Living in Linz
Linz, the innovative and pulsating center of Upper Austria, has a great deal to offer. A high quality of life in all areas and a wide range of services make the provincial capital a place people are glad to live in. Currently the number of apartments in Linz exceeds 110.000, and many more are always being built. The construction of social apartments is especially important for Linz. The primary aim of the city is to create optimal places to live in optimal surroundings at socially affordable prices for as many people as possible.
Everything that is worth knowing about the theme “residing in Linz“ can be downloaded from the website of the city at www.Linz.at/wohnen - for example information about subsidies and financial assistance, about all the housing providers which are active in Linz as well as contact addresses of counseling offices. A list of the current building projects can also be found there.
Important information for persons seeking an apartment
What must I consider before I begin to look for an apartment?
- How much monthly rent can I afford? It is important not to forget the additional fixed costs such as a garage place, heating, electricity and operating costs, telephone, household insurance, etc.!
- Which initial fees must I pay, and how much can I afford (real estate agent’s fee, deposit, transfer fees, etc.)?
- How large should the apartment be? Am I financially able to afford an apartment of that size?
- Where should the apartment be located? It is important to consider how easy it is to get to means of public transportation, kindergardens, schools, stores, etc.
What one-time costs do I have to reckon with when I rent the apartment?
- Deposit: Its purpose is to insure that money is available in case that the renter is not able to pay the rent or claims for compensation. Usually it amounts to at least three gross monthly rents (a maximum of six gross monthly rents is allowed). Only after the rented property has been returned to the landlord in the condition agreed to (see rental contract) will he return the deposit (with interest) to the renter. The description of the condition of the apartment should therefore be written in a protocol that is signed by both renter and landlord either at the time the rental contract is signed or when the apartment is turned over to the renter.
- Construction cost fee: The construction cost fee has to be borne by the renter of a subsidized apartment out of his own resources. It decreases by one percent each year and is refunded to the renter when he moves out.
- Membership fee: Many cooperative housing societies charge a membership fee (part of the rent that goes to the society).
- Real estate agent’s fee: If a real estate agent has been encharged with finding the apartment, he will collect an agent’s fee that amounts to about two gross monthly rents.
- Fee charging: The fee charged by the internal revenue service (Finanzamt) for the rental contract also has to be paid by the tenant.
- First rent: Be sure not to forget the first monthly rent. Before you move into the apartment you should clarify how you will pay the initial costs, for example by transfer or by giving the landlord a deposit in the form of a savings book. Generally there is no obligation to take over the furniture of the previous renter.
Hint: Buying new furnishings is another expense. Reasonably priced second-hand furniture can be found at social facilities!
How much does the apartment cost each month?
Every month the rent has to be paid to the landlord beforehand, along with the value added tax and the operating expenses (water, sewage, garbage collection, ground tax, cleaning, electricity for public areas of the building, etc.). There might also be a fee for reserves that serve as contingencies to cover the maintenance costs. They have to be paid then, no matter when you receive your monthly salary. Besides, there are electricity and heating costs and of course the payments for the household insurance, radio, television, etc.
Hint: You can save energy expenses by making a deliberate effort to avoid wasting electricity, light, heat, etc.
How can you obtain an apartment?
- From a cooperative housing society
- From a private property developer
- From a real estate agent or a real estate office
- In the private market (newspaper advertisements, Internet, online apartment exchange portal)
For a long-term search, it is advisable to register at a (non-profit) cooperative housing society or housing company. Generally you have to wait for a number of years to get an apartment. It is thereby possible to simultaneously register at different housing associations. If there are any registration fees, they will be refunded when you pay your first rent or withdraw from the registration list. You must consider that you generally cannot choose the size of the apartment which is assigned to you; that depends to a large extent on the number of people who are going to live in it. Many housing enterprises have special rules of access for immigrants. Information about them can be obtained from the individual enterprises. A list of the cooperative housing societies can be found in the appendix at the end of this chapter. It can also be downloaded from www.linz.at/wohnen. For persons who urgently need an apartment the private apartment market is the place to turn to. Generally the prices for apartments are higher there and the rental contracts are for a limited period of time only.
Tips on how to search for an apartment:
- Register so soon as possible at a cooperative housing society.
- Regularly read the advertisements
- Arrange an appointment to see the apartment as quickly as possible, since low-cost apartments are in great demand.
- Think of the fee that real estate agents charge for their service.
- Advertise that you are looking for an apartment in newspapers and online apartment portals or hang advertisements on the billboards in front of supermarkets, municipality offices, universities, etc. (that kind of advertising should be free of charge or at least low-cost).
