In a surprising turn of events, it appears that achieving a constitutional majority for the government’s proposed rent cap may be an uphill battle. According to reports from orf.at, the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) is pointing fingers at the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) for the impasse. Remarkably, the draft law has yet to even reach discussion in the responsible building committee.
Initially announced by the coalition in August, the proposed rent cap aimed to limit annual rent increases to a maximum of 5 percent for a three-year period. However, progress on the draft law has been stalled in the parliamentary committee, as the ÖVP and the Greens are reevaluating their strategy due to the lack of an anticipated two-thirds majority in support of the legislation. This draft encompasses constitutional provisions, affecting existing rental agreements, and thus necessitating a two-thirds majority for enhanced legal certainty.
Speaking on the matter, the ÖVP emphasized ongoing dialogues and asserted that proposals have already been introduced in parliament. Efforts to amend the draft are underway, as both the SPÖ and FPÖ have so far resisted the notion of a two-thirds majority. The Greens have characterized the situation as reaching a “final vote.” Presently, the most plausible course of action is a simplified legal approach, bypassing the need for opposition support.
“We remain committed to engaging with the opposition and sharing our plans with them. In the coming days, we will closely monitor the developments,” remarked the ÖVP club. As the government strives to find a viable path forward for the rent cap, uncertainties persist over whether a constitutional majority can ultimately be secured.