Austria Lowers Rental Commissions

News Brief: Sept. 2010

News | Vienna Review | September 2010

An amendment by the Ministry of Economic Affairs will allow real estate agencies to charge clients a maximum of two monthly rents in commission instead of three as has been the practice for the past three decades. The modification of the law was signed by Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner (ÖVP) and will take effect Sep.1, according to a report in the Austrian daily Der Standard.

Under the new regulations, signing a contract to rent an apartment or a family house for a period of up to three years will require paying a commission of one extra month’s rent. For contracts longer than 36 months, the fee would double.

A study by the Austrian Chamber of Labor (Arbeiterkammer) in March showed that brokers’ commissions in Austria were among the highest in Europe.

Austrians spend almost 25% more than people in Germany, for example, who would where the maximum commission is two month’s rent. The fee there also does not include any additional costs for utilities, taxes and insurance.

Social Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer (SPÖ) had set the lowering of commissions on rentals as a priority for consumers facing additional pressures as a result of the financial crisis. The fees for real estate agencies had not been changed since the late 70s, while "apartment rental costs, especially in older buildings, has grown significantly as have the fees that come with it," wrote Der Standard.

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