What new subsidy payment is Vienna offering for renters?

A new payment bonus for renters has been approved by the Vienna City Council, totalling €55 million - here's who is entitled to it and how much you can get.

What new subsidy payment is Vienna offering for renters?

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.

READ ALSO: What will become more expensive in Austria in June?

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.

READ ALSO: What is it like to rent a home in Austria?

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. 

READ ALSO: What cost-of-living payments could residents in Austria receive in June?

Additionally, the government wants to facilitate the agreement of installment payments for tenants who “fall behind financially” to pay their outstanding rental debts.

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The changes to know about Austria’s ‘repair bonus’ scheme

It can cost a lot of money to get broken electrical items, like a washing machine, smartphone or stove fixed. But Austria has a programme to subside the repairs. Here's what you need to know about the new rules for it.

The changes to know about Austria's 'repair bonus' scheme

What is the ‘repair bonus’?

Austria’s ‘Reparaturbonus’ scheme can be used to cover costs of repairs of all kinds of electrical devices.

Austrian residents can get up to €200 per device covering the cost of fixing broken items. It covers large household items like fridges, washing machines, tumble dryers, and coffee machines but also things like computers, mobile phones, e-bikes, electronic toys and garden tools.

Around 700,000 repair vouchers totalling €74 million have been submitted and paid out since the start of the scheme in April 2022.  

However, the campaign was suspended this summer after suspected cases of fraud surfaced.  A total of 70 companies are suspected of fradulent activity connected to the bonus, amounting so far to losses of €5.3 million.

Now the programme has relaunched with new rules.

What’s changed?

Previously, residents needed to pay up to 50 percent of the costs upfront to a repair firm, with the business using the voucher to apply for the remainder of the money from the government. 

From this week onwards, it works differently. The process still involves creating a repair voucher at and downloading it or printing it out. The voucher can then be taken to a participating repair business.

A washing machine

Photo: Steve Buissinne/Pixabay

However, now customers will have to pay the entire amount of the repair up front and the bonus subsidy will be paid to them – not the businesses. 

The bonus will come to residents directly from the funding processing agency KPC. 

What is also new is a so-called ‘receipt tracker’. This allows people to check the current status of their receipt on the repair bonus website.

Each voucher covers 50 percent of the repair costs up to a maximum of €200, as before. One voucher can be requested for each electrical device. As soon as this is redeemed, the next one can be used for another electrical device.

The campaign runs until 2026 or until the remaining funding runs out. 

READ ALSO: Seven tips to save money in Austria

How do I know which companies are in the scheme?

All participating companies are marked as a ‘Reparaturbonus’ business and listed on the website, which also has a search function to allow users to find a registered business in their district.

Note that fewer companies are taking part in the relaunched programme than before – 2,000 instead of 3,500 firms across Austria are participating so far. 

What else should I know about the scheme?

The repair bonus is only for broken electronic devices or equipment – not for maintenance. 

Authorities also warn that reimbursing the money to residents could take time.

Eva Rosenberger from the Climate Protection Ministry said: “Ideally, the money will arrive after four to six weeks. But it can also take two months, or in exceptional cases longer.”

The programme is part of Austria’s ‘eco-social’ tax reform.The Ministry of Climate Protection has allocated €130 million in total to cover the costs. 

Smartphones are the device most commonly being repaired in the scheme.