I currently live in a student residence with another 35 students. On Wednesday night I didn't have hot water and took a cold shower, then, next night I still didn't have hot water. I asked the other tenants if someone else didn't have hot water through the Whatsapp group we have and everyone who answered stated that they also don't have hot water.

This morning (32 hours after Wednesday's night) I informed the landlord of this problem and also encouraged others tenants to do the same.

I know that in most places hot water counts as a plumbing service and the landlord has a time window to fix this problem, after such time some legal actions can be taken.

What are my rights as a tenant of a room when facing this problem? Let's say that he doesn't fix it this weekend because paying a plumber on weekends is more expensive and he prefers to wait until Monday, so he leaves all of us for 3 more days without hot water, what can I do about this?

I'm not an Austrian citizen nor I don't speak German (yet) but I do have a rent contract signed by both parties.

  • 1
    Non-legal advise: If you don't want to wash yourself with cold water while waiting for the plumber, you can heat up water on the stove as a stop-gap measure.
    – Philipp
    May 24, 2019 at 11:42
  • @Philipp the problem is that we have a shared kitchen in a different floor, I should get out of my room, go to the shared kitchen, heat water, and come back to take a bath. May 24, 2019 at 15:45
  • Is this university-owned housing? Is the landlord actually the manager and not the building's owner? It may make a difference.
    – mkennedy
    May 24, 2019 at 18:17
  • No, it belongs to the landlord. May 27, 2019 at 9:32
  • In future, inform your landlord immediately there is a problem. They can't possibly fix a problem they don't know about. There ought to be a 24-hour emergency contact number (they really, really want to know as soon as there is a major water leak for example). They probably wouldn't do anything about missing hot water until Thursday - but it probably would get seen to on Thursday. May 29, 2019 at 8:10

1 Answer 1


If a landlord does not fulfill their duties to keep the rented property in a usable state, then according to this source, the tennant has the right to reduce the rent by a certain percentage while the fault persists ("Mietminderung"). There are several court cases which can be used as precedent cases about what kind of fault warrants what kind of reduction.

If a tennant wants to make use of this, they should inform their landlord about this in writing.

Possible risk: If the landlord does not agree that the fault warrants the rent reduction, they will have to take legal actions. In the worst case, the court might decide that the reduction was not warranted, which means that the tennant has to pay the legal fees and pay back the rent they withheld. If the tennant can not pay, the landlord can evict them ("Räumungsklage").

  • Great answer. My rent ends in two months, so I'm not that worried about having a bad relationship with my landlord, but to have means to force him to fix the problem now, and make him aware that failing to comply to such requirements can have some fallback (and make my roommates aware of this too) May 24, 2019 at 15:48
  • @JavierBullrich There is a significant risk the fix will require a new part for the boiler - which won't be available until Monday anyway. As such the landlord might take the view there is no point paying the weekend callout premium (or that it is cheaper to get a reduced rent from you for two days, than it is to pay the premium). May 29, 2019 at 8:13

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