Accommodation in Austria
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Expats will find that although their options for accommodation in Austria are limited in variety, they are plentiful in number. Vienna is characterised by older apartments in the classical Austrian style. Farther afield, more housing options present themselves – such as modern luxury apartments and small houses.
Types of accommodation in Austria
Expats moving to Austria will find that the type of property available to them will depend largely on where they choose to relocate to within the country. The majority of new arrivals tend to be found in Vienna. Space is limited in Vienna and most of the accommodation options will be studios or apartments. Houses and cottages are more likely found in the suburbs or rural parts of Austria rather than in city centres. Regardless of the type of accommodation, the standard is generally high, with indoor heating being a standard feature.
Expats are advised that most shared-housing options will be at least partially furnished, while whole apartments are usually unfurnished. If opting for an unfurnished option, shipping furniture to Austria (especially from within the EU) is a viable option, and there are plenty of very good furniture stores around (such as IKEA) where expats will find everything they need.
Finding accommodation in Austria
Renting property in Austria is a reasonably straightforward process, as the vast majority of apartments are rented through real estate agents. Expats should be aware that there are better seasons in which to hunt for accommodation. The beginning of the academic year (September) is a particularly poor time, as the influx of students from all over Europe stiffens the competition.
Unless expats speak fluent German, manoeuvering one's way through property websites or classifieds sections of newspapers will be difficult. Therefore, most new arrivals opt to save time by going through a real estate agent. Not only do real estate agents help expats overcome the language barrier, but they have an intimate knowledge of the local property market, which is helpful in finding a property that meets an individual's requirements. Real estate agents charge the equivalent of up to two months' rent for their services.
Renting accommodation in Austria
Read the lease carefully and, if necessary, have it translated. Leases usually run for at least three years – people living in Vienna tend not to move often because of the expenses involved in finding and securing a lease. Up to three months' worth of rent will be required as a deposit to cover any potential damage to the unit. It is important to keep the unit and any provided appliances undamaged to guarantee that the deposit is returned in full. Leases can be broken after a certain period of time, but a written letter detailing the desire to vacate is needed. Leases generally require that notice is given three months before leaving.
Expats should be advised that, under normal circumstances, they will be responsible for all their utility bills; however, it is possible – and probably desirable – for expats to pay a flat monthly fee to their estate agent that covers their rent and all their utility bills (including broadband internet).