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28 March 2013
Parliament recently introduced the Act on Late Payment, implementing the EU Directive on Combating Late Payment in Commercial Transactions (2011/7/EC).
The act aims to improve payment behaviour by introducing new due dates and increased interest rates. It entered into force on March 16 2013 and will affect payments due under existing agreements in the same way as new agreements. It concerns payments in commercial as well as non-commercial transactions.
The act generally provides (not only with regard to rent payments) that payments made by way of bank transfer must be credited to the account of the creditor on or before the due date; it is no longer sufficient to instruct the bank on the last day of the payment period. However, the act takes into account that tenants in such cases would typically not be in a position to pay their rent on time, as they are likely to receive their wages on the last day of each month. Therefore, the act introduces new payment dates for rent agreements.
In Austria, there are different sets of rules in place for rent agreements depending on the type of property and the parties involved (for further details please see "Overview (December 2004)"). The act follows these principles and contains new provisions for each of these sets of rules:
In addition, the act introduces new interest rates for late payment in commercial transactions. These new rates also apply to rent payments. In general, the interest on late payments will increase to 9.2 percentage points above the central bank lending rate. The rate issued on January 1 and July 1, respectively, is valid throughout the following six months. The creditor can also request a lump sum of €40 as reimbursement for costs necessary to claim payment.
The changes regarding the due date entered into force on March 16 2013. The new rules also apply to lease contracts concluded before March 16 2013 with regard to payments that become due after that date:
The new interest rate will apply to agreements concluded after March 16 2013.
It is difficult to see how the additional administrative burden that comes with the new set of rules can be justified by marginal benefits to creditors, given that bank transfers usually do not take longer than one day.
For further information on this topic please contact Martin Foerster at Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH by telephone (+43 1 401 17 0), fax (+43 1 401 17 40) or email (email@example.com). The Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH website can be accessed at www.gpp.at.
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