Renting accomodations - more information (only English version available)
It's advisable to employ the services of a lawyer or legal advisor or at least ask for the help of a native before signing a lease. Even if you speak excellent German, the lease may be long and be packed with legal jargon, making it difficult for a layman to understand. If you need someone to have a first read of a contract then the relocation department here in the company can offer assistance.
The rental fee might even contain a pitfall like an annual rent increase. On the other hand, you may be responsible for some things that aren't spelled out in the lease. The main parts of a landlord-tenant relationship are codified in a law. There may be nothing in the lease dealing with notice periods, renovations required or actions in the event of non-payment of rent, but these things are still covered because of the law.
An agreement to rent an apartment or house for a fixed term can't be terminated early except under extraordinary circumstances. A transfer is usually not an extraordinary circumstance.
Deposits usually are two to three months rent, which is in addition to your first months rent. However, the deposit will be returned with interest when you leave, provided your quarters are in good order. This usually means a renovation (like being repainted), and it is sometimes required that this be the work of a professional.
Your payment to the landlord, which is usually made monthly, is in two parts: the rent, which can't be changed for the duration of the lease; and the Betriebskosten, which can be. The latter can include such things as a share of the landlord's property tax, heat, stairwell cleaning, trash collection and water. If the price of one of these is raised during the period covered by the lease, your Betriebskosten can be increased accordingly. You generally pay separately for your electricity and gas, though these can be included in the Betriebskosten. And you might also pay separately for some of the things we mentioned as being in the Betriebskosten, especially heat.
A general rule is never throw away any correspondence: archive them all in case of litigation.
A few other matters concerning living in rented accommodation:
- It's a good idea to have an inventory of anything that is in your new place and any deficiencies that are seen should be noted. This is simply protection for you and your landlord.
- Avoid loud noises between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday.
- You should air your rooms at least one or two times a day (if you are used to air-conditioned rooms this might be something new) otherwise mold could accure.
- It is advised that trash be separated in a number of ways. There will usually be separate bins (mainly on the landlord's property but sometimes community ones on a nearby sidewalk); one for metal, one for plastic bottles, one for paper, one each for green/brown and white glass, and one for everything else.
- If you want to get rid of something such as a piece of furniture that's too big for the trash containers, you can call the sanitation office in Villach. The Recyclinghof (Reitschulgasse 16; Tel. 04242 / 42221). Opening times: Monday to Friday: 8 to 12 and 13 to 17, and Saturday from 8 to 12 (closed public holidays) offers the chance to get rid of large or hazardous waste.
- Wash and dry laundry only in the areas or rooms provided by the landlord.
- Leave cars, bicycles, baby carriages, etc. only in areas provided by the landlord. The cleaning of rugs, blankets should be done only in designated areas.
- Obtain the landlord's written permission if you wish to keep a pet.
- Lock entrance doors from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. if more than one family lives in the building.
- Close and lock all doors and windows in your apartment during periods of extended absence.
- Install satellite dishes and television or radio antennas only with the permission of the landlord and in compliance with local laws.
- Inform the landlord immediately of any damage to gas, water or electrical lines.
- Find out from the rental agreement who is responsible for the cleaning of halls, stairways, front walk, etc. It could be you!
- Never pour or shake anything from windows or balconies. Make sure flowerpots or boxes on windows or balconies are secure and that watering them doesn't create a nuisance to neighbours below.