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Vienna wants clarity over unfair flat rental contracts

Vienna is demanding changes in the rules governing rental contracts for property which have become incredibly complicated with the various changes in recent years.

They say it is now no longer possible to have the overview, according to the man responsible for housing  in Vienna, Wohnbaustadtrat Michael Ludwig (SPÖ).

He said there needs to be more transparency in the way properties are rented.

At the moment there are 2 completely different forms of rental contract. One is the old category rental contract (Kategoriemieten) and the other is the new location worth contract (Richtwertmieten).

Anybody who rents a flat is now automatically in the Richtwertmietzins category but those who rented under the old contracts still have those rules applying.

The problem is that even the new contract is difficult to control – for example the law controls how much is charged per square metre but there are various extra charges that can be added such as the distance from public transport and how noisy the immediate neighbourhood is.

That means for example that although a flat owner might demand extra for the fact that the location is peaceful – that might also mean it miles away from public transport.

But on the other hand allowing more because of the close proximity of public transport was a category that applied to almost every flat in the first district where public transport was everywhere.

The city wants the national government to change the law accordingly to make it fairer and in particular the way the rental amount possible to be charged is evaluated.

They said for example that people renting flats almost always took advantage of the opportunities to charge for extras such as the nearness of public transport, but failed to deduct for the disadvantages of their property such as not having a bath.

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