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The following pages are meant to provide help for finding housing. Due to the comprehensive range of different apartments and the multitude of individual factors which need to be taken into account when looking for a place to live, the following information must be considered merely a survey of this topic.

In Austria, there are a number of obligatory registrations concerning housing that need to be heeded.

Property Ownership

The acquisition of property must be registered in the government land register. It is recommended that you seek a lawyer [Notar] (leading to an English site) or [Rechtsanwalt] to advise you and to help carry out this procedure.

When purchasing an apartment or a house you should calculate approximately 10 percent of the purchase price for additional costs (e.g, notary, taxes, official administration, financing fees, estate agent commissions).  


In urban areas there is a greater percentage of rental apartments.

The law on rental apartments differentiates between two types of rent relationships, a primary leasehold [Hauptmiete] and a sublet [Untermiete]. The main differences are basically determined by the amount of the rent, as well as the scope of protection against being given notice to leave the apartment.

A primary leasehold [Hauptmiete] is created when a tenancy agreement [Mietvertrag] is drawn up between the person seeking housing and

  • the owner of the building,
  • the owner of the apartment,
  • the tenant or lessor of the entire building,
  • the future proprietor of the apartment whose ownership has not yet been entered into the land register.

A sublet [Untermiete] is created when a tenancy agreement [Mietvertrag] is established between a primary leaseholder and the person wanting to rent.

There is also a difference between limited and unlimited tenancy agreements.

In the case of a limited tenancy agreement [Mietvertrag] there is a legal minimum term of three years; but no legal maximum term. If a limited tenancy agreement [Mietvertrag] is extended, the legal minimum term of three years also applies.

The tenant, however, is not bound to the legal extension of three years. She/he can cancel the tenancy agreement [Mietvertrag] at any time, bearing the three months’ notice in mind.


Students Housing

Student Apartments

The Austrian Student Union (ÖH) [Österreichische Hochschülerschaft (ÖH] of your university [Universität] provides information on the apartments listed in this section.

Students have the opportunity to apply for a moderately priced apartment through the Non-profit Student Housing Service (SWS) [Studentenwohnungsservice SWS]. Appropriate apartments in older buildings including furniture can be rented from the SWS for one year, which may be extended as long as positive marks are achieved.

Students are required to show adequate study progress at the university (freshmen only need to present their A-levels), as well as their income situation and/or that of their parents.

Communal Apartments

A tenancy agreement [Mietvertrag] for communal apartments can either be limited or unlimited.

The following types of tenancy agreements [Mietvertrag] are possible:

  • One person enters into a tenancy agreement [Mietvertrag], and the others move in as co-tenants. Disadvantage: If the person who negotiated the contract moves out, the tenancy agreement [Mietvertrag] might not be transferred to another member of the commune and everybody may have to move out.
  • All members of the commune sign the tenancy agreement [Mietvertrag], and thus enjoy equal legal protection as tenants. If one member of the commune moves out, this does not change the tenancy agreement [Mietvertrag] for the rest of the group. Students should, however, make sure that the rights of the person moving out are transferred to the remaining tenants.
  • Separate tenancy agreements [Mietvertrag] concerning the rooms in which the individual members of the commune live are made with the landlord.

Student Dormitories

In all cities with a university, there are a number of student dormitories [Studentenheime] which are built and administered by various associations, foundations, and public corporations.

Students must register for student dormitories one semester before they begin to study at a university.  

More Information

Additional information can be found on the German website at HELP.gv.at.

Last update: 05.09.2017
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