The Ministry’s remit (Centre 1, Division 7) with regard to housing policies comprises:
- representing Austrian interests in informal matters of housing within the European Union
- and particularly the responsibility for defining the legal framework conditions for the limited-profit housing industry.
Informal cooperation at EU level
The EU is not directly responsible for housing policy. However, for the past three decades there has been an informal exchange of experience (for example with regard to statistical issues, see EU housing statistics 2005/2006), and regular meetings at the ministerial level have taken place (most recently in Marseille in 2008).
The legal basis for limited-profit housing is the Limited Profit Housing Act (Wohnungsgemeinnützigkeitsgesetz – WGG), for which the BMWFW submits bills, and the related regulations pertaining to limited-profit housing associations (1994 Decree on Pricing Guidelines [Entgeltrichtlinienverordnung 1994 – ERVO], Decree on Guidelines for Business Practices [Gebarungsrichtlinienverordnung – GRVO], Decree on Auditing Standards [Prüfungsrichtlinienverordnung – PRVO], Decree on the Format and the Structure of Balance Sheets [Bilanzgliederungsverordnung – BGVO]; only available in German):
- The specific provisions are aimed at creating optimum conditions for the economic activities of the 190 limited-profit housing associations.
- The WGG is the basis for letting and managing the 862,000 housing units available across the whole of Austria (= 22% of the entire housing stock)
Administrative cost rates (ERVO 1994)
Since 1998 the annual adjustment of flat rates for calculating the (limited-profit) property management prices (only available in German) has been based solely on the consumer price index (CPI). This means that the limited-profit companies must take appropriate rationalisation measures to compensate for increased costs resulting from higher collective agreements concluded for the industry. The Minister of Economy must only formally publish the respective maximum rates.