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Vienna is a well-planned city and is organised into 23 districts, the first being the city centre. Generally, the further one moves from Vienna's centre, the cheaper the property prices are.
Vienna has an efficient transportation system, and expats can essentially live anywhere and still keep their work commute to less than 30 minutes.
Types of accommodation in Vienna
Accommodation in Vienna is mostly in the form of apartments housed in multi-storey buildings. Older buildings have classic Viennese black wrought-iron balconies, with the interior being characterised by high ceilings and parquet floors. New buildings have more modern, flat facades and will tend to have lower ceilings, new floors and modern windows.
The standard of accommodation in Vienna is high. Expats will find that features such as indoor heating and double glazing are standard.
Shared accommodation is likely to be partly furnished, but most apartments in Vienna are unfurnished. There are a number of good furniture stores in Vienna, where new arrivals will find everything they need.
Finding accommodation in Vienna
Finding a suitable new home in Vienna can be a challenge for new arrivals, as the city's property market can be difficult to navigate.
While property portals and listings in local newspapers can be good sources, they are mostly in German. We therefore recommend that expats utilise the services of a professional real-estate agent. While their services do come at a cost (up to two months' worth of rent), they are well equipped to find properties that meet expat needs and lifestyle preferences.
Expats moving to Vienna should note that it is easier to find rental properties during certain times of the year than others. September is the beginning of the academic year in Austria and the influx of students to Vienna increases competition for rental properties.
Renting accommodation in Vienna
Most expats choose to rent accommodation rather than purchase property in Vienna. Both furnished and unfurnished rentals are available.
Making an application
Once expats have found a property that meets their requirements, they will be expected to complete a detailed application form and provide evidence of their income and legal status in the country. In some cases, they may be asked for a reference from a previous landlord or a certificate indicating they have no outstanding rent due.
Leases and deposits
Before signing a lease it’s important to understand exactly what the lease requires. Long-term contracts can be binding and the idiosyncrasies of Viennese apartments can be intimidating. The standard lease length is three years, with required deposits ranging from one to three months' worth of rent. After a set period (usually a year), the tenant can end the lease as long as they give three months' notice.
Generally, tenants are responsible for all their utility bills. But expats may be offered the option of paying a flat fee each month to cover the utilities – this often works out to be more economical, especially in the winter months.