Tenement house

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A tenement house (also: tenement house or apartment building ) is a residential building in which the individual residential units are made available by the landlord for a (usually monthly) fee ( rental apartment ). For this purpose, a contract is concluded between the landlord and the tenant in which the landlord undertakes to ensure the use of the rented property including all associated structural and technical facilities, while the tenant undertakes to pay the agreed rent including all additional costs incurred (in Austria and the Switzerland rent ) to be paid regularly on time.

The Escher houses were the first rental houses in the city of Zurich (1840).
Typical tenement houses in major German cities from around 1900 in Erfurt
Typical apartment building around 1900 in Vienna

It is also common to rent out commercial rooms or floors to one or more commercial tenants - usually on the ground floor of such houses. In addition to the rent, the statutory sales tax is often due.

Compared to apartment buildings in large cities, terraced houses with only one or two apartments are more common in the built-up areas of central towns in north-west Europe (British Isles, the Netherlands, Belgium and north-west Germany) .

Apartment buildings in Austria

Apartment buildings in Austria are older buildings that are subject to the (in particular price and termination) protection provisions of tenancy law and were built for the purpose of generating rental income. An apartment building was built before 1945. Some of these apartment buildings are also listed. The tenancy agreements in an apartment building are primarily open-ended main tenancies. Older apartment buildings from before the Second World War had very strict interest rate regulations, the so-called peace interest rate regulations, until the reform of the Tenancy Law in 1994 through the Guideline Value Act .

In Austria you can find apartment buildings, mostly properties not inhabited by the owner, mainly in Vienna. But there are also numerous properties of this type in the federal states, for example in the provincial capitals of Graz, Linz, Salzburg and in smaller urban agglomerations. The apartment buildings in Vienna are larger than in other cities, as they were often built as double wings with a street and courtyard wing from the time of the heyday. While the rural L- or U-shape was still characteristic in the early founding period, this was replaced by the two-wing H-building in the high-founding period. The street and courtyard wing were arranged parallel to each other, with a staircase in between. In the late founding period, the development, which aimed at maximum utilization of the area, was further developed to include so-called street courtyards , where the street-side alignment was interrupted by a small courtyard.

The builders of the Gründerzeit apartment buildings were wealthy private individuals, not infrequently widows, and also speculative construction companies, who often built several buildings in the newly divided streets.

The facade design was always opulent and modeled on the architecture of the Ringstrasse. Thus the external appearance was sometimes in a blatant disproportion to the offered living comfort. In the outskirts, especially in the 10th – 12th, 14th and 17th centuries. The typical residential unit consisted of an approx. 20 square meter room on the street side, which was connected by a kitchen to the general entrance on the courtyard side, as well as in parts of the 2nd, 5th and 18th districts. Some apartments also had a cabinet. The toilets were located outside the apartments in the corridor. Families of seven were often housed in such apartments.

The construction output could not keep pace with the housing demand until the end of the monarchy, so that the greatest housing demand could not be met until the interwar period through the housing program of the City of Vienna. Nevertheless, large parts of Vienna are still shaped by the architecture of the Wilhelminian city planners in terms of urban planning.

More terms

The purchase of rental apartments is often presented in advertising as a contribution to retirement provision . Accordingly, the term “ investment apartment” is used, especially in Austria.

See also


  • Michael John: Landlord power and tenant misery: Housing conditions and housing experience of the lower classes in Vienna 1890–1923 . Publishing house for social criticism, Vienna 1982.

Web links

Wiktionary: tenement house  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Rented apartment  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Tamms / Wortmann, CITY BUILDING. Environmental design. Experiences and thoughts. Darmstadt 1973, ISBN 3871790664 , page 112.