When selling or purchasing holiday property in Austria, there are several applicable regulations in property law which should be taken into consideration. Before buying a holiday apartment or house in Austria one should take a careful look at the general legal basis to discover any possible stumbling blocks which could hinder the purchase or even make the use of such liable to prosecution.
The lawyers of P & M in Bludenz are experts for property law in Austria and based on their many years of experience have in-depth knowledge in the fields of acquisition and sale of holiday properties in Vorarlberg for nationals, EU-foreigners and non-EU foreigners.
The acquisition of holiday apartments in Vorarlberg is limited
Foreigners have a great interest in buying property in Vorarlberg, particularly for their holidays. Quite soon the partially bad examples from Switzerland and France (proliferating cottage areas) have led to a restriction of the purchase of holiday flats and cottages in Vorarlberg and other federal states.
The restriction is effected in the spatial planning regulations. The law on spatial planning in Vorarlberg for example provides that local authorities may determine in the zoning plan where holiday flats may be built. Holiday flats (cottages) may only be built and existing apartments may only be used as holiday flats on these expressly dedicated areas. That applies to nationals (equal before the law: EU-nationals) as well as to foreigners.
Definition of holiday flat
According to the legal definition holiday flats are classified as apartments or living spaces which do not cover an all-season housing need, but which are used only temporarily during the holiday season, for vacation or other recreational purposes.
According to the law on spatial planning in Vorarlberg the use as a holiday flat is not given if the premises are used for the commercial accommodation of visitors or for private room rental.
Commercial letting or private room rental has to be assumed if on the same premises guests often change and no unnaturally long-time use by a special guest, resp. by people who have been invited by him takes place (e.g. the entire winter season).
EU legal concerns
The limitation of access to the real estate and property market for EU-citizens might interfere with fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the EU.
Despite a totally equal treatment of nationals and EU-foreign nationals with regard to the existing restrictions on the purchase of holiday properties, the concerns regarding European law are still not completely dispelled in the opinion of the European Court of Justice.
Who contrary to these provisions uses an apartment as a holiday flat although a respective dedication does not exist, commits a regulatory offence which can be punished by up to € 36.000,00. In case of permanent use a respective multiple punishment is possible.
Execution of a purchase
In the context of a purchase of real estate it is absolutely necessary to carry out the respective examinations of the dedication, in order not to buy something that cannot be used in the intended way. The intended use by the buyer has to be verified as well as the entire circumstances which the purchase is embedded in and also the respective dedication of the property. Expert advice is inevitable with regard to such transactions. The experience of many years on the property market, in particular in western Austria, provides the security for our clients that we are able to acquaint them with all the aspects of such a transaction.
Our experts on property law / holiday property in Austria
As CEO of P&M Estate and Property Trust Ltd and certified estate agent, Patrick Piccolruaz LL.M has first-class knowledge about the property market in Vorarlberg. Through his constant exchanges of ideas with the competent authorities, he has up-to-the-minute information about proposed pertinent legislation as well as the newest developments on the property market. Particularly in the regions of Walgau, Montafon, Arlberg and Brandnertal he has provided legal advice and counsel on a number of hotel-, housing- and holiday apartment projects.
Our partner Dr. Petra Piccolruaz has wide experience in building development projects and real estate transactions. She is responsible for property developer projects and takes over trusteeships and deed registration of securities and contracts of all kinds. In addition, she has very good working relations with the land registry office, which is responsible for approving the acquisition of many properties in Vorarlberg. With this expert knowledge she has been able to solve many difficult problems for her clients in the past.