Housing in Austria
How will I be accommodated when arriving in Austria and will I be supported financially?
When you arrive in Austria and apply for international protection you will come to one of the two main reception centres from where you may be sent to another centre in another province of Austria. Generally applicants are distributed within Austria.
As an applicant for international protection in Austria you will be accommodated by a reception centre while waiting for the outcome of your application. Unfortunately time of waiting may occur between a few months up to some years.) This applies if you have no means to support yourself financially.
Accommodation may be located either on a campus where many applicants stay or in smaller units on the countryside. Lodging is funded by the Government, through the so-called service “Grundversorgung”.
Government-funded service “Grundversorgung”
During the time while waiting for an answer to your asylum application you will receive the so-called “Grundversorgung” which is a service by the government that takes care of your basic needs. Generally you should be available for officials who examine your asylum application. Basic health care service is available and there are provided recreational, educational and occupational activities for those who are accommodated. Usually, psycho-social and legal help and support is provided by various organizations; the reception centre will give you advice how to contact these if needed there.
The exact services mainly cover:
- Board and Lodging (in a place organised by the reception centre)
- Clothing (voucher of about € 150)
- Health insurance according to services by the health insurance fund
- Support for school children (200€ / year for one pupil)
- Pocket money
- Social care, Information and general advice
Are there special provisions for vulnerable groups?
When you are accommodated in a reception centre your individual circumstances will be taken into account. Families are accommodated together. Women who are alone and unaccompanied children are accommodated separately. If you belong to a vulnerable group (see the following list) it is advisable to communicate this in confidence to officials in charge of your asylum application, authorities in reception centre or persons who provide psycho-social support in centre.
Member of vulnerable group is
- a person with disability or with chronic and severe illness,
- a pregnant women,
- an older person,
- a single parent with underaged children,
- a victim of trafficking in human beings,
- a victim of torture,
- a victim of female genital mutilation,
- a victim of physical, sexual and psychological violence
How long will I be supported by the government (Grundversorgung)?
The government funded service ends with the termination of the asylum application process, yet there is a transition period of four months. The support ends latest after four months of being informed about the outcome of the asylum application process.
What happens when the entitlement for government funded housing (“Grundversorgung”) ends?
As soon as the government-funded accommodation (“Grundversorgung”) ends, you will have to finance yourself on your own. You will have to find a place to stay. As soon as you know you have gained the status of an asylum seeker you have four months´time until the financial support ends. At least at the beginning when leaving the services of the reception centre there will be support in finding a place.
You can apply for a minimum support by the government (“Mindestsicherung”). Get informed at the reception centre about the options you have for further financial support.
Here you can find some general information on Housing in Austria:
It is common that people rent a place to stay. Some also own an apartment or house but living costs in Austria are quite high and in some regions costs are increasing so that people choose to rent since they cannot afford buying a place. Mostly 2-4 people live in one apartment that has a kitchen, bathroom, and 1-2 bed rooms. Sometimes there are bigger appartments that are shared by more people.
Renting an apartment means signing a contract and being responsible for paying all involved costs like electricity, gas, heating, water.
How to find a stay
The most common way of looking for a new place to live in Austria is through online advertisements or through real estate agencies. There are also real estate agencies who can look for an apartment or a house for you, but for that you will have to pay a certain fee. Some rental offers can be found in newspaper as well.
If you live in a rented flat, you are a tenant. Tenants rent their flats from a landlord, which is the company or person that owns the flat. You and your landlord should sign a contract. You will also need this contract in order to register your new address. (see chapter contracts and binding)
What are my rights & obligations as a tenant?
The rental contract defines your rights and obligations as a tenant.
If a basic device in the flat does not work anymore (e.g. a refrigerator or a cooker), the landlord should be informed and he/she must repair or replace the device. As a tenant you do not have to pay for such repairs – unless you were the one who caused the damage, in which case you may be obliged to pay for repairs. Normally the tenant and the landlord inspect the flat before moving in, in order to make sure that there are no damages.
Most likely you will have to pay your rent monthly, according to the contract. Usually, the rent does not include the costs of utilities so you will have to pay bills for electricity, water, gas and maintenance each month extra. If you do not pay these bills within a month, you will get a notification and a interest rate for late payment will be included in your bill.
If you want to move to another place, you always have a right as a tenant to terminate the contract on your flat. However, you may have to continue paying for the flat during a period of time that is specified in your rental contract (ususally 3 months).
Your landlord can also terminate the contract if you:
- do not pay the rent or utilities within the agreed deadline;
- transfer or sublet the flat without the landlord’s permission;
- disturb the other residents;
- host a person for a longer time and do not notify the landlord about it, unless this person is a member of your family or you are obliged to take care of them by law;
- use the flat for other ends than it is intended for, e.g. criminal activity or extensive business activity.
The conditions of terminating a rental contract are agreed upon in the contract. Mostly the landlord and the person renting have to consider a certain period to inform the other before wanting to end the contract.
What if you do not have a place to live?
If you are unable to continue living in the apartment or a house you were living in and do not have any other place to go, there are some other temporary options.
You should immediately contact the nearest Centre for Social Welfare and explain your situation. The social worker can offer you a temporary housing.
You have the right to sheltered accommodation if you have a valid ID card and a residence right and you have no means to support yourself.
There are shelters where you can stay overnight and have one meal or
you can be accommodated in the shelter where you can stay during the whole day. In this case, a room will be appointed to you. Have in mind you will have to share the room with at least one person. You will have meals provided within the shelter. However, in this case you will lose your right to financial welfare assistance (if you have been receiving it).
These are merely temporary options offered to people in need. You can stay in the shelter until you are able to finance new accommodation for yourself.
Do I need to change my documents when I move?
When you move from one place to another you have to report a change of address within 3 days. You can do that by filling a form in the registration office.
You need to bring your ID or a valid passport. If you are a tenant you need to bring your rental contract and a written consent of your landlord.
Further information & links
Rotes Kreuz / red cross: