Acquisition of Property
The purpose of the following pages is to provide assistance for anyone planning to acquire a property or an apartment in Austria.
- Inspect the Zoning and Development Plans
- Extract from the Government Land Register before the Acquisition of a Property
- Purchase Contract
- Approval Procedure for Third-Country-Citizens
- Exemptions from the Mandatory Approvals (EU- and EEA-Citizens)
- Registering the Property Right with the Government Land Register (Registration)
- Supply and Disposal
- More Information
Zoning and development plans are available for public inspection at the Municipal Offices [Gemeindeämter] (in Vienna: Municipal Department 21 [Magistratsabteilung 21]) indicating whether and in what form building activities are allowed on the property of your choice.
The Municipal Offices will also inform you about where and whether the zoning and development plans for any specific location are available in print. Any such plans can then be purchased for a small fee.
Before purchasing a property you should always inspect the government land register for any legal requirements, rights and restrictions including the seller’s ownership title, mortgages, liens,
pre-emption rights, rights of way, canals, lines, brooks.
For this purpose you can obtain a current extract from the government land register about any Austrian property available from every district court [Bezirksgericht] or mapping office [Vermessungsamt].
Notaries public [Notarinnen/Notare], lawyers [Rechtsanwältinnen/Rechtsanwälte] and other people or authorities dealing with the transaction of property also have access to the property database.
The government land register is also available on the Internet! Requests, however, are not free. Please access the respective billing centres via the website of the Federal Ministry of Justice [Bundesministerium für Justiz].
Many legal and complex issues are at stake when it comes to purchasing properties which is why we advise you to commission a notary public [Notarin/Notar] or a lawyer [Rechtsanwältin/Rechtsanwalt] to draw up the contract and proceed with land register registration.
On principle, it is also possible that you draw up your own purchase contract (including a consent to the transfer of ownership [Aufsandungserklärung]) based on model agreements and then go together with the other party to a notary public [Notarin/Notar] or a district court [Bezirksgericht] to have your signatures officially certified.
The Purchasing Procedure
You must at first consider the particularities of Austrian law for the acquisition and loss of citizen rights (property, lien, servitudes etc.).
- Principal of Registering with the Land Register
The ownership of a property is not obtained by signing the purchase contract, taking possession of the property, and paying the purchase price. What is rather needed for acquiring ownership is your application to have your property right entered, i.e. the registration in the land register as the new proprietor.
- Principal of Priority
The order of registration in the government land register is determined by the date of the receipt of the respective application. The reason why you should inspect the land register in detail before the purchase (and in particular before transferring the purchase price) is that all rights entered in the order of registration before the purchaser’s property right is registered must generally be assumed by her/him or are effective upon her/him.
Approval Procedure for Third-Country-Citizens
If foreigners purchase a right to a property or an apartment, a mandatory approval is required. Citizens of an EU- or an EEA-member state are excluded from the approval and enjoy equal status as local citizens. The approval procedure only has to be done by third-country-citizens.
Since more detailed requirements for the acquisition of property by foreigners are provided in the Acquisition of Property by Foreigners Act of the individual provinces, only an overview of the procedure is given at this point.
You should directly contact the competent office for the acquisition of real estate where they can obtain all the information on province-specific terms and precise details ( e.g. deadlines). You can also learn whether the demand for approval should be submitted to this very office or rather to the competent municipal authorities (e.g. in Vorarlberg).
Requests are approved if the transaction is of cultural, social, or macroeconomic interest and no national interests are negatively affected.Responsible Authority Required Documents
- Request for approval
(depending on the authority: application form or informal request)
- Contract or draft (copy)
- Declaration on the use of the property
- Surveyor's plan
- Current abstract from the land register
(the land register is available for inspection in the courts, at the notaries, and on the internet)
- If the purchaser is a legal entity: in addition
- Current extract from the company register
- Company deed
- Trade licence
- If the purchaser is an association: in addition
- Extract from the register of associations and the association statutes
- Proof of citizenship for the members of the association board
- Proof of income (if requested)
The amount of the fees differs from province to province.
Contact Addresses in the Provinces
On the following pages you will find contact addresses and/or detailed information on the respective terms applying in the provinces:
- Carinthia [Kärnten]
- Lower Austria [Niederösterreich]
- Upper Austria [Oberösterreich]
- Styria [Steiermark]
- Tyrol [Tirol]
- Vienna [Wien]
Citizens of member states of the European Union (EU) or citizens of signatory parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) enjoy the same status as Austrian citizens and therefore do not require a mandatory approval in order to purchase a right to a property or an apartment.
In order for property rights to be constituted an application for the constitution of property right must be filed with the competent land register court [Bezirksgericht].
This requires an application to the government land register including, for instance, the following data:
- Exact definition of the property
- Applicant's first and last name and
- Family status and domicile
In general, the application must be submitted in writing – together with the required documents to be attached – to the competent district court [Bezirksgericht]. Since 1 November 2012, land register applications can be declared orally at court in simple cases (applications for cancellation [Löschungsanträge], applications for change of name [Anträge um Namensänderungen], simple transfers of property).
As the right wording of the application for constitution of property right is prone to mistakes due to the strict formal requirements of the land register legislation and the subsequent risk of a rectification or a decline we advise all applicants to use the services of a notary [Notarin/Notar] or a lawyer [Rechtsanwältin/Rechtsanwalt] for wording and registering the contract.Required Documents
- Purchase agreement with the signatures of all contracting parties certified by either a court or notary
- For freehold flats (if the property is meant to be registered): sometimes required:
- Statement by the building authority or an expert report on the existence of independent freehold flat units
- Report on the useful value by a civil engineer or a sworn court expert or the legally valid decision on the determination of the useful value by the settlement body or the district court [Bezirksgericht] (in Vienna: Municipal Department 50 [Magistratsabteilung 50])
- Possible order for the intended disposal or pawn
- Statement on in-house calculation or confirmation of no debts by the Inland Revenue Office [Finanzamt]
- Possible statement of cancellation or agreement of financing banks, pre-emptors or others
- Possible approval from the competent office for the acquisition of real estate [Grundverkersbehörde] (Please note: There are nine real estate acts, meaning that there are different regulations for each province concerning foreign ownership, agriculture and forestry properties or pre-emptive municipals)
- Proof of citizenship [Staatsbürgerschaftsnachweis], proof of citizenship of the EU [Nachweis der EU Staatsangehörigkeit]
- Fee for the application for registration in the land register: 42 Euro
(to be paid into the court account by ATM card, credit card, or electronic debit)
If the application fee is not paid electronically: 59 Euro
- Additionally to the acquisition of property and to get the permission to build:1.1 percent of the property value. This registration fee is billed by the court [Bezirksgericht] in hindsight and can be paid by payment form. If the fee is paid by direct debiting [Abbuchung] or by redemption [Einziehung], it is reduced by 21 Euro.
- Additionally 1.2 percent of the mortgage total if a right of lien is also entered into the land register along with the property (e.g. if the acquisition is financed via a loan). This registration fee is also billed by the district court [Bezirksgericht] in hindsight and can be paid by payment form.
All properties scheduled for development must feature supply and disposal of the following
- Water (water utility)
- Power (power utility)
- Gas (gas utility)
- District heating (municipal authorities)
- Telephone (Telekom)
- Waste water (municipal authorities)
- Garbage (municipal authorities)
All properties that feature supply and disposal usually are expensive, because the costs for supply and disposal have already been included in the sales price by the previous owner. For more information please contact the building authorities.
Additional information can be found on the German website at HELP.gv.at.
HELP Editorial Staff