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ÖGB and AK are insisting on improvements to the rent cap

ÖGB and AK are insisting on improvements to the rent cap
For regulated rental agreements, increases are limited to 5 percent in 2024, 2025 and 2026.
Image: APA/EVA MANHART

For regulated rental agreements, increases are limited to 5 percent in 2024, 2025 and 2026. This is de facto ineffective since inflation will soon be below 5 percent, said ÖGB economist Angela Pfister on Monday. ÖGB and AK are calling for a retroactive brake on rent increases for several years. “A rent freeze must come as long as inflation is so high – and retroactively. The enormous increases of the last few years must be reversed and limited to a maximum of 2 percent in the future,” said Pfister in a press release on Monday. In addition, the regulation must cover all rents, not just category and benchmark rents but also free rents. Whether these would also be affected by curbs on rent increases – as suggested by the government – remained unclear until recently.

AK wants retroactive rent controls

The Chamber of Labor (AK) also wants a retroactive rent brake for 2022 and 2023 with an increase of a maximum of 2 percent per year. The government’s proposed brake of 5 percent for 2024 to 2026 is “almost ineffective,” it said on Monday.

Criticism of the regulation came again from non-profit property developers. The “already cheap rents (of non-profit organizations)” are taken into account, while the high market rents of private landlords could continue to rise unchecked, according to a statement from the Austrian Association of Non-Profit Building Associations in Austria (GBV). In addition, the rent cap leads to massive loss of income and makes it even more difficult to build new affordable apartments and renovate old buildings.

Decision in the December plenary session

The black-green coalition announced the measures at the end of August. They should be decided in the December plenary session. The topic will be discussed in tomorrow’s building committee, said Thomas Ritt, head of the Municipal & Housing Department of the AK Vienna.

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