Rent a flat
Standard rental agreements are at least 1–3 years. When renting a flat, you will be asked to sign a written rental agreement that includes a defined termination period (typically 3 months in which either party can cancel the agreement) and the fixed monthly rental fee. The monthly rent cannot be changed for undefined or arbitrary reasons, and any projected increases (such as for inflation) must be specified. Gross rent (“warm rent”) = net rent (“cold rent”) + operating costs (utilities). Note that the contracts are almost always in German.
Rent per square meter depends on various factors such as proximity to transport, infrastructure, residential area and fittings, fixtures and furnishings. Smaller apartments are generally more expensive per square meter than larger ones, and in addition to rent, operating costs (about 25% of the net rent), heating, gas and electricity costs must also be considered.
You are required to present your landlord or rental agency with proof of your last 3-months of salary payments and proof of a current bank account.
NOTE: Most flats come unfurnished, that is, without any furnishings or appliances. Two great sources for furniture/housewares include IKEA www.ikea.com (new) and www.willhaben.at (used).
ADDITIONAL FEES AND SIDE COSTS
DEPOSIT “KAUTION”: A refundable deposit of an amount equal to three monthly rental payments (bank guarantee or transfer to the rental account); this amount is returned when you move out, minus any deductions for damages or unpaid rent.
REAL ESTATE COMMISSION: A real estate commission fee (single payment) paid to an agency that is usually equal to two months rent + VAT. This represents roughly 1% of 36 rental payments (for a three-year lease). Note: It is not mandatory to work with an agency to find a flat. Some popular websites for finding available flats without an agency include www.willhaben.at and www.immobilienscout24.at/. Facebook Marketplace and several Facebook groups also feature flats for rent.
SOME OTHER THINGS TO KNOW:
HEATING, HOT WATER AND ELECTRICITY/GAS COST: approximately €100,00/month. NOTE: You should personally arrange the accounts for heating, hot water and electricity/gas cost. The flat owners can advise you as to which companies to contact.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: An internet-only contract is approximately 30–40€/month (Saturn Media Markt); internet plus TV/Cable service is approximately 40–50€/month. TV registration (GIS) is mandatory in Austria and is charged once per year at the rate of 26.33€ a month. Even if you have a TV and don’t use it, you still have to pay the GIS fees. There is inconsistency regarding whether watching TV on a computer (or, for example, a large monitor connected to a non-cable streaming box) is considered to be having a TV.
GARBAGE SERVICE: Nearly all apartment buildings have onsite trash and paper recycling services. Some offer plastic and glass recycling as well, but most do not due to space limitations. In Vienna, there are usually areas in each neighborhood where large bins can be found for recycling plastic, glass (white and colored), biomass, and clothing. Under NO circumstance can you leave bulk waste on the sidewalk or curb in front of your building. Trash will only be collected when it is in a proper MA48 bin. Special collection services are available for extremely large or bulky items, or you can bring them by car to one of the several designated Mistplatz collection areas in the city. Here, in addition to normal recycling, you can bring everything from old batteries and paint to metal, furniture, mattresses, and electronics. All recycling is no cost; if you bring trash, it is charged at a nominal fee. You can also bring “still-serviceable-but-unwanted” items here for donation.