For members


Renting in Austria: When can my landlord increase the rent, and by how much?

Austria has a closely regulated and therefore relatively affordable rental market, but in recent years rents have risen, sometimes sharply. This is partly due to permitted increases in line with inflation, but in some cases landlords bank on people not knowing their rights.

Renting in Austria: When can my landlord increase the rent, and by how much?
Rental increases are allowed by law in Austria, but are subject to certain conditions. Photo: Jarek Ceborski/Unsplash

There are circumstances in which your landlord is allowed to increase your rent, and these usually depend on the type of building you’re in.

If your rental is covered by Austria’s Tenancy Act, usually applying to older buildings, then you have more protections.

For an Altbau (built before 1945 or 1953, depending on a few factors), there are caps on the maximum rent per square metre which are set for each region.

These are updated every two years, although the raises were put on hold during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and your landlord is allowed to increase the rent to reflect any change to these upper limits, as long as your rental contract includes a clause about this (sometimes called a Wertsicherungsklausel or ‘value retention clause’). In some cases, your landlord can charge more than these amounts based on the location or condition of the apartment.

Your landlord usually needs to give you two weeks’ notice of any increase, and a raise can’t be applied retrospectively.

If your rental contract is not subject to the MRG, then your landlord has more freedom to raise the rent. There is no set notice period and they also have the possibility of a retrospective increase, unless this possibility is excluded in the contract.

This is one reason why you always need to read your rental contract carefully when you first receive it. Many landlords will include a clause allowing them to increase the rent in line with inflation, often based on the Consumer Price Index (Verbraucherpreisindex). For example, the contract may state that if the price index changes by more than a set amount (often 3 percent or 5 percent), the landlord can adjust the rent accordingly.

In this case, the contract should specify which index will be used to calculate any change in rent, as well as provisions such as when the landlord needs to notify you. There are several organisations in Austria that will review your rental contract before you sign, some for free and some as a service for paying members, and they can also give you help if you’re given a rent increase that you don’t think is legitimate.

It is also possible for landlords to specify in their contract that rent will rise by a set amount at a set interval, as long as the rental isn’t regulated by the MRG. So for example, the contract might state that the cost will increase by €50 every year. In this case, the change has to apply for at least one year once it comes into effect.

Even if you’re not covered by the MRG, it doesn’t mean the landlord has completely free rein. A law called the ABGB, Austria’s general civil code, still applies and this means the price charged must be “proportionate” to the service provided.

READ ALSO: How to navigate the Austrian rental market

Another situation in which your landlord may want to increase your rent is if they carry out renovations or refurbishments which increase the value of the property. In this scenario, they usually need to apply to the district court who will decide if the renovations are necessary and add value, and the landlord should prove that rental income over ten years won’t cover the costs — otherwise it is possible for the landlord and tenant to come to an agreement together.

If another person moves into the property — for example if your partner moves in with you or if you have a child — your landlord is not generally allowed to increase the rent as a result.

Note that there are two other set of laws around rent increases: ‘category rent’ (Kategoriemietzins) which applies to leases concluded before 1994, and ‘reasonable rent’ (angemessene Mietzins) which applies only in specific circumstances like business premises and apartments in listed buildings. We haven’t included these in this summary because most foreign residents in Austria will have rental contracts subject to the more usual provisions listed above.

Useful links

Mietervereinigung (Tenant’s association which gives advice and legal support to paying members)

Mieterhilfe (free advice service for tenants in Vienna, offered in German only)

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For members


Living in Austria: What can I do about noisy neighbours?

Almost everyone has experienced noise from a neighbour at some point, but what options do you have in Austria when the sound starts to become a problem?

Living in Austria: What can I do about noisy neighbours?

The general rule regarding noise within apartment buildings is that noise shouldn’t exceed what is normal for the local area.

That leaves things quite vague, and means that noise complaints need to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Noise disturbance is not an unusual issue in Austria, and particularly in Vienna which is densely populated and has a high number of houses built before the 1920s — beautiful, but not always blessed with the best sound insulation.

But you do have recourse if a noisy neighbour is affecting your life. In fact, Austrian law takes your right to peace and quiet fairly seriously.

READ ALSO: Do I have to repaint the walls when I leave a rental in Austria?

Most apartment buildings have a set of household rules which all tenants agree to when signing their rental contracts, so as a first step you can check what these say. For example, it might state that if tenants are going to have a party, they should inform neighbours beforehand and not do this more than once a quarter.

There is often a ‘quiet period’ (Ruhezeiten) which may be set by the individual property company, and/or a municipal order may apply — there’s no national standard so you need to check what applies in your area.

In Vienna, the local ordinance sets 10pm-6am as a quiet period, while on Graz the quiet period is as long as 7pm to 7am on weekdays, while Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck also regulate ‘Mittagsruhe’ or ‘lunchtime quiet period’ around the middle of the day as well as having special rules about being quiet on Sundays and public holidays for the whole day.

In general, it should be easier to ask someone to be quiet (or even enforce your right through legal channels if needed) if the noise is happening during these rest periods. At these times, you and your neighbours should avoid noise which is considered normal at other times: that could include running the washing machine, mowing the lawn, DIY work, playing a musical instrument, but also loud conversations with friends, loud TV or radio, or leaving a dog barking or child shouting for an excessive length of time.

Outside the quiet periods, establishing which noises are ‘excessive’ can be more difficult. Problems can arise when people need quiet outside these specified times, for example if you’re working from home or need to sleep before working a night shift. 

What counts as a ‘disturbing’ level of noise then depends on what is standard for the area, and there is no specific volume that is considered as a threshold. Volume, frequency, duration and the cause of the noise would all be taken into account. In order to make a successful legal complaint, you’d need to show that the noise was outside the norm for the area and that it was enough to affect your quality of life.

People living in urban areas may be expected to put up with a higher level of noise than would be allowed in rural areas, and the type of noise that is permissible also varies depending on location. The Supreme Court has previously rules that a rooster crowing, for example, is normal in a rural area.

Playing a musical instrument like the piano for up to about two hours during the day is generally considered normal as has been established by several court rulings, but louder instruments such as drums or trumpets may have different limits.

READ ALSO: Altbau vs Neubau: What’s the difference and which should I rent in Austria?

Speaking to the offending neighbour is almost always the best first step if you’re affected by loud noises; it will often be possible to resolve the situation without escalating it further if you let them know how it’s affecting you.

If speaking to your neighbour doesn’t resolve the problem, the next step is to contact the housing company (Hausverwaltung).

After that, you can take your complaint to the police. Noise pollution is an offence that carries a fine in Austria, the exact amount ranging depending on the region and starting at €700 in Vienna.

As a final note, if the walls are so thin that you can hear even ordinary movements and sounds from your neighbours, you should contact your landlord or property management company, because building codes state that walls should be thick enough that sound or vibrations caused by ordinary use should not affect neighbours.