Renting and moving in to an apartment
A written contract (for which a fee is charged) is a prerequisite for obtaining housing benefits. However, you should carefully read documents before you sign them. Should you have any questions, you can turn to the gratis legal counseling of the Chamber of Labor. You can also take advantage of the counseling of various renters‘ interest groups, but you have to either pay a fee for them or become a member. These groups also represent renters in court cases or arbitration procedures.
(Renter Protection Association)
Lederergasse 21, 4020 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 771288
Mieter-, Siedler- und Wohnungseigentümerbund Österreichs
(Association of Renters and Garden-House and Apartment Owners of Austria)
Obere Donaulände 7, 4020 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 770372 0
Checklist for taking over an apartment
- Receipt for the payment of the initial costs
- Signed rental contract
- Taking over of all of the keys to the apartment
- Apartment transfer protocol: it must be jointly written by the renter and the landlord! It is absolutely essential to photograph the condition of the apartment, and especially totake photos of any damage and defects and to record them in the protocol. If you do so, you cannot be made liable for damage you did not cause when you move out.
- Read the electricity and heating meter
Immediately after taking over the apartment
- Register under the new address at the Citizens‘ Service Center or in one of the city libraries
- Register electricity and gas (don’t fix the monthly payments for them too low, otherwise you will have a very high back payment)
- Apply to have your mail sent to your new address
- Register the changes in your telephone, cable TV and Internet connections
- Make your change of address known (e.g. to your employer, the public employment service, your bank, your insurances, the public health insurance, the social office, the nursery school, the school, etc.)
- Conclude a household insurance
- Register your automobile at your new address (within one week)
- Apply for to the Upper Austrian government for housing benefits
Threat of loss of an apartment/eviction
When you are in danger of losing your apartment four Kompass social counseling offices offer you advice and aid:
Sozialberatungsstelle Kompass Nord
Neues Rathaus, Hauptstraße 1-5, 4041 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 7070 2766 bis 2770
Sozialberatungsstelle Kompass Ost
Ing.-Stern-Straße 15-17, 4020 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 666272 20 to 24
Sozialberatungsstelle Kompass Süd
Seniorenzentrum Neue Heimat,
Flötzerweg 95-97, 4030 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 370170 12, 15 or 17
Sozialberatungsstelle Kompass Auwiesen
Wüstenrotplatz 3, 4030 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 302731 19 or 20
The association “Wohnplattform” is the coordination center of the network for secure housing. The current situation of persons who are threatened with homelessness is examined and an attempt is made to find a solution. This involves either finding a way for them to keep their current apartment or arranging alternative housing for them. In close cooperation with all involved authorities the required steps are taken or helpful contacts are organized. The first place to turn to in Linz is the Social Counseling Office (Sozialberatungsstelle) “Kompass”. The association “Wohnplattform” also offers assistance in mediating neighborhood conflicts and providing temporary supervised apartments, also tries to prevent evictions. It helps to resolve conflicts and offers homeless clients temporary apartments along with social-pedagogical support.
Harrachstraße 54, 4020 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 603104
Registering your residence
In Austria any change in one’s place of residence has to be registered within three days. The new apartment can be registered as the main or the second apartment. The main place of residence is the one that a person has the closest association to. Criteria for that are, for example:
- Length of time spent there, location of place of work or of study, starting point of the way to the place of work or study.
- Residence of the other family members, especially the minors, and the place where they go to school or kindergarten, are receiving education or are working.
- Functions in public and private corporations.
The new place of residence can either be registered in the Citizens’ Service Center in the New City Hall or in one of the public library branches in the various districts of the city. You must bring an official identification document with a photograph along with you – either a passport or a driver’s license together with proof of your citizenship (foreigners have to bring either a passport or a refugee identity card), as well as a registration form for the new apartment with an original signature of the landlord. A separate registration form is required for each person who is to be registered. In all of these service offices of the city you can also give notification that you are moving out of your apartment or changing your address. Details of the registration service can be found on the website of the city, at www.linz.at/meldeservice.
(Citizen’s Service Center)
Neues Rathaus, Hauptstraße 1-5, 4041 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 7070
Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Important information for Renters
The housing benefits are intended to enable Austrian citizens and citizens of EEA countries who have low incomes, families with many children, students and other persons attending schools, apprentices, sole wage earners and retired persons to afford adequate places of residence. Non-EEA citizens can receive them if they
- have continuously had their legal main place of residence in Austria for more than five years.
- receive income that is subjected to income tax or
- have paid fees to the Austrian public health insurance because they were gainfully employed and are now receiving benefits from the insurance, as long as they have either received the income or the pension for 36 months within the last five years.
The housing benefits are a subsidy of the province which is paid monthly (it makes no difference whether the landlord is a private person or not). As the main tenant of a rental apartment you are entitled to it if a fee for a written rental contract has been paid to the Internal Revenue Service and certain criteria have been fulfilled. The form and other detailed information can be obtained from the Division for Housing Benefits (Abteilung Wohnbauförderung des Landes OÖ). The form can also be downloaded from www.linz.at/wohnen.
