
  • Neither you nor the subtenant can cancel the contract.
  • You can only sublet to a person sub-renting the property for professional or holiday purposes.

Tips for renting in Austria

Learning about rental laws in a new country can be frustrating, but these tips will spare you some of the headaches:

  1. Know the tenancy law: Learn about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and make sure your property follows the Austrian Tenancy Law.
  2. Clarify rental rules: Before signing, discuss any rules such as pet ownership or smoking.
  3. Document damages: During the inspection, take a thorough tour of the apartment and document any existing damages with pictures.
  4. Check safety certificates: Make sure things like smoke detectors and gas systems have the right safety certificates.
  5. Understand the fusebox: Find out where the fusebox is and how it works to be informed of any potential issues.

For property viewings in Austria, having a dependable German translator is also a good idea. If translation support isn't accessible or you're renting from abroad, HousingAnywhere, presented entirely in English, ensures effortless understanding of property details and seamless communication with property providers.

So whether you’re moving into a new place or want to move away from a tricky renting situation, keep these renter rights and responsibilities in mind.

This article is for informational purposes only and you cannot derive any legal rights from this. Please consult the appropriate authorities for the latest developments.

Please reach out to if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the content on this page.

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