Centre for Secure Housing of Vienna – securing tenancies and preventing evictions

Vienna, Austria Good governance, Supervision


There are many agencies, both public and civil society, designed to supervise the private rental sector and improve the tenant security. In Vienna, to prevent evictions and ensure fair tenancy procedures, the Centre for Secure Housing (Fachstelle für Wohnungssicherung – FAWOS) was established in 1996 to provide rapid, efficient help to persons facing eviction. It is an agency of the Department of Social Affairs, Social and Health Law of the city of Vienna.

Under current legal provisions, the district courts notify FAWOS of court-issued execution titles and eviction dates relating to dwellings. FAWOS helps households to retain their dwellings by reviewing their case and providing counselling on legal aspects.  It also supplies information on financial support and benefit entitlement, as well as support with household planning, short-term intensive social work, and ad hoc financial support.

Compared with 1995, FAWOS succeeded in reducing evictions from 61 per cent of cases to 36.5 per cent in the first year and 25 per cent in the following years. In 67 per cent of all cases of eviction, FAWOS provided the evicted tenants with a council flat through the Social Necessities Unit. FAWOS was instrumental in lobbying for amendment of the Tenancy Law (Article 34/3) to require notification as soon as eviction proceedings are instituted. The amendment of the legal provisions saw the extension of time limit for appeals against lease terminations from two to four weeks. In 2000, the intended repeal of the Tenancy Act to incorporate oppressive clauses was abandoned after intensive lobbying by FAWOS and other social institutions in Austria.[1]

[1] City of Helsinki Housing Advice Service, see https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/bcd9b3_fb58c123fb8049f4a81f8445b8e51d70.pdf.

Actors involved

  • Fachstelle für Wohnungssicherung