Austrian rents are about to become more expensive (again), as The Local reported. Another round of rent increases is due in July, with the so-called “category rents” expected to rise by approximately 5.5 per cent.
This would mark the fourth increase within 15 months and significantly burden about 135,000 households affected by the changes. In addition, other homes will also see a cascading effect leading to higher operating costs for nearly all renters in Austria.
The Chamber of Labour (AK), the Austrian Federation of Trade Unions (ÖGB), and the tenants’ association are expressing alarm and renewing their call to implement rent control measures, as reported.
New one-off payment for renters
Because of the increases, the Austrian capital Vienna has approved a new “Gemeindebau-Bonus“, which should provide relief for hundreds of thousands of Viennese currently living in the social apartments (Gemeindewohnungen).
The €55 million payment is set to come to renters in September 2023, according to a decision by the Vienna City Council on Tuesday, May 30th.
“Community building in Vienna has always stood for social cohesion. Through the multi-stage Gemeindebau-Bonus, the City of Vienna and Wiener Wohnen show what it means to look and act socially accurately,” said Housing Councillor and Deputy Mayor Katrin Gaál (SPÖ) in a press statement.
“Especially in the current difficult times, it is particularly important that people receive tangible support and do not have to fear losing their apartment,” she added.
According to the Viennese authorities, renters in the social apartments will receive half a net monthly rent in the first step starting at the beginning of September.
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How will the payments work?
The new “multi-stage Gemeindebau-Bonus” comprises three measures that specifically benefit the residents of Wiener Wohnen’s municipal housing complexes, according to the City of Vienna.
At the beginning of September 2023, all tenants of a municipal apartment will receive a special payment in the form of a credit for half a net monthly rent.
At the end of the calendar year 2023, those tenants whose rent was increased in the years 2022-2023 will receive an additional credit in the form of a payment bonus. The amount of credit is based on the extent of the increases that took place in the period.
Additionally, the government wants to facilitate the agreement of installment payments for tenants who “fall behind financially” to pay their outstanding rental debts.