Whether you are renting an apartment in Vienna through a real estate agent or from the owner him-/herself, finding the ideal apartment when moving to a new city is always a challenge. Firstly you don’t know the city and its good areas. Secondly, there is the language barrier. And thirdly, there is everything else – from maybe moving your own furniture to buying new one, finding an ideal location for your children, dealing with state authorities and so much more.
With this short introduction we hope to provide you a starting point.
Old vs. New
Rentwise there can be a financial difference whether you rent an apartment in an old building or a new one. Per definition all buildings built in Vienna before 8 May 1945 are considered old buildings (Altbau). Those apartments located in a so-called Altbau (old building) are bound by the Richtwert, which is a price parameter that determines the height of the rent. Every federal state in Austria calculates a different one. For Vienna it is currently (as of April 2019) 5,81 Euro per sq.m. A landlord can add to this price depending on the location of the apartment, its amenities (e.g. is there a terrace), the condition the property is in and location of the apartment within the apartment building (e.g. what floor, whether it is facing the street or a courtyard).
Further, apartments of this type are categorized from A to D with A being the best and D being an apartment with the lowest standards. Essentially, these categories were defined more than 50 years ago and what is considered normal today is all category A.
Those apartments that were built after 1945 are considered new buildings and are not bound by these categories and by the standard rent price (the Richtwert). But of course, all landlords are in competition when it comes to renting their apartments. Thus, one can say that the main price factor in Vienna is the location of the apartment in the city.
Eventually, one can estimate a price range from 10 to 20,- Euro per sq.m. depending on the location of the apartment within the city, the location of the apartment inside the apartment building and its amenities. The larger the apartment the lower the sq.m. price gets.
Before renting an apartment in Vienna
In Vienna most people live in apartments – many of which are located in old buildings. There are also city-owned apartments (the so-called Gemeindebau) where people need permission to rent an apartment (depending on their financial situation). At the outskirts people may also rent small houses or duplexes. Before renting an apartment there are few things that need to be kept in mind.
After you have decided where you want to live in Vienna you need to be clear whether you want to rent from a real estate agent or from the owner him-/herself. The advantage of a real estate agent is certainly the advice you get from him/her on the procedure of renting an apartment in Vienna. That includes some legal advice plus the fact that the real estate agent is a quasi neutral facilitator. The disadvantage of a real estate agent is certainly that s/he charges a commission. In Vienna the commission is in most cases two monthly rents plus 20% taxes.
If you decide not to use a real estate agent and renting from an apartment owner directly it might be a good idea to consult a lawyer – especially when it comes to the rental contract. Rental contracts in Vienna are in German.
In addition to the possible commission of the real estate agent you also need to take into account a deposit against damages which usually adds up to 3 monthly rents.
So when signing a lease you might need to provide the money for the real estate agent’s commission, the deposit plus one month rent since rent in Vienna is usually paid in advance. Essentially the rent for an apartment consists of the net rent plus utility costs which might include water, service costs for the building and heating depending on the type of heating (gas, long-distance heating, etc.). In addition to these costs you need to consider electricity which is, depending on your individual costs, charged monthly or quarterly.