With the Federal Government’s Renewable Heat Package, there will be no ban on gas heating in existing buildings. If the heating in a rented apartment needs to be replaced, the tenant and landlord must reach an agreement first.
According to the current legal situation, the tenant cannot force the landlord to replace the heating system. At the same time, the owner cannot simply convert the apartment from a gas boiler to district heating. “Tenants should not put up with this. They can insist on keeping the current form of heating,” Elke Haenel-Torch, president of the Vienna Tenants Association, told Vienna Radio.
If the owner wants to replace the heating system, he will also have to pay for that. Tenant and landlord representatives agree that costs cannot be passed on to the tenant. “At the moment, I don’t see any possibility here,” says lawyer Martin Brunbauer, president of the Austrian Home and Land Owners Association. However, if you re-rent the property later, you may be able to charge a higher rent.
Homeowner: Eviction is a “reasonable decision”
Homeowners view the federal government’s renewable heat package favorably. Brunbauer calls it “a real logical decision.” He welcomes the fact that financial incentives are now being used rather than coercion, “because in some cases that was not technically and financially possible.”
Criticism comes from the tenants’ association: “If you really want to switch from gas to renewable energy, the legal framework must change, otherwise it will be too complicated,” says Elke Haenel-Torch.
Legal questions remain open
The Home and Land Owners Association is still awaiting details of the legal framework. In the case of homes where there are multiple owners, an agreement also needs to be reached between them to replace the heating system. In some cases, consensus may be required because access is being made to the “common parts” of the home. According to Martin Brunbauer, the legislature is currently working on solutions whereby heating can be changed. Whether a majority is needed or whether individual owners can also put forward the change.
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