Austrian public-housing rental price increases to be capped at 5% for next 3 years

OPINION

Austria’s public-housing rental price increases great for those living in them, but those in privately-owned housing will see no benefit at all

As the popularity of Austria’s ruling centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP) and its coalition partner the Green Party continues to fall, it is not surprising the two are scrambling to bolster their support before next year’s election rolls around.

Especially as many Austrians and others living in Austria now detest both parties, and the people in charge of them.

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Not only for their panic and hysteria over Covid, and the ridiculously restrictive policies they put into place because of it, but also for the subsequent cost of living crisis brought on by the current government’s mismanagement.

That is one of the reasons why Austria’s government has just announced a plan to cap apartment and home rental price increases in the public-housing sector for the next three years.

That price cap would be in effect until the end of 2026.

After all, if they can show the public they are actually doing something to help those struggling with monthly bills, maybe enough voters will change their negative opinion about the ÖVP and the Green Party and vote them back in power again.

(Praise be to God, let’s hope not!)

According to Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer that public-housing rent increase cap would be put at 5 percent annually, but would not include any cap on rental price increases for privately-owned rental units.

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That means while those living in public-housing in Austria would have more affordable rental price increases, people living in privately-owned apartments and houses could still see rental price increases of 10, 15, or even 20 percent per year.

Something that is likely as even some of those who own apartments and houses that they rent out are still struggling to pay for basic necessities as Austria’s inflation rate (at 7.8 percent in July) continues to be one of the highest in the EU.

More needs to be done to reduce inflation than just capping Austria’s public-housing rental price increases

The proposed Austrian public-housing rental price cap, while obviously welcome by those living in public housing, is also not likely to impact the country’s overall high inflation rate by much.

Not if the government does not implement other policies to help control constantly rising prices on almost every other good and service, including massively increased prices on food and energy.

That is why Nehammer’s government says they are also looking at other ways to keep rising living costs down, including placing pressure on Austrian energy companies to lower energy prices after much of the public believes they are being priced-gouged by them.

We will have to wait to see if they succeed.

Michelle Topham
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