Amt der OÖ. Landesregierung
Bahnhofplatz 1, 4021 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 7720 141 51
www.land-oberoesterreich.gv.at » Themen » Bauen und Wohnen » Förderungen » Wohnbeihilfe
House rules for residential buildings
In Austria there is a set of house rules for every residential building. There such matters as rest periods, order, cleanliness, safety and the keeping of pets are dealt with. In order to avoid problems and promote harmonious coexistence, it is absolutely necessary that these rules be adhered to.
Generally the period of nightly rest is between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.. Sundays and public holidays are also rest periods. During those times making music, singing and other noisy activities are forbidden. But during the daytime you should also respect the needs of your neighbors (especially elderly people and small children) for rest.
Hint: When you move into an apartment building, you should present yourself to your neighbors. If you have problems with your neighbors (noise, etc.) it is always a good idea to first talk to them. Mutual understanding and consideration are the bases of good neighborly relations.
Dog owners also have to adhere to the provisions of the Dog Keeping Law of Upper Austria (OÖ. Hundehaltegesetz.). Before purchasing an animal the other tenants have to be consulted and their permission to keep a pet has to be obtained. It is generally not allowed to keep poisonous animals or animals which endanger the security of people if they are not properly kept. Sometimes certain breeds of dogs are not permitted as pets in some buildings. Details about keeping pets can be downloaded from the Internet at www.linz.at/hund.
Tip: If you keep reptiles or other protected animals, you have to notify the building administration and the authorities.
A household insurance protects you financially when damage occurs. Every renter (tenant) should take out a household insurance policy. At the very least you should be insured against fire, water damage, storms, broken glass, break-in, vandalism and indirect lightening damage. In addition to the insurance of the household contents, private liability insurance is included in the policy. This protects you from liability for incidents that occur in everyday life and can be existentially threatening – for example, if you cause an accident.
Usually a cable television connection is provided in rented apartments. If you want to put up a satellite dish the permission of the landlord must be obtained. If you operate a television set you have to pay a fee (“Randfunkgebühr)”.
Further information: www.gis.at
Correct separation of garbage begins in the household. Whatever remains after the separation of glass, used paper, metal, plastic and biogenic garbage comes in the container for tailings (“Restmülltonne”). These tailings, just like the used paper and the biogenic garbage, are collected by LINZ Ltd. For the disposal of old glass, old metal, light materials and old textiles there are four used material collection centers in different parts of the city, as well as about 500 sites with appropriately-labeled containers. Problematic materials (e.g. paint, varnish, batteries, tires…) and wooden garbage have to be disposed of in the used material collection centers; no exceptions can be made. The same is true for bulky garbage, for which LINZ Ltd offers a collection service free of charge. Arrangements can be made at +43 732 3400 6808. It is not allowed, and even punishable, to deposit bulky garbage on sidewalks if a time for them to be collected has not been arranged!
For questions that have to do with correct garbage disposal there is a special waste telephone line +43 732 2130, where complaints and proposals can be made and overfilled containers can be reported. Detailed information about this theme can be found on the Internet at www.linzag.at/abfall.
Tip: If waste is not separated, that increases the operating costs of the residential building.
Damage to the apartment
In case there are problems or damage occurs to the apartment which is within the area of responsibility of the landlord, you must inform the caretaker, the building administration or the landlord.
Tip: Damages that are not repaired such as a dripping water tap can lead to high costs.
Support in case there are questions
Information about the rights and responsibilities of the tenants can be found in rental contracts or obtained from the building administration. There is another special service of the city of Linz, the Conciliation Office that will be glad to assist you in questions of rental law and laws for tenants:
Schlichtungsstelle im Geschäftsbereich Bau - und Bezirksverwaltung
(Conciliation Office in the District Administration Offices)
Neues Rathaus, Hauptstraße 1-5, 4041 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 7070
Monday and Thursday 7 a.m. -12.30 p.m. and 1.30-6 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday 7 a.m. -1.30 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Special service for immigrants
Help and support for immigrants in questions regarding apartments are offered by
migrare – Center for Immigrants in Upper Austria
You can make an appointment with migrare, to have counseling in your native language,
Humboldtstraße 49, 4020 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 667363
Housing cooperatives in Linz
Gemeinnützige Industrie-Wohnungs-AG (GIWOG)
Welser Straße 41, 4060 Leonding
Tel.: +43 50 8888
Gemeinnützige Oberösterreichische Wohn- und Siedlergemeinschaft (WSG)
Ederstraße 9, 4020 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 664471
Private housing associations